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Englewood proposes changes to off-leash dog park program

Dogs would no longer be allowed off-leash at three parks, however new off-leash areas would be added.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The city of Englewood is considering changes to its off-leash dog park program to address a growing number of complaints that have plagued the city for years, according to a city spokesperson.

Below are some of the issues:

  • Dog use damaging parks/turf, costing the city money
  • Rising complaints, recent incidents reported of aggressive dogs
  • Dog park program not sustainable due to the growing population

An Off-Leash Dog Sub Committee was formed in October 2018 and met with three stakeholder groups between November 2018 and April 2019 to come up with recommendations. The groups included Englewood Code  Enforcement, Englewood Unleashed (EU) and Pirate Youth Sports.

EU is a volunteer group formed in 2006 whose mission is to support off-leash dog privileges designated within Englewood.

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On May 26, the subcommittee met to discuss findings from those earlier stakeholder meetings and come up with recommendations to resolve the off-leash dog program issues. 

None of the potential changes outlined below have been officially presented to City Council and no changes to the current program have been made.

Off-leash privileges eliminated at 3 parks

The recommendations include the elimination of off-leash dog privileges at Centennial, Jason and Duncan parks. Canine Corral will remain an enclosed off-leash dog park.

The Englewood Parks & Recreation Department and Code Enforcement have received multiple complaints about dangerous, at-large dogs at the parks, and according to the committee recommendations, there are "genuine concerns" for the health and safety of children and families.

These parks have athletic fields, rental shelters and playgrounds. Those facilities generate revenue for the Parks & Recreation Department, and according to the city, as a result of the presence of at-large dogs Pirate Youth Sports has considered relocating to South Suburban Parks. The city also said there has been a decline in shelter rentals at the parks. Officials hope eliminating off-leash privileges will ensure that everyone can enjoy the park safely while also maximizing potential revenue.

City officials also noted that turfs at the parks have been damaged as a result of excessive dog use, which resulted in unanticipated costs to reseed and fence the areas for recovery. 

Emerson Park transitions to off-leash dog park

The  Northwest  Greenbelt will remain an off-leash dog park, and the city is proposing to transition Emerson Park to an off-leash dog park. 

Under the recommendations, off-leash dogs would be allowed during regular park hours throughout the year at both parks. Currently, at the city's dog parks, animals can only be off-leash during specific times of day and specific months of the year.

Neither park has athletic fields nor rental shelters, which makes it less likely that the dog would interfere with other activities, the city said.

The playground at the Northwest Greenbelt would be fenced-in to address safety concerns for children and families.

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The city also said that citizens living near Emerson Park have asked for years that it become an off-leash area. It would also mean residents living in the north and south sides of the city will have access to off-leash areas.

New off-leash area at Cushing Park

The Parks & Recreation Department is developing a plan to secure funding for a new enclosed off-leash dog park at Cushing Park. The concept for an off-leash area there was first introduced in 2017.

According to the recommendations, the Cushing Park off-leash dog park should potentially be for small dogs only, which may help diffuse issues between dogs within Canine Corral.

In the remaining months of 2020, the Parks & Recreation Department will develop a plan for the off-leash area at Cushing Park, including a projected budget and a timeline.

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