Pooches Prepare For Bark Park Premiere

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The chain link fencing began going up this week at Payson's new off-leash dog park.

When it's finished in about two weeks, the 1.5-acre facility just north of the new library at Rumsey Park will be open for business. A formal, day-long grand opening festival will be held later.

"Mike Waterman of Diamond Fence is doing the work," said Vivian Taylor, president of Paws in the Park, a group of dog owners that organized the project. "He gave us the best bid, donated three fence sections and will deduct $10 an hour for labor donated by Paws in the Park volunteers."

The new park, one of a growing number of such facilities around the country, will feature a double-gated leashing area at the entrance and separate fenced areas for small and large dogs. Paws in the Park is building the park on land donated by the town through a variety of fund-raising endeavors.

In addition to a yard sale and direct mail fund-raiser, the group is selling sections of fence to supporters for $85 apiece.

"We will recognize those who buy sections on a special Founders Wall that will be added later, and right away on bone-shaped plaques placed on the individual sections," Taylor said.

While residents and their pooches can begin using the park once the fence is up, two special pet water fountains that have been ordered won't be installed until later. The fountains, featuring drinking spouts at three different heights can be used by owners, disabled owners and, of course, dogs.

The Parks and Recreation Department will build granite pathways from the entrance to the two drinking fountains, but otherwise the park will be left in its natural state. Eventually picnic tables and benches will also be added.

Paws in the Park, a group that has grown from 15 members to 130 in less than a year, will provide monitors at the park during daylight hours when it is open at least during the first three to six months of park operation.

"We'll be there to educate users, to make sure the poop is getting picked up, and to guard against vandalism," Taylor said.

Education is a big part of what the facility is all about, she added.

"One of our purposes is to encourage responsible dog ownership," she said.

To that end, Paws in the Park hopes to offer spaying and neutering clinics, pet adoption programs, and other educational events.

Eventually the group would like to add a small agility course.

"We want to be thought of as a focal point for improving the way pets are treated," Taylor said.

Rules for Payson Off-Leash Park

Owners or custodians are legally liable for the acts and behavior of the dog at all times.

Anyone using this area does so at his or her own risk.

All dogs must be licensed and vaccinated. Puppies under 4 months old are not allowed until licensed and vaccinated.

Female dogs in heat not permitted in park.

Aggressive dogs must be leashed and removed immediately. Owner is legally responsible for damage or injuries.

Fill any hole your dog digs.

Bag and dispose of your pet's waste immediately.

Children under 13 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Keep small children and infants under close supervision.

Dogs should be under voice control.

Leash dogs while entering and exiting park.

No smoking, food, alcohol, dog chews or glass containers in the park.

Dog owners who fail to comply with the rules can be asked to leave and may be cited.

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