Council delays dog park action after Animal Rescue head complains

Updated: 9 a.m. June 10: The Town Council voted June 9 to postpone for a future meeting action they might take to approve a site plan and rules for a dog park that is being planned for land adjacent to the town’s Animal Control facility and Water Pollution Control facility. The vote to “table” (postpone) was unanimous.

Updated: 6 p.m. june 9. Town Council Majority Leader said he will push to delay dog park action in order “to give the STARS (Stratford Animal Rescue Society) people a chance to be heard.”

Original story 5 p.m. Stratford Animal Rescue Society (STARS) President Marjean O’Malley said on June 9 that the reason she is publicly voicing her objection to the dog park, which is planned to be adjacent to Animal Control Facility property, just as the dog park is again on a Town Council meeting agenda (meeting is Monday June 9 6:45 and 8 p.m.) is because she was assured by Mayor John Harkins’ Chief of Staff Marc Dillon that she would be involved when the town got to the research stage of planning.

She said on June 6 and again on June 9 that to date neither she nor the Animal Control officers have been contacted for input regarding the advisability of a dog park next to an animal control facility.

As it turns out the mayor’s recommended site for the dog park adjacent to Animal Control, which is also adjacent to the Water Control Facility, was announced by the mayor on April 14 and approved by the Town Council on the same day, without prior approval or recommendations by land use boards or the parks department.

While the site was working through a Planning Commission meeting on May 20, O’Malley said, “Having had the promise of inclusion and knowing it was budget time, I waited patiently to have the opportunity (to talk with the mayor) and I was never contacted.”

Dillon said that once the mayor made his recommendation of the site on April 14 the matter “was effectively out of our hands.”

He repeated that O’Malley “should bring her concerns forward.”

O’Malley’s primary objection to the dog park being adjacent to Animal Control is that the dogs that are kept kept at Animal Control, cared for, exercised, trained, and socialized in an effort to prepare them for adoption will become untrainable, because they will become “overstimulated” and “overexcited” as they sense the dog and human activity around the dog park.

O’Malley said it certainly will interfere with the ability to handle the animals housed at Animal Control.

[See related stories on this site.]

Proposed dog park would run as a long strip between Water Control fence, which extends up from the post seen here, and wetlands, which are roughly marked by tall trees at left. Greg Reilly photo.

Proposed dog park would run as a long strip between Water Control fence, which extends up from the post seen here, and wetlands, which are roughly marked by tall trees at left. Greg Reilly photo.

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