Dogs, owners howl with approval for new dog park

  • Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 12:26 a.m.
Kristin Korben, Amy Smith and Riley the 6-pound Yorkie enjoy the fundraising kickoff Saturday at the site of the city's first off-leash dog park. Photo by Emily Ford
Kristin Korben, Amy Smith and Riley the 6-pound Yorkie enjoy the fundraising kickoff Saturday at the site of the city's first off-leash dog park. Photo by Emily Ford

SALISBURY — Peyton and Riley, tiny terriers weighing in at 5 and 6 pounds respectively, didn’t back down Saturday from retrievers and collies that towered over them at the fundraising kickoff for Salisbury’s first dog park.

Dressed in fleece jackets, the Yorkies stood their ground as much larger dogs made their acquaintance.

Despite their pups’ confidence, owners Amy Smith and Kristin Korben said they are thrilled that the city’s new off-leash park will offer two separate fenced-in areas — one for big pooches and another for small ones.

“Sometimes bigger dogs can get a little rough for them,” Smith said. “This way, we make sure they’re safe.”

Smith and Korben, along with other dog lovers who turned out Saturday, howled with approval for the park’s required electronic key card for entry.

Dog owners must prove their pet is up to date on all vaccinations when they apply for a free card at the nearby Civic Center.

“That made me more confident,” Korben said.

All dogs were leashed Saturday, but if fundraising efforts continue to bring in money, the city plans to break ground this summer and open the park this fall.

Then, the leashes come off.

Gayle Brooks said she’s been looking for a place to let Rayn, a Doberman pinscher who wore a Rolling Stones t-shirt for the occasion, run free.

“I have nowhere really to just let her run and get exercise,” Brooks said.

The park will offer a chance to exercise and socialize for both dogs and owners, she said.

Salisbury Parks and Recreation, which has partnered with community volunteers to build the park on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, painted an outline of the facility in the grass so supporters could see what’s coming.

The park will include a walking trail around the outside of the fence, so first-time visitors can walk their pets around the perimeter before entering to help them become acclimated.

The kickoff featured a demonstration by Turbo Paws, a flyball club in Concord, as well as vendors and entertainment.

The dog park task force, dubbed “DogPAWS” for Dog Parks and Walks of Salisbury, has raised more than $1,000 so far. The park’s first phase will cost $45,000, including fencing, the entry and gating system, water and electric installations, benches, water fountain, dog waste stations, trash cans and grass.

For sponsorship opportunities, call 704-754-2536 or 704-458-4677.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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