Lakewood Dog Park Being Planned

LAKEWOOD – Lakewood may be the location for Chautauqua County’s first community dog park.

Andrea Windoft, Lakewood treasurer, is in the early stages of planning a dog park across the highway from the boat launch at the village’s Community Park. Windoft said she has been researching the idea for about two years. Windoft is the owner of three Jack Russell terriers and believes a dog park would be a nice addition to Lakewood and Community Park.

”When I’m on vacations, I’ve seen them in other communities, so I though one would be nice here,” she said. ”I asked for mayor (David Wordelmann’s) blessing to research it. I think for the overall health of the village, it would be nice to have one.”

Windoft said the most expensive item in creating a dog park would be for the fence to block off an area for the dogs to run freely. She applied for a grant from Petco for the fence, but said she was turned down.

Also, she has applied for a Wal-Mart Foundation grant, but hasn’t heard back about her application. As for donations from individuals or other businesses, Windoft said she needs to continue researching how the municipality could accept funds for the dog park.

Windoft said she hasn’t measured the area yet for the dog park. However, she said the idea is to have an area for larger dogs and then another area in the middle of the park that is fenced off for smaller breads.

”We could have benches, picnic tables and dog toys or activities,” she said about the whole dog park.

Windoft said dog owners would need to register their pet for the park to ensure the animal has all of the necessary shots and licenses needed before playing in the park. She said once a pet owner signs a registration to use the park, the village would not be liable for any incidents, as well. She also said the park wouldn’t be just for town of Busti or village of Lakewood residents. All dog owners in the county could use the park once they register their pet with village officials.

Another good reason to establish the park is, as of now, no pet owners are allowed to take their dogs to any village parks.

”All the parks in the village are zoned for no dogs,” she said. ”It is against the rules and regulations.”

Windoft said she has been receiving positive responses from people she has spoken to about the dog park idea.

”The folks at the Humane Society and everyone else has said what a great idea,” she said. ”There are no dog parks in the county that I’m aware of so there is a need.”

Windoft said she doesn’t want to use any taxpayer dollars to create the dog park. The next step in the process is finding funding for the fence.