Ocean County planning new off-leash dog park

Citing the success of its first off-leash dog park, Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr. announced today that a second similar facility will be opening in the northern area of the county.

“People love their dogs and they have enjoyed immensely our off-leash dog park at the Ocean County Airpark in Berkeley Township,” said Bartlett, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. “We have found a place in Ocean County Park, Lakewood, that we believe is appropriate for another off-leash dog park.”

Bartlett said the second dog park would be on about four acres in the rear of Ocean County Park off Route 88 in Lakewood.

“This open space, in the centerpiece of the county park system, would work well for a dog park,” Bartlett said. “It would serve dog owners in the northern and central parts of the county, while the dog park in Berkeley Township can then focus more to serve residents in the central and southern end of the county.”

A 2.5-acre site at the Robert J. Miller Airpark off Route 530 in Berkeley Town-ship was opened in May 2002 and designated the Ocean County Off-leash Dog Facility providing an area for pet owners to bring their dogs so they can romp and run off-leash. More than 1,600 dogs have been registered to use the facility.

The site is enclosed by a 6-foot-high chain-linked fence. A water fountain is available for the dogs as well as feces dispensers. Small dogs have their own area allowing owners to keep them separate from larger dogs.

“The new facility will be very similar to the one we already operate at the airpark,” Bartlett said. “Residents will have to adhere to the same regulations at the new facility as they already do at the airpark site.”

The county requires individuals using the dog park register with the county. There is a $20 annual fee to use the facility. A dog must have a license, and identification cards will be issued by the parks department. The facility is staffed.

“These regulations give the county the opportunity to know who the people are that are using these facilities,” Bartlett said. “It’s important that dogs using this facility can socialize well. It’s also important that this project allows dogs the freedom to run and play but also has the appropriate safeguards.”

Bartlett said that any county resident already registered for the airpark site does not have to register again for the new off-leash facility. One registration will cover both parks.

Work for the new dog park currently is being performed by Ocean County departments including the Road Department. The new dog park is expected to open around the middle of the fall.