Does Your Town Need A Dog Park?
A Grant For Dog-Lovers
In the Town of Orangetown, NY, many of the 50,000+ residents travel to nearby Woodcliff Lake and Westwood, New Jersey to let their dogs run free in fenced off-leash dog parks. Town Supervisor Chris Day took notice, and while seeking potential grant opportunities to build a park he also gathered feedback to gauge public interest. Chris Day used Involved to create a single-question survey that was released to the town’s email list, Facebook, and Twitter followers. He also encouraged respondents to share the question. Along with residents’ support, disapproval, or disinterest, Orangetown received concerns and suggestions for the proposed park.
Disclaimer: These results are not statistically significant due to the selective ability to respond and share. However, the quantity of responses and comments provide insight into overall sentiment, top concerns, and interest in this proposal.
Fencing, Breed Rules & Location
Of the 855 total responses, the majority of respondents support implementation of a fenced off-leash dog park in Orangetown. In the private comment section, commenters contributed perspective.
72% of respondents support implementation of the dog park with many seeing it as a “wonderful feature to have in our community” and “great for socializing” .
Several added that having “one fenced area for large dogs and one for small dogs” is important for safety. This phenomenon of “predatory drift” is well-documented, with a few of the commenters pointing towards Westwood park as a good model to copy. Some Orangetown commenters were only in support if the grant could cover expenses.
One concerned commenter suggested that Pit Bulls be prohibited from the park. This topic is up for national debate, with temperament tests showing Pit Bulls passing at a rate exceeding the general dog population. Some respondents mentioned implementation of a water system, high fencing, and wood-chip flooring to avoid mud. And of course, “location matters”, one commenter briefly noted. “Not too close to residential areas” and avoid tree removal, said others.
15% of respondents disapprove of the project. Many believe the money would be better spent elsewhere. A public pool, better baseball fields, flag poles, and other public projects were suggested as alternatives. For residents without dogs, several want to see projects that “would benefit the whole community.” Location is important, too. Who else will inhabit the park? How can the park’s location benefit the community?
To the remaining 13% of respondents, this project doesn’t matter. Most commenters in this group don’t have dogs. Some would rather see the money spent elsewhere, and others approve of the park. “Although I would not use the park, I am sure it would be welcomed by many dog owners. Another step towards making the town a better place.”