JP Pets: City: No plans for more dog parks

June 20, 2014
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Despite the high demand and efforts over the years, Jamaica Plain dog-owners sill have limited options on where to take their furry friends to let them roam off-leash. The City says it’s up to the community if the number of off-leash dog parks is to increase.

Meanwhile, the Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) said it might renew its proposal for an off-leash dog area at Franklin Park next fall.

Residents have only three City-sanctioned off-leash dog parks to go to: Peter’s Park in South End; Ronan Park in Dorchester; and the Boston Common, which has an off-leash area for dogs, but is not fenced in like the other two.

JP also has a community-organized and -maintained off-leash dog park on City land on Beecher Street.

“Dog Recreation Spaces (DRS) are community-driven efforts,” said Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) spokesperson Ryan Woods in an email to the Gazette. “The Boston Parks Department does not have anything planned currently in JP.”

Asked why the City has so few dog parks despite their high demand, Woods replied, “In my opinion, it is because the community has to be in involved in the design, creation, establishment, funding and continued maintenance of a DRS, as well as the lack of available spaces.”

The City Council passed an ordinance in 2004 and renewed it in 2010 that sets up the procedures for a resident or community group to create a dog park. That ordinance can be found at cityofboston.gov/parks.

One community group that has attempted to bring a dog park to the area is the Dog Park Association of Southwest Boston, Inc. According to group’s website, it is working with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to create a dog park at the Stony Brook Reservation. The group did not respond to a request to comment.

FPC started a process last year to bring off-leash dog areas to Franklin Park. That proposal would create one full-time off-leash area in a corner of the Wilderness by Cemetery Road, known as Forest Hills corner, and a part-time off-leash area near the bear dens in the Long Crouch Woods, as the Gazette previously reported.

But Christine Poff, executive director of FPC, said the organization is too busy to continue right now with the proposal.

“We haven’t moved forward on this,” said Poff in an email to the Gazette. “We’re just so busy. I’d love to have time to really focus on it and get more pro and con folks together to talk about it. Probably next fall.”