Connecticut Dog Parks Ashley and I have Visited

A couple of years ago my retriever Ashley and I started visiting dog parks outside of our hometown of Hamden.
We felt we should be able to discuss "the competition" and the advantages/disadvantages compared to our beloved
Hamden Dog Park at Bassett. The Dog Parks are listed in order of distance from Hamden. This in no way is a
comprehensive or scientific survey. These are my personal opinions and do not represent any group.
Length of fenced area measured using the Google Earth Ruler Tool.

You can scroll down though most of the dog parks we visited or hop all of them using these links:

Hamden - Waite Street
New Haven - Saint Ronan Street
New Haven - Edgewood Park
New Haven - Union Street
New Haven - State Street
New Haven - Fort Hale
West Haven Dog Park
Branford - Our Dog Park
Branford - Youngs Pond
Wallingford - Bark Park
Derby - Ansonia - Coon Hollow
Cheshire Dog Park
Guilford Dog Park
Southbury Dog Park
Norwich - Pawsitive
Conclusions

Yes Virginia, There are five Dog Parks in New Haven!



Hamden Dog Park at Bassett - Waite Street - Photos taken: 2007-2013

[IMAGE]

Like almost all dog parks Hamden has a double gate for the main area.
There is separate entrance for the small dog area. Ashley is waiting halfway in.

[IMAGE]

Looking across the park from the gate. Trash cans are all around park.
Note some tree stumps were left intentionally for dogs who must go on the
first object they see. Currently large stones do that job. Lots of trees standing.
No dog has complained about running on the gravel surface since opening in 2002.
There is some dirt surface as well which can get muddy in the Spring.

[IMAGE]

An anonymous doner made the first hefty waterbowl stand having noticed bowls
tip and wander. Now there are two triple bowl and two single bowl stands.

[IMAGE]

The Hamden Dog Park is maintained mostly by volunteers such as this group spreading gravel.
The City opens the large gate and dumps the gravel inside, a work party is scheduled to spread it.

Score Card:
Pluses: Benches, Trees, Small Dog Area, Water Faucet, Active volunteer support group.
Minuses:
Length 328 feet



New Haven - Saint Ronan Street (Across from #315, in front of Divinity School) - May 2013

[IMAGE]

The lovely iron fence and stonework were built long before the dog park.
A dog owner told me to get out you must hold your dog, open the latch (which
is on the outside), push open the heavy gate, keep back the dogs pushing past you,
get your dog and yourself down the stone steps, and close before a dog escapes.
I noticed anyone standing nearby offers to help you exit/enter the park.

[IMAGE]

Looking South from the gate. Note some trees inside the fence.

Score Card:
Pluses: Benches, Trees, Well attended, Small Dog Area.
Minuses: Single gate, Barking limit.
Bring your own water.
Length 213 feet



New Haven - Edgewood Park - Sept 2013

[IMAGE]

Entrance. The cute sign is on most New Haven Dog Parks.

[IMAGE]

Looking from entrance across field. Note poop bag dispenser (empty).

[IMAGE]

Looking from far corner back toward entrance.

[IMAGE]

When I returned in 2014 I spotted two dogs in the park. After they left seven more arrived!
Chatting with the owners this was unusually busy. Note one table is now inside the park.

[IMAGE]

The Dog Park is hidden from traveled streets, behind the Pavilion and Skateboard Park.

Score Card:
Pluses: Benches, Trees.
Minuses: Locked dispensors empty, No small dog area, Low usage.
Bring your own water.
Length 232 feet



New Haven - Union Street - August 2013

[IMAGE]

Entrance to Large Dog Area after parking along Union St.
Locked poop bag dispenser is empty but the dog owners leave a supply of plastic bags.

[IMAGE]

Looking South, this is a long narrow Dog Park! Note many benches, some with signs
indicating doner supplied. The fence and bushes to the right buffer the railroad tracks and city.
Most of the surface is gravel which is good for all weather. Dirt surface at the far end.

[IMAGE]

The Small Dog Area is on the South end with its own entrance.

[IMAGE]

Added when I returned in 2014 was A Doggie Water Fountain!

[IMAGE]

The park widens here as the fence juts out making a Scenic Overlook. You can see
the city sky line and if you look down you can see the railroad tracks well below street level.
Surprisingly quiet in spite of trains and city traffic. I was there when Acela trains passed
in both directions, other than one spot causing a clunk for every car it was not that loud.

