Dog park now open to Tri-State canines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

ASHLAND, Ky.- With its neat wooden benches and rolling terrain, it could be any sort of park or playground.

But this new offering on the outskirts of Ashland, Ky., promises something different - a dog park officially opened Oct. 19 on a tract of land behind Fraley Field near Boyd County Middle School.

"The idea is to get people to take their dogs out of their back yards and bring them here and socialize," said Tonya Meadows, one of the two people who led the effort to create the dog park.

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Most public parks and recreation areas in the Tri-State do not allow pets, or require them to be on leash at all times. The moment the gates close at the dog park, the leash is taken off and the dog gets to run. With more than an acre of fenced-in open land, this is puppy paradise. And it is open to pets and their owners in Ohio and West Virginia as well as Kentucky.

The park was made possible through a series of donations: the Boyd County Fiscal Court donated the land, the City of Ashland donated the fence, the Boyd County High School carpentry class donated the labor to make the benches and picnic table, Poage Elementary School students used a youth grant to help pay for the "Mutt Mitt stations" - that dog owners are asked to use to clean up after their pets - and some of the dog agility equipment.

Numerous other donors have contributed money, manpower and goods as well. Those who want to contribute to the dog park may send their donations to the City of Ashland, marked specifically for the dog park.

Terri Tomondi, the co-organizer of the dog park effort, said she hopes the City of Ashland will eventually extend water lines to the park. Right now, pet owners must bring their own water.

Both women said they are pleased to look at the expanse of land and see that their dream of a dog park has been realized.

"You can walk your dog 10 miles a day and they still wouldn't get the same kind of exercise they could get here," Tomondi said. "All we ask is that people respect the property and clean up after their pets and maintain control over their pet."