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Sandy Journal

Is Sandy’s One and Only Off-Leash Dog Park Adequate for Pet Owners?

Aug 10, 2015 09:47AM ● By Bryan Scott

Dogs stop to get a drink at the Sandy Dog Park.

By Aimee L. Cook

If you have a dog and live in Sandy, odds are you have made a trip to the one off-leash dog park in the city. Located at 300 East 9980 South, the one-acre site has two fenced in sides. The dog park is well maintained for the most part, but some care is dependent on the pet owners to pick up after their animals and not allow them to be destructive. There are trees, benches and a walking trail in both areas. One area has dirt and bark, while the other side has drought-tolerant grass. Rules are clearly posted upon entering the park, and all owners are asked to use the facility at their own risk.  Aggressive dogs are not permitted, but animal behavior can be very unpredictable and things can go wrong. 

The park can get very overcrowded at times. Being the only park of its kind can lend itself to many dogs in a space at one time. Megan O’Brien likes to bring her Labrador to the park, but has not had good luck bringing her smaller dogs.

“The smaller dogs just get too nervous with all the dogs that pay attention to them,” O’Brien said. “My Labrador is good at ignoring them and just doing her own thing. If another big dog approaches her, I am always nearby in case she feels threatened.”

In March, there was an incident at the dog park that left one small dog severely injured by a larger dog. Unfortunately, the owner of the larger dog left the premises after the incident and the other dog owner was unable to get any information from them. Fortunately, incidents like those are not reported to Sandy Animal Control very often. 

“We can count on one hand how many times a year we are called due to an incident at the dog park,” said Ian Williams, director of Sandy Animal Services. “I think the city has done a great job with the resources they had but I would like to see an additional park and would strongly encourage the city officials to do so.”

Recently a resident proposed Brandon Canyon Trail become off-leash at a city council meeting. The council determined after a lengthily discussion to decline that request due to safety concerns for children, adults and other animals, should an animal become vicious. 

“A year or two ago some dogs which were off leash in Dimple Dell Park inflicted very serious damage to a horse due to their severe bites, and the dogs’ behavior threatened several individuals as well,” Dennis Tenney, Sandy City council member said. “The health, safety and well-being of our residents and of pets and other animals are a top priority for Sandy City.  Our strong feeling at this time is that the only way we can assure complete safety is to make certain that dogs and other pets are on leash at all times, including on the Brandon Canyon Trail.”

Currently the city has plans to close one side of the park for three weeks to allow grass and vegetation to grow and rotate to the other side. There are also plans to pave the parking lot. As far as adding a second park, Sandy City does have plans to build an additional dog park in Quail Hollow Park when they have funding to do so.

“Quail Hollow Park is a 53-acre gem that should become a wonderful public amenity for all of Sandy’s residents in the future as soon as we’re able to identify funding sources to develop that park, including an enclosed dog park,” Tenney said. “Sandy City wants to do everything possible to enhance the health, safety of our citizens and neighborhoods, and promote quality of life opportunities in a meaningful, affordable manner as well.”