Dog project celebrates pilot program allowing leashed dogs in Cain Park
This year, the dog days of summer will be dog-friendly days in Cain Park. For a six-month trial period, which began April 15, leashed dogs are allowed in the park.
On April 21, dogs and their owners met at Cain Park’s Lee Road entrance for a “victory lap” around the park. The walk followed a welcome from Dog Project leaders and Jason Stein, the Cleveland Heights City Council member who introduced the legislation.
Stein acknowledged the work of several volunteers in his remarks. "Thanks to the Dog Project members Kerri, Paul, Hannah and many others for working so hard to make Dogs in Cain Park a reality," said Stein. "We did it! This is OUR victory! Congratulations to everyone."
Ground rules and general information were shared at the event. According to the terms of the legislation, all dogs must be on a leash, and they must be confined to the park's paved pathways. Four waste stations are set up around the park.
The initiative to pass legislation allowing dogs in Cain Park was driven by the Cain Park Neighborhood Association’s Dog Project initiative. Kerri Whitehouse, Dog Project spokesperson, said that the project started in June 2012, with a goal of increasing foot traffic at Cain Park and encouraging productive use of the park. The group conducted a survey in July and polled 428 people; of those, 68 percent indicated they were in favor of allowing dogs in the park.
Whitehouse said that Cleveland Heights City Council was very open to listening to the ideas of the Dog Project members and were "very supportive." She also thanked the citizens of Cleveland Heights for their support of the idea.
Suzy Pare, Dog Project volunteer coordinator who owns a Labrador retriever named Katy, was happy with the turnout at the event and the support of volunteers. She was hoping to find new volunteers to stock the park's four waste stations with plastic bags, and ended up getting enough people to cover each week of the six-month trial period.
After the walk, dog owners and supporters attended an after-party at the BottleHouse Brewery which featured a special microbrew, named in honor of the occasion.
Visit the Dog Project’s new website, www.clevehtsdogproject.weebly.com, for guidelines, resources and volunteer information.
Simone Quartell, a Heights High graduate, is a student at Cleveland State University and a Heights Observer intern.