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Petiquette

Woofington Dog Park president reviews rules and regulations

Times Observer photo by Kate Cataldo Rocco DelPrince (not pictured), Woofington Dog Park president, addressed various concerns — from vaccinations to traffic in a letter addressed to the Times Observer.

The effort to bring a dog park to Warren County is working to be sensitive to concerns.

Rocco DelPrince, Woofington Dog Park president, addressed various concerns — from vaccinations to traffic — in a letter to the Times Observer.

He also invited citizens who want to “make a positive impact” on the process to join the entity’s board of directors.

“Dog parks are an amenity many communities have and are often paid for and maintained by tax dollars,” DelPrince said. “Woofington Dog Park has received all of its funds privately from businesses, foundations, and individuals who are excited about the park. As such, Woofington is and will be private property and users of the park will be subject to our rules and regulations.”

So far, the rules include:

¯ dogs must be current on vaccinations;

¯ owners must clean up after their pets and use provided waste cans;

¯ owners are ultimately responsible for their dogs’ behavior;

¯ owners must keep their dogs on a leash when outside of the fenced area, and off- leash when inside the fenced area;

¯ owners must understand that accidents happen, just like any other city park; and

¯ park is open during daylight hours only.

“Those not following the rules of the park will not be welcomed back,” he said. “We expect that, like the game of golf, the park will be self-policed by responsible pet owners and Woofington Dog Park volunteers, as dog parks generally are.”

He cited the dog park in Lakewood N.Y. as a place those with concerns can go to see an example of a dog park where expectations are being met and concerns are not.

“You’ll notice there isn’t random barking, dogs viciously attacking each other, waste everywhere, and traffic blocking the road,” DelPrince said. “It’s exactly opposite.”

At a recent meeting of the Warren County Zoning Hearing Board, the park received a unanimous vote for a special exception to be located in an industrial zone along Route 6 and 62 in Starbrick.

The proposed entrance to the park would be off of River Road. Concerns about additional traffic and noise in the area were discussed.

These in charge of the effort have examined a number of possible sites.

“Woofington Dog Park has scoped out numerous locations within the City of Warren’s limits,” DelPrince said. “All were determined by various officials, neighbors, existing property owners, or Woofington Dog Park to not be good locations for a dog park.”

“Our goal is ultimately to be good neighbors and provide an amenity for Warren County residents and their best friends,” he said.

The provided parking area will include required and compliant handicap spaces. But, that lot is not expected to be the main parking area. There is a more convenient access point.

“We expect that traffic to park in the Warren County Visitors Bureau parking lot and walk to our park from there, which would preclude any use of River Road,” DelPrince said. “We expect the traffic to our park to be steady but slow — five cars per hour, each spending 20 to 30 minutes at the park, depending on the activity level of their dogs. We expect higher traffic on sunny summer weekends.”

“We’ve said from Day One that we anticipate roughly 90 percent of the dog park traffic will utilize our parking lot,” WCVB Executive Director Dave Sherman said. “It’s going to be visible from the road and a logical entrance to the park.”

“Travelers unfamiliar with the area will have no idea that River Road even exists, let alone use it to go all the way around to the dog park’s parking lot,” Sherman said. “For most, by the time they realize there even is a parking lot near the entrance to the dog park, they will already have parked at the WCVB. The upside for us is during our hours, we will have even more of an opportunity to educate and inform visitors to other attractions within the county and throughout the region. Perfect partnership opportunity.”

The proposal is to subdivide the WCVB property, with about 1.5 acres just west of the visitors bureau office going to the dog park.

“The WCVB is and will be a great partner,” DelPrince said.

The land will be further divided to help with concerns about dogs that are not so social.

“To alleviate concerns of certain dogs not getting along well, we are also building three separate sections, so you can choose who your dog plays with or you have the option to spend some one-to-one time if you prefer,” DelPrince said.

There is no official timeline for opening.

“In the coming months we will be working on obtaining the remainder of our funds needed to build the park,” DelPrince said. “There are a few additional permits we’ll need to get signed off and we’ll officially purchase the property from WCVB. There is currently no timetable for our official opening.”

Neither Woofington nor the WCVB encourage, nor is responsible for, animals taken to the property before the opening. “Please note, as long as there is no fence, there is no dog park,” DelPrince said.

“We’re really just trying to add something beneficial to a community of dog lovers. We appreciate any support or constructive feedback to our email, warrendogpark@gmail.com,” he said. “If you truly want to make a positive impact, please consider joining our board of directors. We meet monthly on the first Thursday and we’d be happy to share the time and location to anyone interested.”

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