Parks and Rec considering more places for pups to play
Appeal Staff Writer
Several people can be seen with their dogs any day of the week at Fuji Park. Some of the dogs are leashed, others aren’t.
Members of the Carson City Parks and Recreation Commission and city staff are considering whether to add more public space for residents to take their dogs out to play. And what type of spaces to create.
“A completely fenced-in dog park would be a wonderful thing,” said Nancy Medeiros, a longtime Carson City resident at Fuji Park with her dog, Cosmo, an American pointer.
Carson residents now can take their four-legged friends to these dog-friendly sites: Fuji, Mayors Park, Long Ranch Estates and all city-run trails, such as Riverview Park Trails. Specific rules are posted at each location.
“The main motive is to take some pressure off Fuji Park,” said Scott Fahrenbruch, director of operations for the city’s parks and recreation department.
Dog parks are described as enclosed spaces where the animals can roam around without a leash and socialize with other dogs. Dog-friendly parks are parks for people that also allow dogs – as long as the canines are under their owners’ control.
The city doesn’t have a dog park. Eventually adding dog-friendly sites is being considered, as is whether there’s a need for an actual enclosed dog park in Carson.
Budget constraints might make it more difficult to pay for during the near future, especially if the city opts for a fully enclosed site because it would take design, landscaping and purchase of equipment.
“It could entail considerable costs to build and operate a dog park,” Fahrenbruch said.
Another resident prefers to let his two small dogs, Andy, a gray Scottie, and Toby, an orange terrier mix, run free around Fuji. He would like to see the city offer more open locations like Fuji for dogs to run unfettered.
“They get tired of the same surroundings I think, like people,” said John Innis about his dogs, who have a yard to play in but enjoy going to the park even more. “They just love it here.”
People also come to Fuji “from Gardnerville and the lake,” said Kelly Stephenson, from Gardnerville, who was tossing a Frisbee to Abigail, his water spaniel. “Everybody’s really friendly here. I think dog owners also come here to meet other people.”
Riverview is more suited for owner and pet exercise sessions because it’s a long walk and doesn’t provide people or their dogs with “the same socializing environment” as Fuji, for example, Medeiros said.
Fencing off a section of Fuji is among possibilities, and the city could consider adding a dog park and more dog-friendly locations, said Donna Curtis, chairwoman of the parks and recreation commission.
While a lot of residents like taking their dogs on to the city’s many trails or pathways, not every owner wants to walk up and down hills. Some also worry about the snakes that slither around natural areas during warm months. Many dogs need special training to avoid snakes or can injure their paws on the hot, rougher walkways. And dog-friendly areas can sometimes become less-than-friendly if someone else in a park doesn’t like or is scared of canines, Curtis said.
A fenced area would make dog owners feel more secure about letting their animals off their leashes and allow a more peaceful co-existence among dog lovers and nonlovers, she said.
Keeping control of a dog in Carson City doesn’t necessarily mean the animal has to be on a leash, though rules are posted at the public sites for pet owners to follow.
Curtis cites Petaluma, Calif., as an example the city and pet owners might consider: Residents there formed a group and raised money to help construct a dog park, she said.
Dog owners’ involvement would ensure “they take a bigger interest in keeping it clean and in good condition,” Curtis suggested.
While finances are tight for city government right now, it’s an important recreational issue: “A lot of people would say ‘dog owners are taxpayers, too,'” she added.
You can help
What do you think about city facilities available to dog owners? Contact Scott Fahrenbruch at the Parks and Recreation Department at 887-2363, ext. 1003.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
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