Frequently Asked Questions

Monthly eNews Updates

   04/21/11  -  Spring Edication Newsletter
   03/28/11  -  Bark Park News
   03/15/11  -  Bark Park News

 

Updated January 5, 2011


Q - What is the official name of the park?

A - The Warminster Township Bark Park, located in Warminster Community Park

Q - Where is the park located in the Township?
A - The park is located in the center of Warminster Community Park, 1100 Veterans Way, Warminster PA. Park in the main parking lot and walk your dog (on leash) down to the Bark Park.

Q - Is the Bark Park open and who can utilize the facility?
A - Yes, the Park officially opened in January 2010. Access cards (“Paw-Passes”) are currently available to persons listed on an approved application subject to the following:
• A completed “Paw-Pass” Application Form
• Proof of a County dog license. Please note that the license does not have to be issued from Warminster Township, but from the location of the dog’s main year-round residence.
• Proof of up to date immunizations (Rabies)
• Signed Release of Liability & Waiver Form (signed by all persons listed on the application)
• Receipt of the Annual fee good until December 31 of the year purchased (no pro-rating):
• Residents of Warminster Township - $25.00
• Non-Residents of Warminster Township - $35.00

Q – What are the hours of operation of the Park?
A – The Park is open from 7:00 AM to Sunset, seven (7) days a week, weather and conditions permitting. On occasion the Park may be closed for short durations for maintenance related issues.
* During winter months, the park will not be cleared of snow. Use at your own risk.

Q – Where did the money come from to build the dog park.
A - As early as 2004, the Township began planning for such a facility and we received some donations from local residents and businesses. Then in 2007, using money we received from donations and fees from local developers as a match, the Township was awarded a state grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. We used these funds to build the Bark Park and make additional improvement at WCP.

Q - Why is there a fee for the Bark Park?
A – Two reasons! 1) Since the Bark Park needs to be self-sufficient, we need to charge a fee to help cover maintenance costs. We hope to use any excess monies to add additional items to the park. 2) After hearing so many complaints about other area dog parks, by charging a membership fee and requiring members to participate in a workshop, we hope to reduce problems and have more Responsible Owners using our park and keeping the animals safe.

Q – Who is currently processing applications for the Paw Pass access cards & application forms?
A – All inquiries should be directed to the Parks & Recreation Department, located at 1100 Veterans Way in Warminster, Telephone # (215) 443-5428, between the hours of 9:00 AM & 4:00 PM, Monday - Friday. Additionally, the Township has a website @ www.warminstertownship.org/barkpark, where current updates and photos of the Park can be found. Please tell your friends about our park. Copies of the Application Forms can be obtained on the website.

Q – Are the “Paw-Passes” transferable?
A – No, passes are not transferable. They may be used only by the persons and dogs listed on the application. Each dog must be registered and each person is required to be listed on the “Paw-Pass Application Form” and to sign the “Acceptance of Risk & Release of Liability Waiver Form”. Additionally, by signing the Release & Risk of Liability Waiver Form, each applicant is assuming the risk and liability for the dogs that they have registered. By allowing other dogs to enter the Park with your pass, you have now assumed full liability for those dogs and have breached our contractual agreement for use of the Park. Further, we have tried diligently to ensure that every dog utilizing the Park has been properly vaccinated and has passed an initial screening process. Your failure to adhere to these basic rules could jeopardize your ability to utilize the Bark Park in the future, as well as the Bark Park itself.

Q - How is the Park structured & setup for use?
A - As designed by the Engineer, the park is broken down into two (2) distinctly separate fenced in areas. They are as follows: Large Dog Area & Small Dog Area

Additionally, there are two (2) separate entrance/exit gates into these areas but both empty into a single vestibule area. This vestibule provides a safe area for you to remove or put on your leash before entering or leaving the park.

