NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Dog Parks Come Into Vogue -- But Not All Humans Are Pleased

June 29, 2001

In just the last half-decade, hundreds of communities have set aside open spaces where dogs can run free in what are known as "off-leash recreation areas."

  • About 40 million American households now own dogs, which has prompted establishment of the parks.
  • From just 20 dog parks in 1995, their number has grown to more than 500 today.
  • They range in size from less than an acre to more than 40 acres.
  • Some of the parks even have miniature pools for the canines and gazebos for their owners.

But some critics contend that parks should be reserved for people and children. And those who live near the parks complain about the constant yapping and the hazards of dog waste.

Those who champion the park movement caution those who want to establish their own park to emphasize cooperation. Also, it is easier to establish a park on land that had not been used for other recreational purposes earlier. Carving a dog area out of an established park is likely to generate opposition.

Source: Deborah Sharp, "Fur Flies in Fights Over Four-Leggers," USA Today, June 29, 2001.


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