After temporarily closing earlier this summer, the Allen Township Dog Park is reopening. However, township manager Ilene Eckhart and supervisors warn they will not hesitate to close the park again if visitors continue to let dog waste pile up.
The park had originally been closed for a bench installation project. When the public works crew noticed a substantial amount of waste left behind by visitors, the park was closed by the township.
“There are a lot of people who are thankful for [the park],” said Eckhart, “but as anything, there are a lot of people who do not respect what has been invested.”
The park cost the township over $270,000 in grant funding and labor that, Eckhart said, could have been spent at any other park in the township. Grants were provided by Northampton County.
Since the park was closed, there has been backlash by township and county residents. Some have called the township, arguing that it is the job of public works to clean up the dog waste or monitor the visitors. Eckhart and supervisors said it is not, and that tax dollars should not be used to “watch other people’s dogs.”
According to Eckhart, some visitors have resorted to lifting their pets over the fence and letting them run around unattended.
“We had something nice,” said supervisor Dale Hassler. “[But] we have people defying [the rules].”
However, the township will give visitors a second chance. When the park reopens, supervisors are encouraging people at the park to monitor each other. Supervisor Gary Behler said the Friends of Allen Township Dog Park may also be willing to ensure that visitors are picking up after their pets and keeping the park clean.
“Pick up after [your] animal,” said Eckhart. “Basically that is all we’re asking.”