History of Dog Parks
Dog parks are prime examples of safe and comfortable places for your furry friends. They can run, play, and interact with the other dogs under their owners’ supervision. But, have you ever wondered how the concept of a dog park came into existence?
If you are interested in knowing the history of dog parks, you are in the right spot. Dog parks are mainly formed as an extension of the parks used by people all around the world. The evolving urbanization of mankind and the domestication of dogs lead the community to take an interest in dog parks.
Berkeley – The Historical Birthplace of Dog Parks
The idea of establishing a dog park for first fueled by the people of Berkeley, California. It all started in the mid to late 1960s when freedom of expression was fueled in Americans. Bay Area community was the first one to propose the idea of getting public human parks.
At the same time, the freedom of expression was not just kept limited to humans. Through the speeches and awareness, the community applied the idea to establish a separate place for man’s best friend.
At the start of 1979, the construction process was started for the infrastructure of the San Francisco subway system. The construction site was initially cleared and used by communities to take their dogs for running and playing activities.
In the same year, the communities collaborated with the government to establish a separate dog park. Ohlone Dog Park is known as the first public dog park ever created in the world in 1979.
Ohlone Dog Park was not initially sanctioned by the government and was only run by the community. It was not until 1983 that the government sanctioned and approved this dog park. The sanctioning process was also a result of the public’s appeal to form a separate place for dogs in this rapid urbanization.
Leash Laws & Growth of Dog Parks in the US
Urbanization was the prime factor in the reduction of free spaces for dogs to roam around. After the US government implement leash laws for dogs in the 20th century, the outdoor activity of dogs was severely affected.
It was a problem until Ohlone Dog Park was established and set an example of people’s love for dogs. Further development of dog parks throughout the US gets a huge boom because of limited playing space for dogs and the application of leash laws.
After the initial awareness regarding the freedom of dogs, the dog ownership factor also starts increasing. In the 1990s, urban planning also took away the benefit of having separate dog places.
Ohlone Dog Park set an example for other states in the US to adopt the strategy of dog parks. It was not long until other US states starts taking interest after the appeals of the general public. The dog park trend rose and spread beyond California after the 1990s.
By 2010, the 100 major states of the US were able to establish around 569 dog parks offering off-leash dog runs. Portland was the first one to achieve the highest number of dog parks in the US in 2015.
According to a recent survey, it has been estimated that dogs are a part of majority of the households in the US. The survey states a remarkable population of 43 million dogs in comparison with the 38 million kids population in the US.
There are now around more than 1200 dog parks available for US citizens. This dog park population is mainly divided into public and private dog parks. Most of the public dog parks are made inside the famous public parks by assigning dedicated fenced areas.
Some communities across the US also invested in creating separate private dog parks. They usually do so by repurposing and renovating public places such as hockey rinks and sports courts.
These instant dog parks serve their purpose well especially in the areas with limited available space. They offer a practical and quick solution to outdoor dog activities without putting extensive dog park infrastructure costs.
All of these dog parks are solely used during the off-season of that respective public space. The local municipal committees help the communities in taking decisions about the zoning and information about liability.