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Yarmouth's new dog park popular magnet for fun and canine exercise


Nov. 12 AGM at SIP open to public; more dog park committee members sought

YARMOUTH, N.S. —

It’s a happy sight: dogs bounding about with glee, chasing and tackling each other and rolling on the soft turf.
Yarmouth’s new dog park is being used beyond her wildest imagination, says Martha Cassidy, acting chair of the Yarmouth Dog Park Association.
“It’s been gratifying to see how much use the park is getting. It’s being used by busy people to be able to provide their dog(s) with a space to stretch their legs and to socialize with other ‘dog’ people.” 
It’s taken years of tenacity and hard work for the park to become reality. The site, located adjacent to the Centennial ball field and the south entrance to the Broad Brook Trail, is divided into two fenced sections. Users can let their dog play in the section they deem best suited for their dog.

The annual general meeting for the volunteer committee is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 at SIP. The event is open to the public and is a time for celebration, electing new officers and deciding how to tackle what’s left to do.
Cassidy says she’s grateful to Yarmouth town council and staff in the Town of Yarmouth engineering and public works departments for their willingness to support the off-leash area.
Workers responsible for maintaining sports parks are likely seeing far fewer dogs and dog droppings where people exercise, she suggests.

WISH LIST

Some of the items still on the wish list for the Yarmouth Dog Park include a small shelter for dog owners to provide escape from the wind and rain. Those involved with the park also would like trees to provide shade and beauty and help moderate some of the wetter areas, which are experienced from late fall to late spring, 
“Only time will tell if some kind of modification will be needed to provide more drainage of the soil. Any modifications must, of course, not interfere with the function of Broad Brook Trail as a place from which to watch nature in her various seasons and stages,” said Cassidy. 

NEW EXECUTIVE NEEDED

One of the goals at the AGM is to establish a new executive. Cassidy says, at this stage, she believes there needs to be a different organizational structure.
She suggests an executive with four positions of two-year terms: president, vice-president (prepared to become president), secretary and treasurer. These are the people who would interact with the town in an official capacity. 
Cassidy says there should also be a group of people who could form a site committee to discuss any changes to the physical environment of the off-leash area and/or to the rules and procedures necessary to keep the dog park as a facility the town can be proud of.
The alternative, as she sees it, is to dissolve the association and allow town council and employees to administer the funds intended for the dog park that are presently held in the Community Asset Fund.
She says there will be opportunities for fun and fundraising at times and in ways that will enhance the community’s awareness of the needs of our pets. Pet shows, dog walks for pet-associated fundraising, agility demonstrations, frisbee tosses, etc. are just a few examples.

Fun at the Yarmouth Dog Park. SUSAN DEVEAU PHOTO
Fun at the Yarmouth Dog Park. SUSAN DEVEAU PHOTO

CONCERNS ABOUT THE DOG PARK

Some concerns that have been expressed include:
• The rules for using the off-leash area need to be much more visible.
• The number of cigarette butts that appear next to the benches. The rules expressly forbid smoking 
• Dog owners are still arriving with dog treats in their pocket. This is a really bad idea and will almost certainly cause, at some point, a dog fight.
• The off-leash area allows dogs to be dogs and, for that reason, babies, toddlers and small children must not be inside the enclosure.  When dogs are playing with each other, they forget to watch for their ‘family’ and the dogs they’re playing with don’t know the other dogs’ families.
• It has been mentioned that some people brought their dogs to the off-leash area and then went off for coffee, leaving their dogs unattended. Cassidy suggests the bylaw enforcement officer at town hall and the SPCA be called immediately if any person sees unattended dogs at the dog park.

Fun at the Yarmouth Dog Park. SUSAN DEVEAU PHOTO
Fun at the Yarmouth Dog Park. SUSAN DEVEAU PHOTO

MORE ABOUT THE YARMOUTH DOG PARK

A survey has been set up for donations of trees to the dog park.

The Yarmouth Dog Park has a Facebook group and an Instagram account under that name.

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