Woofington Pet Park to provide safe space for dogs
September 20, 2023
– as National Park continues to undergo development
The Woofington Dog Park and pet play area officially opened on Monday, in an initiative by the Board of Directors and Management of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) to transform the National Park into a more inclusive recreational space for families and their pets. Located within the National Park, the Woofington Park area is approximately 1000 feet and is bordered by canals, providing a natural boundary for pets. Dog trainers are at hand and the park aims to maintain rules to encourage pet owners to safely enjoy the space, including ensuring each dog is always accompanied by an adult and that they are on a leash or appropriate body strap no longer than six feet.
PAC Commissioner Jason Fraser explained that this dog park initially emerged from a need to avoid conflicts between pet owners and persons visiting the park for other purposes, coupled with an overall goal of ensuring animal welfare. “The aim of the park is to have a space where people can build that social capital. One of the things that you’d find in common when you come here to walk your dogs is that you all love pets so having this space where you can socialise and maybe share dos and don’ts and quick tips with your fellow pet lovers–I think that helps a lot,” Fraser explained. “It also is great for persons who like to use the circuit to run because while it’s great to have your pets and dogs use the circuit, I think having a special space just for that helps to minimise that conflict.” A dog owner, during the park’s opening, commended its establishment and shared its potential benefits to her dog. “As a pet lover, I want a space for my dog to be able to go out of the house and be able to socialise with other dogs, so this is a great initiative for that. He might [become] more trained and better behaved after this,” she said.
Meanwhile, Fraser further noted that this pet area falls under a larger move to enhance urban recreational spaces as the National Park will also soon see water activities, two outdoor exercise areas, and a concession spot for refreshments. By October, park wardens will also be instituted to maintain order within the National Park, having the authority to impose fines should visitors fail to adhere to the rules. “There would be zero tolerance for garbage, and of course we hope pet owners would find it adequate to clean up after their pets,” Fraser added. In addition, the manatee pond continues to undergo development, while the PAC hopes to establish an equestrian area to allow children to enjoy pony rides. Fraser clarified that this will hold a different purpose than the Botanical Gardens, which also has a petting zoo comprising ponies. “The Botanical Gardens and the Petting Zoo go hand in hand with our Nature School. So, the difference on this side is that this is more recreation and relaxation and a space for people to communicate and build relationships among people who have things in common–love for pets–while the Botanical Gardens’ Petting Zoo is more for education and sharing knowledge about our nature, our biodiversity, and our environment,” Fraser said. Recreational spaces out of Georgetown are also seeing improvements, with Fraser explaining that in 18 months, Joe Viera Park in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) will provide a similar park experience as the National Park.