Column: Carmel’s first dog park needed more planning

Visit the dog park at Clay Terrace mall is likely to be a muddy experience.��������������

Visiting the dog park at Clay Terrace mall is likely to be a muddy experience.

Commentary by Pete Smith

Like many people who love their dogs as much as the humans in their family, I enjoy taking my best friend to the dog park. In fact, I believe we have played in almost every one in central Indiana.

How Carmel has escaped the dog park craze all these years I will never know. But the turnout for a new dog park at Clay Terrace Mall on March 30 showed that desire for one was boiling over.

And in the rush to create the first dog park in Carmel, the mall overlooked a lot of things in the park’s construction.

The first is that the small enclosure has only a single gate, meaning that when new dogs enter the park, other dogs have an easy opportunity to make a dash for it. That’s not a good thing when there is unobstructed access to a highway less than a hundred yards away.

The second is that there is no water source in the park. That will be a problem in summer when the sun beats down on the dogs, who will have little shade to rest in inside the enclosure. But if you go to the park after a rain there will be plenty of water, because the dog park was built on flat ground and water naturally pools there – so plan to bring a towel to wipe the mud off your pet before the car ride home.

Third, the park rules say that no small children should be let inside. But with an unattended park that’s free and requires no membership, this is a recipe for disaster. Small children are easily knocked down by rough-housing dogs who will pay no attention to a child’s safety.

And speaking of safety, not having memberships means any dog can enter the park. Speaking from experience, vicious dogs have no place in dog parks. And without a membership-only access, dogs’ safety is at the mercy of whoever happens to show up.

I personally waited more than half an hour to enter the park March 30 because several wolf-hybrids were already inside. I don’t put my dog in harm’s way, no matter what defenders of bully breeds might say. And honestly I wouldn’t come back to the park until upgrades are made.

A representative from dog park sponsor Tom Wood Subuaru said he was aware of the need for upgrades, but as of press time, they had not been made.