Owners are cautioned that they should utilize good judgment in determining which area is most appropriate for their dog. It is stressed in our Dog Park Safety Workshops that small dogs should utilize the small dog area and not be in the large dog park. Signage has been posted differentiating the large & small dog areas, owners are once again cautioned to select the area that best meets their dog’s needs.

Q - What facilities are available at the Park for both individuals and dogs?
A - As described above, there are two (2) separate fenced-in areas for the dogs to run off-leash. Additionally, the following facilities are currently available:
• A shared covered pavilion with benches in each of the two main areas
• Water fountain/shower for the dogs (seasonal)
• “Pooper-Scooper” dispensers and biodegradable disposable bags
• Trash containers
• Sitting benches located throughout the Park
• All parking must be restricted to the main parking lot
• Information sign board in the reception area just outside the Bark Park
• Locking security gates

Q - What is considered a Large Dog vs. Small Dog?
A - Large Dogs are usually considered those 31 lbs or more. However, if there are six 20 lb. dogs in the Small Dog area, the 30 lb dog owner should use discretion and consider moving their dog to the large dog area. Exceptions may be if several 100+lb dogs are playing in the large dog area, then a 40lb dog would be considered a small dog. Again, owners must be aware of their own dog’s behavior when dealing with large and/or small dogs and use their best judgment. Small dog owners should note that some large dogs will respond to a small dog as prey and instinctively act accordingly - it only takes a second for a tragedy to occur. Do not put your dog in danger! Small dogs should only be in the Small dog area. If you do not feel your dog fits into either group, perhaps it is a good time to take a walk around the park and come back in 10 minutes or so to check on the situation.

In addition, owners need to communicate with each other about how each of their dogs tolerate other dogs, this may help with the decision as well.

Q – Are food and treats allowed in the Bark Park?
A - No. We ask that you don't bring any kind of food or treats (people or animal) into the park. This could cause an unsafe situation for the dog owners and the dogs.

Q - Is cleaning up after my dog really an issue at the Bark Park?
A - YES. You MUST clean up after your dog. This is one of the number one reasons municipalities are closing dog parks across the country. Consider the following and the safety of your dog. Here are some reasons why:

#1. Disease Control - There are several very common diseases that can be transmitted to dogs, cats and people through feces. These include giardia, whipworm, roundworms, salmonella, and E-coli. In addition, your dog can spread or contract parvovirus or coronavirus through infected feces. All of these diseases are very serious and common and every effort should be made by pet owners to keep their pets and family away from potentially infected feces.

#2. Make the Bark Park more Useable - Nobody likes to walk through an area that is hiding "doggie land mines." In addition, the pets will get less interactive exercise and suffer as well.

#3. Fly Control - Flies will consume and lay eggs in feces. These same flies will then spread disease as they pause on your skin and dog. Need we say more about keeping feces cleaned up to prevent this cycle?

#4. Responsible Pet Ownership - Your responsibility to clean up after your pet doesn't end when your dog leaves your yard. Pet owners need to clean up after their pet every time they go to the bathroom. Period. No exceptions. If you are walking in the woods and your dog goes, then bury it. If you are in any park or neighborhood, pick it up with a plastic bag. Don't make your responsibility somebody else's problem.

#5. Preventing Stool Eating - While most dog owners think this doesn't apply to their dog, the shocking truth is that most dogs will engage in this unsavory practice at some point in their life. Dogs evolved as carnivore/scavengers and feces were considered fair game in lean times. To prevent this occasional indiscretion from becoming a life-long habit, clean up feces as soon as possible, especially in young dogs where the problem is most prevalent.

(source: www.drsfostersmith.com)

Q - Are dog parks a good place to teach my dog socialization skills?
A - Any dog that uses a dog park should be well socialized BEFORE using the dog park.  This will help to keep you and your dog safe, as well as the other dogs and owners that are in the park with you.  Also, you want your dog to enjoy their time at the park and they can’t do that if they are scared and unsure about being there or if they are out of control with excitement.  NOW is the time to work on socialization, before you start using the park.
 
