STAFFORD – Residents came to the Feb. 19 council meeting armed with information and opinions about adding a dog park to the township. Mayor Gregory Myhre said that the council is considering the idea, and it is “in the works.”
This was not the first the council has heard about constructing a dog park in Stafford. The idea has come up before, with residents both strongly in favor and strongly opposed to the possibility.
At the Feb. 6 meeting, an Ocean Acres resident expressed an interest in the idea, stating that it is a hassle to bring his dog to Robert J. Miller Air Park in Bayville.
Councilman Michael Pfancook stated at the time that the council was already looking into the idea, considering placing the dog park on a section of Lighthouse Park in Ocean Acres. “We are already looking at bids, pricing, park benches, fire hydrants,” he said.
On Feb. 19, resident and meeting regular Sal Sorce used his five minutes in public comment to persuade the council why a dog park is a bad idea, citing veterinary studies and taxpayer concerns. According to Sorce, he claimed that canine “waste” carries with it a form of “coliform bacteria” that can cause “kidney disorders, intestinal illness.”
“There’s a lot of liability issues here,” said Sorce.
Sorce also expressed concerns about paying for the dog park when he himself doesn’t have a dog. “There’s just not enough dog owners,” he said.
“It’s not a pressing need and we do plan to do our due diligence,” said Myhre. “That being said, dog parks do exist in a lot of places.”
While previous township officials considered adding a dog park back in 2011, the idea was later scrapped.
Former Councilwoman Sharon McKenna confirmed this, stating that the council at the time introduced an ordinance on adding a dog park for a first reading, which later got shot down during the second reading.
“My remembrance of it was that on the second reading it did not pass because between those two periods, unfortunately, the dog park did lose support,” said McKenna.