Tails were wagging Wednesday as the city of Antigo officially opened its new dog park, a model facility that may serve as a template for others across Wisconsin.
Sarah Repp, the city’s parks and recreation director, clipped a ribbon featuring two dogs nose to nose to formally inaugurate the facility, which was placed quietly into use earlier this summer.
She was surrounded by plenty of canine friends, including several from city staffers and a contingent from the nearby Langlade County Humane Society.
“This is a great day for our four-legged companions,” Repp said, noting that events such as the ribbon-cutting represented a very fun part of her job.
The park was constructed at the old city landfill site off Highway 64 on the northeast side of the city, largely funded through a $30,000 anonymous donation.
The site was capped as required under Department of Natural Resources regulations decades ago and a walking trail developed through the area. It never gained much traction with pedestrians, but has already proven popular with canines and their owners.
“The DNR is very pleased with how we utilized the area and with the design of the dog park,” Charlie Brinkmeyer, the city’s civil technologist/surveyor said. “They’ve taken pictures of the stand-alone small dog area so they could distribute it to other communities.”
That means that dog parks similar to Antigo’s may soon sprout up across the state, another reason for urban canine to cheer.
The 17- acre park features a mix of mowed and natural areas for dogs to romp off-leash, with a separate, 2-acre mowed area for the little yappers. There is even a pond for Labradors and other water-loving breeds to enjoy a refreshing dip.
The area is completely fenced and secure, keeping the dogs in and interlopers out.
Dogs rule, but they need a few rules as well.
Users of the park must be licensed and tagged, and up-to-date on vaccinations and deworming. They must be leashed prior to entering and leaving the park and the owners must carry a leash at all times.
Clean-up is, of course, required, as is filling in any holes diggers may make.
Puppies under six months old should stay home. Food, including dog chews and rawhides, and bikes are not permitted in the park.
As per municipal statutes, pit bulls are not permitted in the city. Aggressive dogs are also not welcome.
Repp said that with the city’s increased focus the past several years on its park and trail system for all ages, it was only natural to create a space dedicated to dogs once the donated funds became available.
“This is just another part of making Antigo a great place to live for people and their dogs as well,” she said.