Are We There Yet?!

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Four years ago I founded Friends of Canandaigua Canine Campus (CCC). Our mission was, and is, to help the city establish and maintain a membership dog park in the City of Canandaigua where dogs may safely play and exercise off-leash. We are overjoyed that the city acquired a Buffalo Street parcel for the express purpose of building, operating and maintaining a dog park! What is at stake now is the TYPE of park it will be. On May 4, the city council will vote on it.
A membership park is the only model we support. It significantly lowers the health and safety risks of a dog park.
Here’s how it works. Registering for a member park would require the dog owner to provide a current dog license and immunization record and pay a nominal fee to the city (that goes toward the maintenance of the park). This is the type of park operating successfully across the nation and locally in the Monroe County and Geneva dog parks.
It is at point of registration when dog owner education opportunities can occur. Handouts regarding the rules, park etiquette and other health and safety recommendations can be provided. Rules would also be physically posted at the park. Registered users would be given a code, a magnetic stripe card or a physical key to enter the park. Registered dogs would have a colored collar tag–a visual cue to other dog owners that the dog is healthy and registered. The lock mechanism and color tag would change annually. The city will know who the park users are and could communicate directly with dog owners if incidents occur.
The other model is a free, un-monitored municipal park: a fenced-in area with rules posted on site. This is the type of park that encounters the most problems. The health and social ability of the dogs isn’t vetted and anyone can access the unlocked park anytime—this includes young children. I would not take my dogs to this type of park, it is too risky.
Dog owners in my group have practical field experience with various dog parks, canine professionals in our ranks (vets, trainers, groomers, rescue and pet therapy) and several years of research under our belts. The membership model is the best and safest for our community and our dogs. It is what we have been consistently advocating for.
We applaud Mayor Ellen Polimeni and Councilmembers Whitcomb, Terwilliger and Martin who publicly support the membership model. How others will vote on this vital issue will come to fruition on May 4, 2017, 7PM at City Hall. If you support this model, dog owner or not, please be in touch with councilmembers and let them know! If you have any questions or would like to join our efforts, contact us at canandaiguacaninecampus@gmail.com.

Let’s FINALLY turn this ruff idea into a doggone reality!
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