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Puppy Love donation aids off-leash park plan

Fort Macleod will have a 45,000 sq. ft. off-leash dog park.

And it will be bigger and better than anticipated, thanks to an unexpected donation from a local business.

Council last week approved a recommendation to establish a fenced, off-leash dog park on 30th Street, near the town’s compost depot.

Council also voted to name the facility for Puppy Love Pet Products, who donated a total of $30,000 over five years.

“Can I just point out that our community is amazing?” Coun. Kristi Edwards added. “Nobody even asked them for money. They just phoned and offered . . . that’s pretty amazing.”

Council learned Marty Conrad of Puppy Love Pet Products offered a $20,000 donation plus $2,000 a year for five years for the off-leash dog park.

“That exceeds the amount that we had budgeted for it, so it will allow us to increase the size of the park,” Gillingham said.

As a result, the park will be bigger than planned and will include irrigation and more trees and shrubs to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing.

Gillingham said separate areas for small and large dogs will be included in the off-leash park.

“I was really amazed and appreciative of the contribution of Puppy Love Pet Products,” Mayor Brent Feyter said. “That was a big boost.”

Coun. David Orr also expressed appreciation for the donation.

“It removes some of the constraints that we were under before,” Orr said.

Orr was interested in the size of the park at its 30th Street location.

“We want to be careful that it’s not too small,” Orr said. “Because then there is over-use and it’s harder to maintain the look of it.”

Gillingham said there is considerable room for an off-leash park in that location.

“I believe it is suitable,” Gillingham said.

The size of the park will be dictated by the cost of fencing.

Council was approached in April by community members who proposed an off-leash park as a safe and clean place for well-behaved dogs to exercise without annoying people or wildlife.

The off-leash park would be completely fenced with special entrance and exit gates where dogs can be put on and off leash.

Council was told benefits of a well-run dog park include:

  • • Adding a new amenity to town where community-building and socializing can take place.
  • Dogs are allowed to legally run off-leash.
  • Public health and safety are promoted.
  • Responsible pet ownership is promoted.
  • Seniors and people with mobility constraints have a place to exercise their dogs.
  • Dogs can exercise and socialize in a safe, contained environment, reducing barking and behaviour problems.

Owners will be required to clean up their dog’s feces immediately.

People handling the dogs would be at least 16 years of age. Children under the age of 11 must be accompanied by an adult.

Dog owners are expected to follow all regulations put in place for the off-leash park.

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