The town’s board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday, Sept. 14, to green-light the local dog club’s plan to develop a temporary dog park, in light of numerous off-leash violations throughout the community.
“I’m pleased the directors of the board have been very willing and cooperative,” said Rachel Mullen, president of the Mountain House Dog Club. “We started in July 2010 with the idea … Half the town owns dogs. We wanted to stop the off-leash problem. We hope people will be more responsible.”
General Manager Paul Sensibaugh said due to the number of dog-related problems in Mountain House, the board is warranted to explore temporary facilities where dogs can be exercised and trained. At the direction of the board, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies enforced the off-leash law, which resulted in a dozen citations in the past month.
Since the community doesn’t have the funds to develop its own dog park, Sensibaugh said, the board did set aside $5,000 for the infrastructure for an interim dog park.
The temporary park will be north of Bethany and Wicklund roads, near the wastewater treatment plant. The plan, Mullen said, calls for a 150-foot by 300-foot fenced section for big dogs, and a 50-foot by 50-foot fenced section for smaller dogs that are 25 pounds or less.
The park will be open seven days a week between sunrise and sunset, and all dogs must be leashed entering and exiting the park. All dog owners using the park will be responsible for their own canine, including licensing and proper vaccinations.
Adjacent to the dog park will be an unfenced gravel parking area to accommodate a minimum of 10 vehicles.
Although the directors had given the dog club their blessing, Mullen said her nonprofit group still has a lot of fundraising to do to meet the financial demands of building a dog park. The final design must be approved by the general manager before any improvements are made to the community property.
Community coordinator Morgan Groover said the intent is to have the dog club come before the board of directors annually to see if the project meets approval.
Director Jass Singh questioned the community’s liability for the park, and Sensibaugh said it would fall under the same insurance coverage as the other community parks. It was also pointed out that the park will be operated and maintained by the dog club, which will also implement its policies and procedures during the term of its agreement with MHCSD.
Director Jim Lamb called the project a test case for a future permanent dog park.