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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:01 am 
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SURFSIDE BEACH -- Dog owners will soon have a new place in Surfside Beach to bring their furry friends for some exercise and socialization.

The town of Surfside Beach plans to build a 2 acre dog park at North Pine Drive and Willow Avenue. The town has put the $9,500 project out for bid and expects to receive responses in the next 30 days, said Administrator Ed Booth. It will be funded with grants through S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department and the town's dog registration fees.

"I think this is a great thing for Surfside Beach because first of all we don't allow dogs on the beach for a good part of the year," said Booth, a former dog owner. "People like to have their dogs run free."

There are about 100 registered dogs in Surfside Beach, but Booth said the number is probably closer to thousands during the summer season.

The town has been talking about creating a dog park for about nine months, Booth said. On Sept. 22, the Town Council gave the project its official blessing, allowing Booth to go ahead and put the project out for bid.

"I think it's a good idea because there are a lot of people in this neighborhood who own dogs. It'll get a lot of use," said resident Nancy Ragin, who owns two chihuahuas, Ginger and Pinky.

"Pinky is afraid of other dogs. She had a dog attack her when she was a baby," Ragin said. "But Ginger would love it. She loves other dogs."

The fenced-in park will be open from sunrise to sundown and will include separate big-dog and little-dog play areas, a dog fountain, baggies for cleanup and play structures, Booth said.

The dog park, when complete, will be the third free public dog park in the Grand Strand area. Myrtle Beach has an 11-acre Barc Park on Mallard Lake Drive, near The Market Common and is expecting to open a new dog park at 62nd Avenue North about mid-October, said spokesman Mark Kruea.

Surfside Beach resident and dog owner Brandy Cassell supported the idea of a dog park in town. She now takes her dog Spencer, a Lhasa Apso, to Myrtle Beach's Barc Park.

"Having something this close would be really great and really convenient," Cassell said. A dog park "is good for doggie exercise. When I'm at work ... he's home alone for eight hours. He needs more interaction. I feel bad for him. I know he's restless."

But concerns also come along with dog parks.

Resident Randle Stevens owns property near the site for the dog park.

"I'm a dog lover. I've had two golden retrievers," Stevens said. "But what happens when you have dogs and they go into an area like a dog park, you have problems like aggressive dogs. There is a big liability with dog parks if it's not done right. You've got to keep aggressive dogs out of there. It should be open 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes closed before sunset. They need to post these rules ... at the park."

If a person is bitten by a dog it could leave the town open for lawsuits, he said.

Stevens said he was also concerned about his property values going down because of his location next to the dog park.

"If I got to sell my house, there are going to be people who don't like dogs," Stevens said. " You got a dog park near your house, it's going to have a negative connotation. It's going to cut down the amount of people who you can do business with."

Dog owner and resident Sue Cali said she was also likely to bring her 7-year-old beagle Cali to the dog park when it opens. She only had one worry.

"My biggest concern is that she would catch something," Cali said. "And, if they require vaccinations, who is going to enforce it? Other than that, she gets along with other dogs and would probably like it."

Booth said dogs will be required to be registered with the town, which costs about $10 and proof of vaccination. He said police would do spot checks and clinics would be held to promote vaccination.

In 2007 there were a few cases of dogs infected with the canine parvovirus, a potentially fatal disease of the gastrointestinal tract that can affect puppies or unvaccinated adult dogs. In one case, a 3-month-old Rottweiler puppy died after a visit to the Barc Park. Myrtle Beach temporarily closed and sprayed the no-leash park and changed its policies.

Now, puppies and dogs must be innoculated, vaccinated and healthy before coming into the park. Puppies under 6 months old are barred from the park because they usually have not had their shots, said project coordinator Matt Goyak, with Myrtle Beach.

The park is self-policing and canine owners are responsible for making sure their dogs are healthy. Animal control officers do conduct spot checks, he said.

Source: The Sun News
http://www.thesunnews.com/news/local/story/1097375.html
Contact ALIANA RAMOS at 443-2434

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:31 am 
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Location: Charleston, West Virginia
Good for Surfside. There are great examples of successfully run and monitored dog parks across the USA. It sounds like the developers are doing their homework.

As with all things new, people are suspect of changes in their current environment. I wish the dog park in surfside success! Perhaps one day we'll be more permanent residents of the area and can help promote and contribute to its success.

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