The Herald Bulletin

March 15, 2014

New pooch park stresses health, safety

Members say added precautions are welcome additions

By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Pam Benzenbauer said owning a 7-month-old yellow Labrador retriever keeps her busy.

Ruby is full of energy, Benzenbauer said, and if she is not regularly exercised she can be a handful.

So when Four Paws Dog Park, 109 W. 53rd St., opened, Benzenbauer was one of the first people to sign up for a membership.

“I am so glad they have it there,” she said. “It makes it really nice for us and it is close.”

Four Paws was opened by South Anderson Veterinary Clinic in September.

“We wanted to offer something on this side of town and we wanted to give pet owners another option when it comes to a dog park,” said Tiffany Weisheit, at the clinic.

The new facility is Anderson’s second dog park. Animal Care & Control Canine Companion Corral, 2108 W. Eighth St., is maintained and operated by the Animal Protection League.

Both dog parks require animals visiting the play area to be up-to-date on rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetella vaccinations, but Four Paws has taken additional steps to ensure the safety of its members, they said, by requiring a negative fecal exam.

“We have more health clearances and a higher security,” Weisheit said.

This is a precaution Benzenbauer said she can appreciate.

“I’m very picky about Ruby,” she said. “Another one of the things I really like, is it has an electronic entry and it is double gated so you don’t lose your dog. It’s nice that they can’t run out on you.”

Although the dimensions of the parks are very similar, each covering about an acre of land, both Benzenbauer and Weisheit say the layouts of the parks vary greatly.

“They have two separate areas for bigger dogs and the smaller or timid dogs,” Benzenbauer said of Four Paws. “We love it.”

Benzenhauer said having the extra security in place keeps people from allowing friends or family to bring a dog into the park that is not vaccinated.

“And the dogs have to be supervised at all times. You can’t leave your dog,” Benzenbauer said. “If you leave — the dog leaves.”

Membership fees at the parks are also different.

The membership at Four Paws is $10 for a one-day trial pass, $25 a month for the first dog and $10 for additional dogs living in the same household and annual passes are $150 with $30 for each additional dog at the same address.

Animal Care & Control Canine Companion Corral charges $15 for membership for the first dog and $5 a year for each additional dog. Memberships run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, and the fees collected are considered donations to the Animal Protection League.

Weisheit said Four Paws is more than just a dog park, it's an extension of services for the South Anderson Veterinary Clinic clients. She said both obedience training, which includes off-leash heeling, and agility classes are offered in the park.

Currently the canine playground equipment at Four Paws has been stored for the winter months, but Weisheit said it will be brought out again once the weather warms up.

Neither of the Anderson dog parks have any breed restrictions, but aggressive dogs are not allowed.

Four Paws also denies puppies under 4 months of age to be registered because they are not fully vaccinated. Male dogs must be neutered and female dogs must not be in heat. The facility does not allow children under the age of 12 to play in the dog park.

The Animal Protection League does not have any age restrictions for children to play in the park.

Benzenbauer said she likes having the extra precautions in place, but the best thing about the new park is it gives her an opportunity to socialize Ruby on a frequent basis.

“You can meet other dogs there and they can wear your dog out,” she said with a laugh. “And having a Lab, I tell you, that's nice to have.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

Paying to play Looking for a safe place to let your pooch play with being on a leash? The following information will give you a closer look at two of the dog parks located in Anderson: Name: Animal Care & Control Canine Companion Corral Operated/maintained by: Animal Protection League Located: 2108 W. Eighth St. Membership fees: $15 annually for the first dog and $5 a year for each additional dog. Memberships run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Size: Approximately one acre Hours of operation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week For more information about this dog park, call 356-0900. Name: Four Paws Dog Park Operated/maintained by: South Anderson Veterinary Clinic Located: 109 W. 53rd St. Membership fees: Trial day pass $10, monthly pass $25 for the first dog and $10 for additional dogs from the same household and annual passes are $150 and $30 for each additional dog living at the same address. Size: Approximately one acre. Hours of operation: Dawn to dusk, seven days a week For more information on this dog park, call 642-8117.