JP Pets: Dog park demand still high; number still low

The demand for off-leash dog parks in Jamaica Plain remains high, as a walk through the Arnold Arboretum shows, but the options for owners are slim and don’t look promising anytime soon.

The current options for JP dog owners are a community-organized and -maintained off-leash dog park on City land on Beecher Street and a dog park at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) at 350 S. Huntington Ave., which is opened during limited hours.

Rob Halpin, spokesperson for MSPCA, said the organization’s dog park was originally only for employees and shelter dogs, but several years ago it opened up to the public because of the pent-up demand. The park has proved so popular that the MSPCA has had to scale back the hours open to the public to balance access and safety.

“I think that JP would benefit from more dog parks,” said Halpin.

The Franklin Park Coalition has had efforts in the past to bring an off-leash dog area to the park. FPC executive director Christine Poff said that the organization would “love” an off-leash area for dogs, as people who are afraid of them would know to avoid the area and it would give the dogs an area to “feel comfortable.”

Meanwhile, the City has said and continues to say it’s up to the community if the number of off-leash dog parks is to increase. The City Council passed an ordinance in 2004—renewed in 2010—that sets up the procedures for a resident or community group to create a dog park. That ordinance can be found at

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