By Phil Stilton
The Ocean County Board of Freeholders have announced in a press release that staffing at the two county operated dog parks will be reduced as of the new year. The county operates parks at Ocean County Airpark in Berkeley Township and Ocean County Park in Lakewood.
Below is the release provided by the Board of Chosen Freeholders:
WHILE THE HOURS OF operation at Ocean County’s two dog parks will remain the same, the amount of time attendants spend at the sites will be reduced in the New Year.
“Our dog parks will continue to be open to the public just as they have always been,” said Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. “However we will be cutting back on the hours the dog park will be staffed.”
The Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation operates two county off leash dog parks – at Ocean County Park, Lakewood and at the Ocean County Airpark in Berkeley Township.
During the winter months, with shorter days, the hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and hours are extended during the summer months from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Beginning Jan. 1, an attendant will staff the park for three hours from the time of opening and also for three hours at the end of the day.
“There will be no attendant staffing the dog parks during the middle part of the day,” Bartlett said. “Due to budgetary constraints and a ongoing reduction in the county’s work force we are making every effort to keep the dog parks open and running. Reducing the hours an attendant will be there will allow us to keep the dog parks open during regular hours.”
While residents will still need to get a permit to use the dog parks, the amount of the permit will be reduced from $25 to $5.
People using the dog park will still need to carry their county issued dog park identification card to assure dogs using the facilities are licensed and are up to date with their vaccines.
Ocean County opened its first off leash dog park in May 2002 in response to dog owners who sought to have a place where their pets can run and play without infringing on the recreational experiences of the general public.
The off-leash dog park is a contained area where dog owners can allow their pets to run free and exercise off-leash.
“The dramatic increase in the population of Ocean County has made open space for dog owners to let their dogs run free increasingly scarce,” Bartlett said. “These facilities fulfill the needs of both the dog owner and the general public. We will continue to work to keep these facilities open and available to our citizens.”