By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — Village officials may consider closing the dog park near Mosher Park.
The issue was raised after vandalism of trees at the park was found by village work crews.
Mayor Bill Misuraca said Monday that trees planted at the fenced-in dog park had been broken. The trees had been given to the village by the county.
“This, coupled with the large amount of uncleaned dog waste and cigarette butts, has forced us to reconsider the park,” Misuraca announced in a social media post.
Misuraca said no arrests have been made at this time with regard to the broken trees. The village does not want to close the park, he said, and he is hoping things will change before that decision has to be made.
“I do not want to close it, but it’s not going to be the Wild West over there,” Misuraca said. “Hopefully, people smarten up.”
Village Trustee Linda Muller, who is the board’s liaison to the Parks Department, was instrumental in establishing the dog park and said the incidents at the park have been discouraging.
“I was disappointed to get this report from Henry [Traver, village foreman],” Muller said. “We are trying so hard to make our village a place with many things that our residents can enjoy. My hope is that this problem will stop and our dog owners can enjoy our park again.”
Dog owners are required to register with the village clerk in order to use the dog park, but Misuraca said many appear to be using the facility without being registered.
“As of right now, there are only nine registered dog park users and a whole lot of people that are illegally using the park,” Misuraca said. “You need to be a registered user to enter the dog park. The rules are clearly posted.”
A yellow sign posted in the park details the rules governing use of the dog park. All dogs must have a current license, and rabies and distemper vaccinations, and the owner must have their Village Dog Park permit with them. The park is open every day of the year and all pets must be leashed when entering and exiting the facility. Dogs are permitted to be unleashed once inside the fenced-in area, according to the posted rules.
Pet owners are also required to clean up after their dogs and use the waste stations provided at the dog park. Smoking and food are not permitted.
Misuraca said the dog park could be closed if the facility is not used properly.
“We are not going to pay someone to play ‘dog police,’” the mayor said. “We will simply close the park if it cannot be used properly and respectfully.”
The concept of creating the dog park on Whitbeck Street was founded in 2017 and the park opened two years later, in 2019. Users are required to register with the village and obtain a permit. Permits are available at the village offices at 15 Mountain Road, Ravena.