Feedback sought on dog park idea

By Don Farmer, don.farmer@age.co.nz


Things could be on the up and up for dogs in Masterton if a proposal to set up a dog park in the town becomes a reality.

The concept is the brainchild of Tinui woman Fern Love, who has been mulling over the idea for 10 years and is about to test the waters by sending out flyers to determine whether dog owners will support the idea.

Collection points for receiving completed questionnaires will be set up at various businesses in Masterton and if enough support is shown the proposal will be put before the Masterton District Council.

Ms Love, who is a dog trainer, said having lived in rural Canterbury she had seen dog parks in action and had seen first hand how they improved the social skills of dogs and allowed dog owners to mix and mingle.

She once saw 15 dogs "of all shapes and sizes" running after a ball. "There was only joy at the game, only one brought the ball back, not a growl or a raised hackle was seen."

Dog parks meant fewer wandering dogs and frustrated animals but were also a social place for owners.

"Lots of older dog owners bring along their dogs and it's not long before seats are donated and people congregate for a chat while their dogs exercise."

Dog parks are enclosed grassed areas of land, usually with a tree or trees and a water supply surrounded by high fencing.

They are designed to allow dogs to run free for exercise and socialising and can also be used for formal dog training, or agility work.

Ms Fern said she had been back in Wairarapa since Christmas having previously lived in the district but most recently had lived in Canterbury.

"I was building a house in New Brighton but after the earthquake had problems with insurance companies so I walked away rather than be in for five miserable years."

She leases a lifestyle block at Tinui and loves it.

"Tinui is a amazing place, full of amazing people.

"I have only been here since Christmas but already I am like part of the furniture and the pub is the hub.

"It's a great place to share a joke and a laugh, especially on Wednesday nights," she said.

She realised Henley Lake was a popular spot for owners to take their dogs but there were limitations.

Blue-green algae affected the lake water for part of the year, there was other wildlife to consider, the danger of a nearby road and the need to keep dogs on a leash in some lake areas.

She said if the council approved of a dog park and a suitable area was found for one there would be little maintenance involved.

"The grass would need to be mowed, a bin emptied and there may be other occasional maintenance but the dog owners would be required to pick up any poo."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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