I’m writing in response to Richard Schreff’s letter in Friday’s edition about the need for a county dog park. We actually do have one in Homosassa at Bluebird Springs Park off Yulee Drive, although it’s not well marked as one. Even if you drive into the park, you probably have to know that there’s an area specifically set up for the dogs. It’s not easily seen from the parking area.
The dog park has two secure, fenced-in areas, one for small dogs and one for bigger dogs. They both have fresh-water fountains with a lower level for dogs and one on top for people. There are dispensers with bags for dog poop in case you didn’t bring any (bags) and there are lined receptacles for disposal. There are places for owners to sit inside the areas while their dogs run, play and socialize. And do they ever!
I must commend the county parks folk — they do a really good job of keeping the dogs’ areas attractive and clean; actually, they do a great job of making Bluebird Springs Park a welcoming, mellow, place to just chill and relax for adults and children.
For the dogs’ humans, the dog park is a community builder. Age, income level, sex, political or religious beliefs are all secondary to the love of the furry family members. People get to know one another because they are out of their homes, away from televisions and computers, are interacting in a beautiful natural setting, sharing the enjoyment of watching their pets have a wonderful time.
And for the park itself, which had gained, correctly or incorrectly, a negative public perception of being used for drugs and sexual encounters, having people with their dogs coming and going to use the park throughout the day has certainly been disruptive to that sort of usage.
The rules for use are straightforward and sensible and are listed right as you enter. Some important ones are bringing in neutered/spayed dogs only; keeping them leashed until you are inside the fenced area and gates are secured; and being responsible for cleaning up after your dog.
Citrus County could use more dog park areas in our county parks. The dogs are a catalyst for people to get to know one another. Both the people and the dogs get good exercise, increased socialization, tension-release and better sleep. It’s a win-win situation.