By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – With woofs of approval, but no cat-calls, canines and their companions began enjoying the city’s new dog park at 11th and Cherry streets prior to its May 11 ribbon-cutting.
The dog park has two fenced areas to allow for the separation of large and small dogs.
Mayor Joe Peterson said at the May 3 City Council meeting that the rules of the dog park are posted, dogs must be licensed through the city clerk’s office, and owners must pay a $25 annual fee for a passcard that allows entry into the park.
Wyandotte Animal Shelter volunteer Rose Darin said dogs using the park must have rabies and distemper shots and the Bordetella vaccine, which prevents kennel cough, since there will be large groupings of dogs.
Recreation Superintendent Justin Lanagan said dog park discussions began eight years ago, but the Recreation Commission never found an appropriate property with adequate parking and an existing water line.
He said Recreation Commissioner Lori Shiels kept the search active, and the site at 11th and Cherry, a former soccer field with parking and a drinking fountain, had ample room for two fenced areas.
Lanagan said money for the dog park was put into the 2015 budget, and construction began last year.
He said the Recreation Commission decided to limit dog park use to Wyandotte residents for the first year and evaluate its usage.
“We are going to see how many people sign up to use it,” Lanagan said, “and if it is not that many, we will probably be opening it up to non-residents.”
He said the card reader system for access to the park is now active.
The park, open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., is used at the owner’s own risk, and dogs must be leashed entering and leaving.
Dogs acting aggressively must be leashed and removed from the park.
No prong, pitch or spiked collars are permitted, and dogs must be accompanied by a person 16 years or older who is physically capable of handling the dog.
Children age 6 and younger are not permitted in the park. Older children must be with an adult, may not make loud noises or chase dogs, and should not pet other dogs without an owner’s consent.
Owners should be attentive of their dog, not distracted by electronic devices, and should promptly correct any negative behaviors in their dog.
All pet waste should be cleaned up immediately and placed in the provided containers, and owners must fill in any holes their dog creates.
Dogs in heat and puppies should not be taken to the park.
Food, smoking, alcohol, glass containers and dog treats should not be taken to the park, and any toys left behind will be disposed of.
No more than two dogs per person are allowed, and dogs that are sick, have vomited, or have had diarrhea should not be taken to the park.
“We are looking forward to all the people coming down and using it,” Lanagan said. “Dogs aren’t allowed in (Wyandotte) parks, but this is a venue where you can let your dog out off leash, a big area where they can run around and play with other dogs, and get outside and get some exercise.”
For more information, contact Downriver Animal Control at 734-246-1328.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)