By David Markham
A new area for small dogs opened recently in the Dog Off-Leash Area at Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park, and is considered a trial for the possibility of adding small dog areas to JCPRD’s other off-leash areas.
The new small dog area opened in late May, and consists of about one-third of an acre of the park’s existing off-leash area which has been fenced off for the use of dogs 25 pounds or under and/or 14 inches in height. Conformity with these limitations will be on the honor system as no enforcement is planned. Signage for the new area was recently installed.
“Over the fall and winter, we had some requests for a small dog park because of negative interactions between small dogs and big dogs generally,” said Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses Bill Maasen. “Then we decided to pick an area and we researched what other small dog parks were like in the metro area and generally found them all to be a third to a half-acre in size. We found something that fit and that we wouldn’t have to modify a lot of fencing at Stoll Park; and Stoll Park made sense because it had an existing vestibule that we could use one of the spokes coming out of it to be a small dog entrance. It’s going to work out nicely. We will consider this elsewhere if it works out logistically and we have the real estate.”
In January and February, JCPRD conducted an online survey to gauge interest in a small dog area. Of the 286 people who responded, the majority were in favor of establishing a separate area for small dogs.
Here’s a sampling of the more than 140 comments received:
“No way would I take a small dog to an all-sizes dog park. A small dog area is a great idea.”
“Socialization is so much better when they are roughly the same size.”
“Small dogs aren't safe in a big dog park.”
“Even though I have larger dogs. I support the little ones having their own area.”
“A small dog only area would make me feel significantly safer bringing my dogs there.”
Stoll Park is located at 12500 W. 119th St., in Overland Park. JCPRD also offers Off-Leash Areas at: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa; Heritage Park, 16000 Pflumm Road, Olathe; and at the Kill Creek Streamway Park access point on 95th Street south of Kansas 10 Highway off Kill Creek Road.
Off-leash areas have the same hours as the parks where they are located. Stoll Park and Kill Creek Streamway Park are open year-round from dawn to dusk. From March through Oct. 31, Shawnee Mission and Heritage parks will be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Beginning on Nov. 1 and continuing through Feb. 28, Shawnee Mission Park is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Heritage Park will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Between March 1 and Oct. 31, both Shawnee Mission Park and Heritage Park are closed every Tuesday until 9 a.m. for routine maintenance work. For more about Off-Leash Areas, visit JCPRD.com/1748/Dog-Off-Leash-Areas.