546days since
Special Meeting of PRAC on Snow Park proposed dog play area

So You Want To Build A Dog Park? Not like this!

We invested in the most authoritative guide book to building dog parks. It's "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 

It seems to us that many of the recommendations in this guide have not been applied to the plans for this dog run. We don't know why, but the consequences are troubling.

Here are some choice quotes (our highlighting in yellow and comments in red) - please be sure to credit the source if you quote elsewhere:

Space, page 03-6
"A dog park can be just about any size that a community wants. A wonderful dog park can be the size of half a city block or as large as several acres. The things to consider are the number of dogs and their owners which are expected to attend the park, determined by the population density of the municipality, and how well planned the park layout is. An efficiently laid out park can still provide the best use of the park by dogs while still decently accommodating their human owners. For general purposes, a very nicely planned dog park for a moderate-sized community can easily be built on a two-acre plot of land." from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 
 [SAP note: this dog run would be only half an acre, total]

Page 03-9
"Wood/bark chips, it should be pointed out, can become the home to some bugs that like tobore into soft wood, and can be a breeding ground for all kinds of germs, fleas and ticks. Wood/bark chips also absorb dog urine and, unless treated regularly, an unpleasant odor can develop - it holds the smell of urine." from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 

Page 03-11
"To prevent digging under, bury the bottom of the fence several inches in the ground, or fill a narrow trench along the perimeter of the fence with concrete. If the dog digs holes along an established fence, fill the holes with concrete or patio blocks. [SAP note: we have not seen that Oakland has budgeted for this] A new fence should be of sufficient height to discourage jumping - at least six feet tall, or as tall as local ordinances allow."  from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 
[SAP note: this fence is planned to be only four feet tall]

Lighting, Page 03-13
"If your dog park has hours that leaves [sic] it open after the sun sets, lighting is an absolute necessity. Both the confines of the dog park itself and the parking lot and sidewalks leading tothe dog park must be illuminated. Any signs that are posted with notices probably should have some sort of lighting as well (especially the sign on which the dog park rules are posted)."  from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 
[SAP note: no plans to put lighting pointing inside the park]

Maintenance, Page 03-13
"Lime: Lime helps restore the park surface, and helps control or kill bugs and fleas. Lime should be applied approximately every three weeks to wood chips, pea gravel, grass and dirt surfaces. It is spread according to the instructions on the package [SAP note: not clear if tots should be evacuated from the tot lot while it is being laid down?], then watered down several times a day for the next 36 hoursso it soaks into the surface. The park should be closed while the lime soaks in. For the safety of the dogs and people, I recommend applying lime on a Sunday evening, and reopening the park on Tuesday morning. I also recommend warning park users about the liming so they can find alternative facilities for their canine companions on Monday.
Odor Elimination: At least once a month, an odor controlling substance should be used on the park. Several parks use and recommend a product called "Odormute." It can be found in the mail order catalogs of dog and cat supply vendors, or ordered in bulk directly from the manufacturer. This product is a natural enzyme formula, and is harmless to dogs and people. It is mixed with water in a spray can or bottle that attaches to a hose - easy to apply."  from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 
[SAP note: we have seen no evidence the park department or ODOG has a budget for these materials or human and equipment resources allocated to apply them]

Layout of Dog Park Surfaces, Page 03-13/14
"Wood/Bark Chips: Wood or bark chips should ideally be used to a depth of about two inches. Wood/bark chips, it should be pointed out, can become the home to some bugs that like tobore into soft wood, and can become a breeding ground for all kinds of germs, fleas and ticks. Wood/bark chips also absorb dog urine and. [sic] Unless treated regularly, an unpleasant odor develops - it holds the smell of urine.
Grass: There are two correctable problems with using grass in a dog park:
- If the grass has short roots, the action of dogs running on the grass might pull it up in small tufts, leaving bare spots. Choose long-rooted grass or use chemicals/fertilizers that encourage longer/deeper root systems.
- Dog urine, and dog feces left to decompose, places an excess of nitrogen compounds into the grass's soil. Most grass cannot handle this excess nitrogen. The grass yellows (or burns), then dies. This leaves bare spots. Entire dog parks that started out with beautiful grass have become barren dirt in one short season of dog urine spots. These problems can be controlled with proper continuous care." 
 from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 

Page 11-45 California Department of Parks and Recreation Pilot Program for Unleashed Dog Areas, December 17, 2001
"Recognizing potential conflicts between off-leash dogs and the Department's Mission, the following selection criteria were established by the Director for potential pilot areas.
Off-Leash Dog Parks should:
1. Not contribute to natural or cultural resources damage;
2. Not displace existing recreational activities;
..." from "So You Want To Build a Dog Park?" by DogParks USA(TM) and author Susyn Stecchi. (c)1997-2007. 
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