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Commission looks at sites for second off-leash dog park
Jeni Crocker of Ceres and her canine companions Ruby, Sammy and Brooklyn check out the Turlock Dog Park grand opening event at Sunnyview Park on Sept. 27, 2008. - photo by Journal file photo
Junior, a small and wiggly black puppy no more than a foot high, bravely saddled up to a dog more than three times his size outside of the Turlock Dog Park on Friday. The larger dog, Dakota, tensed a little at the approach. Both dogs’ owners kept a watchful eye, ready to step in at the first sign of a fight. After a few seconds, however, Dakota obligingly lowered her face to rub noses with the puppy. The two were instantly friends, and took off running circles that tangled and twisted their owners up with leashes.
This sort of exchange is common at the Sunnyview Dog Park in Turlock. Dog owners bring their pets for exercise and interaction with other dogs. The fenced area allows dogs to run freely sans leash without risk of escape. Amber Hulsey, Dakota’s owner, has been bringing all three of her dogs to the park on a regular basis since it opened. She lives a few blocks from Sunnyview Park, and she was excited when the dog park opened.
“The dogs exercise each other, instead of the owner doing all the work,” Hulsey said.
The Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission recently asked city staff to look into the possibility of adding an additional dog park in Turlock. They are reviewing several areas that were considered for the first dog park but were rejected at the time because of complaints made by neighbors. Residents in the area of the potential dog park sites commented at Parks and Recreation meetings, concerned that the dog park would bring the nuisance of barking, dog fights and heavy traffic to their neighborhood parks.
The Turlock Dog Park opened at Sunnyview Park in September 2008, and no complaints have been made at Parks and Recreation meetings regarding the park.
“We’re finding that those concerns don’t really apply anymore,” said Rick Harden at the January Parks and Recreation meeting.
Possible locations for a new dog park include Summerfair Park on Soderquist Road, a storm basin at the corner of Hawkeye and Quincy, the Northeast Storm Basin on Taylor Road, and a few other storm basins around the city. The current Turlock Dog Park is located in a storm basin, and it was flooded on Friday when Hulsey brought her dog to the park to play.
“It’s too wet to use one side today, but we had fun playing in the mud,” Hulsey said.
Other locations will also be considered at future meetings, as the commission does not currently have a budget for a new dog park. The Turlock Dog Park at Sunnyview was funded through private donations and by Friends for Sophia’s Dog Park, an organization that establishes dog parks in Stanislaus County and surrounding communities.
Friends for Sophia raised the money to install fencing and “doggy pots” in the dog park. The pots are receptacles for dog waste, and owners are required to pick up after their pets. Rules are posted at the park, and unruly dogs or owners are asked to leave immediately. All dogs must be on leashes when entering and exiting the park, and aggressive dogs are leashed and taken out of the park. City crews maintain the park, including the dog-run area.
“I haven’t personally heard any complaints,” said Ray Garcia, public service maintenance supervisor for the City of Turlock, “They kind of police themselves.”
If there are any problems, however, dog owners can call the police who will enforce the park rules.
The Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission will discuss dog parks at their Wednesday meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in the Yosemite Room at Turlock City Hall.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.