You can start barking for a new Jacksonville dog park today

By Gary Scott on May 13, 2015 at 7:27am

Planning is underway for a Jacksonville-wide dissemination of information on how to snag a new dog park.

Three city aldermen were among the volunteers at the the local public library on Tuesday who shared ideas and committed to spreading the word on Jacksonville’s nomination for the national “Bark For Your Park” contest sponsored by PetSafe.

Alderwoman Marcy Patterson said the goal is to saturate the entire Jacksonville community within a week. Voting for the contest begins today and continues until June 10th.

Paul Lonergan, who runs Lonergan K9 Academy, says many of the “dog professionals” in the area are on board.

“Quite a few of the vets are on board with it, trainers that are here in town besides myself, groomers. Obviously, Vicki at Pet Supplies Plus is on board with it, which is our local pet store,” he says.

Lonergan explains why.

“As a dog trainer, the problem I’ve run into with most dogs is that they’re very hyper, they haven’t been socialized very well, and people need to start that at a young age. This dog park gives them the chance to get out there and socialize with other people, other dogs, gives them a chance to run, burn their energy,” he says.

“A lot of people don’t have huge yards, fenced-in yards, so they can’t get them out there, and this just gives them a place to go in the community where they can do that, and it helps in the fact that when they turn a year old, people aren’t just turning them over to the local animal shelter because they’re just too much to handle anymore,” Lonergan continues.

He says the current dog park at Veteran’s Park is too small.

Patterson added that the Jacksonville Parks and Lakes Committee will meet next week to determine a one-to-three-acre piece of land that could be the site for the park. She said Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard has committed to designating land somewhere in the city.

It was also announced last night that the Jacksonville Fire Department will provide the popular fire dog Smokey for an advertising campaign.

People can vote online.