Ocean County opens second off-leash dog park

Ocean County’s canines will now have the opportunity to run and play without their leash at the county’s newest dog park in Lakewood.

Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, announced that the county’s second off-leash dog facility is now open.

“We’re very pleased to provide this facility for our residents in the northern portion of the county,” Bartlett said. “We believe this facility will be as successful as the one operated by the county in Berkeley Township.”

Bartlett said the new dog park is on 4 acres in the rear of Ocean County Park, off Route 88 in Lakewood.

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

Bartlett said the new dog park offers some wooded area as well as open fields. Tere are water fountains and dispensers for dog waste. The site is enclosed by a 6-foot high chain-link fence. Small dogs have their own area.

Tables and benches are on the grounds for the dog owners and the new dog park is staffed all the hours it is open.

Before a dog can use either county off-leash facility, the owner must have registered the dog with the county. Registration requirements include proof of a valid dog license and payment of the required fee. Registration costs $20 for a resident’s first dog and $10 for each additional dog they register.

Anyone registering for the first time will pay the $20 fee now but will not have to renew their registration in 2005.

Registration locations are: Ocean County Parks Administration Building, 1198 Bandon Road, Dover Township, (732) 506-9090; the Ocean County Connection at the Ocean County Mall, Hooper Avenue, Dover Township, (732) 288-7777 or Tip Seaman County Park, Lakeside Drive, Tuckerton, (609) 296-5606.

“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 these off-leash dog parks can socialize well. It’s also important that this project allows dogs the freedom to run and play but also has the appropriate safeguards.”

Work for the new dog park was performed by Ocean County employees.

Entry to the new park is off Route 88 and exit from the site is onto New Hampshire Avenue. There is plenty of free parking available.

The new facility will be open daily until 4:30 p.m. up until Dec. 16 at which time the dog park’s closing time will change to 4 p.m. daily. All county parks close at dusk.