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Contest offers chance at dog park funding

Residents now have a chance to “bark” for Brookhaven and perhaps help the animal rescue league get funding toward a local dog park.

     As part of PetSafe’s Bark for Your Park contest, Brookhaven Animal Rescue League supporters can go online at www.petsafe.net to vote in an effort to possibly help BARL get a grant for a dog park. On June 15, 15 finalists will be chosen, based on land availability, civic leader support and votes, to produce a video and continue in the nationwide competition.

     The community with the most votes gets the prize of $100,000 for the construction of a dog park. The runner-up and the community with the highest percentage of votes to its population will get $25,000 each for a dog park.

     Winners will be announced Aug. 3.

     BARL’s Lu Becker said a dog park would be a great addition to the city’s features for a number of reasons.

     “The critical thing is that Brookhaven does have a leash law, so dogs cannot just roam freely,” she said. “A dog park would give people an opportunity to walk their dogs in an environment where they do not have to be on a leash. This allows the dog to run around and play.”

     BARL has sent emails to people in other states and cities to vote for Brookhaven to help them to help them with the competition, according to Becker.

     No location has been established for the park if the funding is secured, but BARL does have locations in mind.

     “We do not have a location for a dog park yet, but we do have some areas in mind that would be in the city limits,” said Becker. “We’re confident we could get access to these properties if we wanted.”

     Becker declined to comment on which properties BARL had in mind.

     “Our dog park would be a fenced, safe environment,” Becker said. “This would be an area where dogs could be let loose and allowed to play with other animals. There would be sections for larger and smaller dogs.”

     Becker said the park would be open to members only, but the membership fee would be very low.

     “We would have to keep it locked at all times with key or code access,” Becker said. “The park would have fresh water for the dogs.”

     Becker said the park would be great for people with dogs on large and small pieces of property and for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

     “It would be great for people who lived in apartments, but it would work for all dogs,” she said. “Dogs need to socialize just like people do. It makes for a happier and healthier dog.”

     Becker said she understands the city’s leash law has caused people to let their dogs out at night to run freely, something that isn’t ideal.

     “Sometimes people will let their dogs out at night to run freely in violation of the leash law, and that has become a problem from what I understand,” she said.

     A dog park would be a great addition to the city, according to Becker.

     “Brookhaven has many retired people who had pets and they would all benefit from this. We have wonderful parks for children, but why not a dog park as well?,” Becker said. “It would be a wonderful attraction for people moving here.”

     Becker added that BARL has many great dogs and cats ready to adoption.

     “We have about 48 dogs and puppies at all times and about 16 cats and kittens at all times ready for adoption,” she said. “Every time we adopt one out, we bring one in to replace the one we lost.”

     All of BARL’s dogs and cats are accustomed to being around other animals and people. Becker said BARL’s volunteers give the animals plenty of attention and care.