Off-Leash Dog Run Now Open
The City of Mishawaka and the Mishawaka Parks and Recreation Department have had numerous requests over the past few years for a place where dogs can be taken to run. In August of 2010, the City Park and Recreation Board approved the plans for the off-leash dog run at Margaret Prickett Marina Park, which is on the south side of Jefferson Boulevard between Wyland Marine and Boone State Fish Hatchery, across from the AM General Assembly Plant.
The run is free to the public, but all dogs must be properly licensed per the City of Mishawaka Municipal Code, inoculated and healthy. This is of course, necessary and important for the safety of the dogs as well as the owners. In addition, dogs showing aggression towards people or other animals should not be brought to the run. The success of the Park is based on the cooperation of its users. The run was an area of the Marina that was seldom used, predominantly for overflow parking during fishing tournaments. Since the run was created in an existing park, the only significant improvements required of the City were to create additional parking spaces and to add approximately 1,000 lineal feet of fencing.
In the United States, the first dog park is widely credited to Berkeley, California which opened a park in 1979. According to Wikepedia, since that time more than 600 parks have been created across the country.
The American Kennel Club states that some of the positive benefits of an off-leash park are that they:
• Allow dogs to exercise and socialize safely.
• Promote responsible dog ownership.
• Provide an outlet for dog owners to socialize.
• Make for a better community by promoting public health and safety.
In creating the run, the City took care to follow guidelines posted by the American Kennel Club. The run includes:
• Four acres of both lawn and wooded run area for the dogs.
• The run is entirely surrounded by a chain link fence, and is at least 5 feet in height.
• A double gated entry has been provided for leash up and to keep dogs from escaping, as well as, to facilitate wheelchair access.
• A covered garbage can and waste bag station has been installed. Owner’s are required to bag and dispose of their dogs own waste.
• Shade trees, benches, a watering station, and a scattering of worn out fire hydrants have been recycled for “alternate duty” all have been added to the run as new amenities.
The run is open from dawn to dusk everyday the park is open, and will be closed a few weekends every year for when the area is needed for overflow boat parking during tournaments. For complete off-leash dog run rules and park location information, visit the Parks & Recreation Department webpage.