Enthusiastic Crowd Helps Open Paducah Dog Park
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - A good crowd was on hand for the ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony at the Paducah Dog Park Wednesday afternoon.
Parks Services Director Mark Thompson welcomed "ladies, gentlemen, and dogs" to the facility at Stuart Nelson Park, and was joined by Mayor Pro-Tem Gayle Kaler and City Commissioner Gerald Watkins.
They thanked everyone for bringing their pets, and for the community involvement that made an idea into reality, as the city and citizens worked together. Several donors were present and were recognized by the Commissioners.
After Kaler, Thompson, and Watkins cut the ribbon, the dogs began entering the park to run, play and socialize in a wide-open space, while their owners had the security of knowing they were contained.
Separate areas are set up for large dogs and small dogs. Each area is fenced and has an small entry area where leashes can be removed before the dog is brought into the big yard. Matching pavilion shelters are available as well.
Each yard also has "Mutt Mitts" for owners to clean up after their dogs. One woman, who owns a large poodle, laughed as she became the first to use the dispenser within a couple of minutes.
A unique feature in both areas are motion-activated water fountains that turn on when a dog is nearby. Thompson said they activate when the animal is within 30 inches of the faucet. Owners can bring bowls or let their dogs figure out the process, which happened pretty quickly with a labrador retriever and a boxer Wednesday.
John and Darla Baker brought their two large dogs to the park, and were excited that it's open.
"Well, we were just thrilled for the dog park to be open. We've gone as far as taking our dogs to the Murray dog park because they like to run and play with the other dogs, and we were just anxious to see it. We've been looking forward to it, and we're glad it's here," John said.
Darla added that bringing the dogs helps "keep them socialized, so they'll be good dogs."
Approximately 40 dogs accompanied their owners to the ribbon-cutting.
Kaler said, "It's a great turnout today, and this is one of the examples of how we as a community can work together - folks involved in projects like this - to make it happen."
In 2010, the city challenged the public to raise $20,000 toward the dog park with the city committing to match that amount. Parks Services Director Mark Thompson says 85 different donors contributed to the park.
The Dog Park will be open seven days a week during the normal hours for Stuart Nelson Park, 6:00 am - 9:00 pm.
The rules for the Paducah Dog Park are as follows:
Owners/handlers are responsible for the behavior of their dogs.
Keep dogs on leashes until they are inside the enclosure.
Owners must keep the leash in hand at all times.
Leash and remove your dog immediately if you sense problems or your dog becomes unruly.
Dogs should never be left unattended.
Aggressive dogs are prohibited.
Female dogs in heat are prohibited.
Human food is prohibited inside the enclosure. Doggie treats are permissible.
Owners/handlers must clean up after their pets. Doggie bags are available at the entrances.
All dogs must be current on vaccinations.
Do not allow dogs to dig holes. If they do, fill holes immediately.
Children under age 15 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times.
Individuals without dogs are not allowed inside the enclosure.
Smoking is prohibited inside the enclosure.
Secure doors as you enter and leave the enclosure.
Hours of operation and access to the dog park may be restricted during special events or as determined by the Parks Services Director.
Immediately report any problems to the Parks Office at 270-444-8508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.