Wyandotte dog owners have taken to Patch and Facebook to vent their frustrations about the lack of dog-friendly recreation space in the City. Dogs are currently not allowed in any of the parks and there does not exist any outdoor space that is solely dedicated to the running, playing or training of animals. While the issue has been raised in the past to the city, there has not been any tangible progress on the issue.
Resident and dog owner, Tracey Mills, is one of the community members looking for a dog-friendly green space and she took to the blogs to express disappointment with the lack of park space that accommodates all members of her family, to include her beloved Border Collie Jake.
“There just is really no place to take him and I think that it is really sad because he is a part of our family.”
Mills would love to see a dog park in the City but said allowing dogs in one of the City's many parks would be a great start.
“It would be nice to have a park for dogs but it would be nice to just go to a park in Wyandotte where there is lots of space to run and play games.”
Like Mills, many of those supporting the issue on the Facebook thread are looking for a place that will allow them to just walk through a park without fear of a citation.
Vacant land, Beaver Park among options for dog park locations
Chuck Gillenwater, Animal Control Officer and Second-in-Command for the Wyandotte Police Reserves, believes that the best places for a dog park is the vacant lot across from the Wyandotte Animal Shelter on Grove Street and Beaver Park on Goddard.
“The property behind Detroit Tubular is the perfect place for the park. There would only be a need for fencing on two sides and the leveling of land in front for additional parking spaces. Beaver Park is also great because it is very large and sits on the other end of town. Why not have two?”
Gillenwater, who believes that his purpose in life is to help lost, hurt and sick animals, is resolute in the necessity of a dog park to ensure the well-being, happiness and safety of dogs while also contributing to City beautification.
“Dog parks are good places for dogs to exercise and be trained and are good for the owners because they wouldn't have to fear their dogs being attacked by other animals. The parks also help beautify spaces with their added features like benches, play scapes and trees.”
'A lot more is needed than just throwing up a fence and calling it a dog park'
Justin Lanagan, Superintendent of Recreation, also supports having a dog park in the City and points out that it will take a lot more than a few fences and a trash can to create a safe, clean space for its two- and four-legged patrons.
“A lot more is needed than just throwing up a fence and calling it a dog park. There will probably be a need for sectioning to keep small and large dogs separated. All dogs who enter would have to be registered and licensed and that would require some sort of specialized software. A key FOB system would be needed so only those who paid the yearly fee could enter the park.”
The necessity of a specialized registration and recording keeping system, though costly, is imperative to maintain the safety of the pets and dog owners.
Lanagan also pointed out that a few of the recommended spaces like those suggested by Gillenwater would require regular maintenance and new construction projects, like parking spaces, that could also be a cost for the City.
These factors have not discouraged Lanagan from including the possibility of a dog park in Wyandotte's future in his five year strategic plan for the City.
“It would be great to see a dog park in the city somewhere.”
'Citizens need to show their support'
Like Lanagan, Downtown Development Authority Director Natalie Rankine is exploring options that would make Wyandotte friendlier to dogs in her five-year strategic plan.
“I am actively researching and exploring options for the Downtown area including more waste receptacles and bag dispensers.”
As Rankine points out, there is no space to repurpose in the immediate Downtown area for a dog park but it is possible to get the City to allow dogs in Bishop Park. She believes that the majority of pet owners are responsible enough to keep their dogs on leashes and pick up waste as necessary.
“Dog parks and parks that allow dogs are both issues that people have been wanting and emailing the City about. The [citizens] need to show their support to the Council. Community support means a lot to them.”
Gillenwater, Rankine and Lanagan all emphasized that the best way to get the park project rolling is for citizens to keep presenting the issue to members of the city council. Any member of the community can get their topic on a meeting's agenda and present their case in chambers.
“[Citizens] need to make sure that the bug stays in their [City Council] ears.” Lanagan said.
For more information about how to add your cause to the City Council meeting agenda visit the City of Wyandotte website.