Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

April 8, 2014

Woof! City dog park a great idea

— — We believe a dog park proposal for the city of Bluefield is a good idea that merits public support. As currently proposed, it would be located at the old Fairview School location between Rockbridge and Shenandoah roads.

The self-guided dog park would provide an outdoor location where the animals can enjoy physical exercise while also participating in social training. Obedience classes, and other pet owner classes, would be offered at the dog park through the city’s parks and recreation department, according to assistant city manager Josh Cline.

The development would also help in terms of promoting responsible dog ownership in the city while also providing a location for fun and fellowship among fellow dog owners. Similar dog parks have been very successful in other parts of the country, as correctly noted by Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole.

For example, a robust dog park campaign is underway in the city of Wheeling where project organizers are utilizing social media and community events such as a “dog wash” and a “bark for your park” campaign to build support for the dog park project. Wheeling also recently won $25,000 in the PetSafe Dog Park Competition to help fund its planned park.

Cole says a dog park in Bluefield would benefit both animal lovers, and those who are not animal owners.

“It would be wonderful for dogs to run, play and use up some energy to hopefully be less disruptive in the evenings,” Cole said last week. “We also believe the dog park would be a wonderful place for people and animals to socialize responsibly.”

Cole says the city Board of Directors will be seeking public comments today regarding the dog park proposal. The board meeting begins at 12:30 p.m. at city hall. Cole says board members are in the beginning stages of the dog park project, and are hoping to receive input from area citizens on the pros and cons of such a project.

We, too, would urge citizen input and involvement in this worthwhile idea. We believe a dog park is a great concept, and would be a nice fit for the city of Bluefield. And much can be learned from localities such as the city of Wheeling where members of the Wheeling Dog Park Association have already made great strides in recruiting a coalition of dog owners to develop a dog park.

As evidenced by the recent pit bull controversy in Bluefield, there are many passionate and loving animal owners in the region, who we believe would be willing to step up and help with the development of a dog park for Nature’s Air-Conditioned City.

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