Suggestions to help improve socialization:

1) Walk with other well-socialized dogs.  Walk a safe distance apart and/or one in front of the other, and then gradually decrease the distance until they can walk side by side. 

2) If the weather permits, arrange backyard play sessions with another dog. 

3) Also, visit pet stores during a less busy time at the store.  As your dog’s behavior and confidence improves, visit the store when there is more activity. 

4) Maybe consider some half-day visits for your dog at a doggy daycare.

5) Visit the dog park without your dog; you will get a whole new perspective when you can observe without having to monitor your dog.  Learn from what you see and from speaking with other owners.  Make your first visits to the dog park during  “off-peak” times so your dog is comfortable and doesn’t feel overwhelmed.  Also, it is important to always communicate with other owners when dogs are interacting with each other.

Remember to be creative and find opportunities that work for both you and your dog’s individual situation.

Q - What is the difference between two dogs that are playing roughly vs. those that are aggressive towards each other?
A - As far as rough play vs. aggression, there should be no rough play at all unless there are ONLY two dogs in the park, both dogs and owners are familiar with each other and this is how they always play together. As soon as another dog is approaching to enter the park, it’s over, PERIOD. You can’t have two dogs playing rough, even if that is what they are used to in the presence of other dogs, it will create a dangerous situation.

Dog behavior can be difficult to understand and there are just too many “what ifs”. Owners need to be aware of their own dog’s behavior, but the dynamic of a dog park will be different everyday, every hour, depending on the dogs and owners who are there. Pending the energy and the intensity of the situation, owners should err on the side of caution. If they are not sure, or it just doesn’t feel right, they should leave the park.

Each situation is never a totally cut and dry but responsible owners will watch their dog for some of the body language cues. Even if some of these cues are being displayed, it doesn’t necessarily mean a fight is ready to break out, but to be on the safe side owners should get involved. If two dogs are involved, even if one of them is not responsible for the behavior, both owners should respond by separating the dogs and keeping them separated.

Check out this website for charts on Canine Body Posture and Dog to Dog Communication:
http://www.topeka.org/pdfs/CanineBody_Language.pdf

Check out this website for an ASPCA article about Canine Body Language:
http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/50/Canine-Body-Language.aspx

Q – If one dog snaps at another, are they considered aggressive?
A – No, that is the dog’s way of showing that they do not like the attention of another dog. It’s their way of saying “leave me alone”, “stop sniffing my butt” or “I don’t like you”. Older dogs and mother dogs will snap when training puppies in proper social behavior, usually there is no contact only snapping at air close to the other dog.

However, in a situation where the dog is tolerating a behavior by another dog that won’t stop and then finally snaps, it is a warning, but it may be the final warning. It is also most likely that the dog already gave some other cues of “leave me alone” that another dog or person did not pick up on. (Turning head away, actually walking away, backing away, tail low and between legs, hiding behind a person or object). Regardless of the reason, a snap needs to be taken seriously and acted upon immediately. Remove dog from the situation and leave the park if necessary, even if you are not ready to leave. Be respectful of your dog’s mood, he may have had enough because of being bothered.

Pending on how intense the situation seems, both owners and dogs should consider calling it a day and leave the park. Also, if this situation would involve a dog and a child or another person, the dog owner needs to respond immediately and leave. It is impossible to describe every situation and not all body language cues apply to all dogs, so err on the side of caution pending on the dogs and owners involved.

Snapping can be considered an aggressive behavior, if it is the first thing the dog does when being approached or greeted by another dog, child, or person. If your dog exhibits this type of behavior, they should not be in a dog park.

If there is an incident between your dog and another, be sure both owners file an incident report with the Parks & Recreation office or animal control officer. Click here to download.

Q - Are you limiting the number of families / Paw Passes? 
A - No, after our first succesful year, we are not limiting the number of Bark Park members.

 

All information, fees and rules subject to change without notice.

 

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Rules, Hours, Fees, etc. subject to change without notice.