LITTLE EGG HARBOR – Get your pooches ready and be prepared to do some walking because a new regional off-leash dog park will open on June 1.
Southern Ocean County dog owners will soon enjoy a special facility designed for Fido and Fluffy to run and roam off-leash.
Ocean County Commissioner Virginia E. Haines, chairwoman of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation, recently announced the opening of the new dog park that will be located at Freedom Fields County Park, Route 539.
“We have received numerous requests from dog owners in the southern part of the county to open a dog park closer to them. This new regional off-leash dog park is easily accessible for our residents living in the southern part of the county. It’s a short distance from Exit 58 on the Garden State Parkway and also Route 9,” Haines said.
She added that the new facility “uses 4.5 acres at Freedom Fields County Park and has areas for both large and small dogs,” she said. “There will also be picnic tables available.”
Dog owners and their pets will be able to enter the site at 8 a.m., June 1. The dog park closes at 7:30 p.m. daily. Registration is required to access the county’s off-leash dog parks and dogs must be older than six months of age. In order to receive an off-leash dog facility identification card, registration requirements include filling out an application, providing the dog’s original current license, and proof of current vaccinations. The annual fee is $5.
Dog owners can register their animals at any of the following Ocean County facilities: The County Connection, Ocean County Mall, 1201 Hooper Ave., Toms River, by appointment only, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays; Ocean County Parks Administration Office, 1198 Bandon Road, Toms River, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday; Tip Seaman County Park, 120 Lakeside Dr., Tuckerton, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays; Wells Mills County Park, 905 Wells Mills Road, Waretown, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays; and Jake’s Branch County Park, 1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays.
Those using the dog park need to carry their county issued dog park identification card to assure dogs using the facilities are licensed and are up to date with their vaccines.
Haines said, “these regulations give the county the opportunity to know who the people are that are using these facilities. “It’s important that dogs using these off-leash dog parks can socialize well. It’s also important that this project allows dogs the freedom to run and play but also has the appropriate safeguards.”
“We have 517 county canines registered to use our two other off-leash dog parks. The county’s off-leash dog parks are very popular and we are happy to open this new one in Little Egg Harbor” she added.
Ocean County opened its first off leash dog park back in May 2002 at the Ocean County Airpark off of Route 530 in Berkeley Township.
This came in response to dog owners who sought to have a place where their pets can run and play without infringing on the recreational experiences of the general public. The off-leash dog park is a contained area where dog owners can allow their pets to run free and exercise off-leash.
Ocean County’s second off-leash dog park opened in December 2004 on four acres in the rear of Ocean County Park, Lakewood.
Attendants are at the county dog parks at various times throughout the day
Free parking is available at the site and jugs of water are available. Dog owners should bring their own water bowls.
Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn extended his appreciation of the Board to the Parks and Recreation Department staff “for developing this addition to our county parks. This in-house effort will make a difference to our residents.”
Haines credited the late Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who served as liaison to parks, with creating off-leash dog parks in the county.
To register to use the dog park, call 732-506-9090 or visit oceancountyparks.org.