Dogs, free of their leashes, spent Friday jumping and running together, across 5 acres of fenced-in field of Canton Township's new dog park.
The park, located along Denton Road just north of Cherry Hill Road, official opened today. Using private donations with Wayne County grants, Canton Leisure Services department developed the park, which offers separate areas for large and small dogs. The park is flanked by the new gravel lot and driveway off Denton.
The park's opening-day visitors enthused over their dogs' off-leash roaming an socializing with other canines. Pet groomer Nicole Stehley said she feels like she’s been waiting forever to bring Brett, her 8-month-old Great Dane, to the new park.
“We were so happy that today’s the day!” Stehley said. “This just happens to be the year that we and a bunch of friends all have puppies. I’ve been hosting puppy play dates in m basement. It’s so much better to be here.”
While there appears to be no limit to the number of dogs allowed and the gate is unlocked during daylight hours, all dogs must be licensed through the township. Owners must buy an admission tag from Township Clerk Terry Bennett's office; residents pay $25 per dog. Non-residents pay $50 per dog.
Debbie Lawless, a volunteer with Friends of the Dog Park and owner of Premier Pet Care Services, greeted park visitors and checked for the tags. “We’ve had more people that have had them than not, but we’ve had to send a few away to get tags,” she said.
Volunteers like Lawless only came out for opening day. Canton Township doesn’t have the resources to enforce the tag-only requirement, said Parks and Golf Supervisor Abe Vinitski. “We think there will be enough self-policing going on,” he said.
Resident Brian Lindman, out enjoying the park with his 9-month-old whippet Vito, said he thinks the tag rule is fair. “The cost is about what you’d see at other dog parks. It’s a great thing to have in a community, you get the dogs together to socialize and you meet your neighbors, too,” he said.
Julie Jastrzebski, a Canton resident, brought her 7-month-old Australian shepherd, Luna. Jastrzebski said it’s hard to have a dog in the township becaus so many areas either don’t allow fences or have house association restrictions. “We don’t have a fence. It’s hard to get them exercise. This place is perfect,” she said.
Unusually wet spring weather created some delays, Vinitski said. Benches and dog stations for waste bag holders and trash cans were installed at the park, with the latter donated by Lawless, a pet care shop owner. Vinitski said plans are underway to add obstacle-course-type equipment for the dogs' play and training, and some trees may be planted round the fence.
The township's grand opening ceremony, originally set for Friday, is being rescheduled to sometime in July, Vinitski said.
“We’ll have a new date soon,” he said.
Dog Park details, including a list of rules, are on theCanton Township Dog Park website.