[IMAGE]

The Dog Park is on less traveled Union Street. Just around the corner on busy Chapel Street
the Comcast building has posters on 14 windows directing passer-bys to the Dog Park!

[IMAGE]

Score Card:
Pluses: Benches, Trees, Small Dog Area, View of City, Water Fountain, Active volunteer support group.
Minuses: locked dispensors empty.
Length 380 feet



New Haven - New 1020 State Street - July 2014

[IMAGE]

I had once seen two people with dogs inside the fence of this triangular park.
I could not imagine this was a real dog park. But it is! I returned months later and took photos.

[IMAGE]

From this viewpoint you can see the standard New Haven Park sign,
"Bark less - Wag More." The single iron gate is the entrance.

[IMAGE]

With Ashley and I inside you can see the City supplied bag dispensor, empty of course.
There is a trash can and trees. Cute park that fits in the middle of busy intersection.

Score Card:
Pluses: Trees, grass surface is raised thus may not get muddy.
Minuses: locked dispensors empty, no benches.
Bring your own water.
Length 73 feet



New Haven - Fort Hale Park (East Shore) August - 2013

June 2015 - Looks well kept and two small dogs plus owners inside.

[IMAGE]

Entrance to Dog Park from Picnic area to the South, note easy hill.
Large Dog Area on left, Small Dog Area on right.

[IMAGE]

Entrance to Large Dog Area.

[IMAGE]

Entrance to Small Dog Area.

[IMAGE]

Score Card:
Pluses: Benches, Trees, view of L.I. Sound.
Minuses: Locked dispensors empty.
Bring your own water.
Length 186 feet



West Haven - Dog Park on Educational Way - September 2013
Updated October 2016

[IMAGE]

Entrance to Dog Park from parking lot.
Note the proximity to the tennis courts, they share a fence. Since I was last there they added
a tarp on two sides of the tennis courts, I presume to discourage the dogs from barking at the players.
The only trash can is dark blue on the outside of the gate. There is a house next to the dog park.

[IMAGE]

When we returned in 2016 there were a few changes. The black tarps are gone
A new fence was added. The grass was greener. There are no signs, but the fence
seems to enclose a small Dog Area. It also puts space between the Dogs and Tennis Courts.

[IMAGE]

Looking from the corner along the long leg of the "L" shaped park. There is a locked
bag dispenser, dog owners have stuck bags and toys in the hole. When it was muddy a dog owner
opened that gate to the tennis courts so the dogs could run off the mud on thier paws.

Score Card:
Pluses: A bench.
Minuses: No trees, Locked dispensors empty, Closeness to tennis courts.
Bring your own water.
Length 245 feet



Branford - Our Dog Park 421 Shore Rd - July 2014

[IMAGE]

Entrance to "Our Dog Park" from the parking lot.

[IMAGE]

Looking toward the rear.

[IMAGE]

Looking toward the parking lot.

Score Card:
Pluses: Several chairs, Agility equipment, active volunteer group.
Several signs announcing a Park Cleanup the following weekend.
Minuses: No Small Dog Area, no shade inside fence, didn't see a bag dispensor.
Bring your own water.

Length 135 feet



Branford - Youngs Pond Park on Blackstone Ave - May 2013

[IMAGE]

Entrance.
This multi purpose park does not have a gate, here it is open to the Highway 146.
The wall you see extends the length of the park on the street side. I didn't let Ashley off lead,
if she saw a squirrel she could leap the wall in a single bound. I trust her, but not quite that much!

[IMAGE]

This is the pond. In the Spring I've been told dogs swim here. In the summer it turns green.

[IMAGE]

Looking North from the parking lot. The field has only one tree so these dog owners
brought folding chairs and sat in the shade. There are paths and trees outside the field.

[IMAGE]

The poop bag dispensers are full! Sign says the bag useage is higher than can be maintained.
The rules say if you bring a dog bowl you must remove it when you leave.

Score Card:
Pluses: A bench, Locked dispensors full, PortaPotty, Big Park.
Minuses: No fences thus no Small Dog Area.
Bring your own water and bowl. Take bowl home when you leave.

Length 657 feet



Wallingford - Bark Park on Quinnipiac Ave - Oct 2015

[IMAGE]

Sign shows the official name.
A lovely new Dog Park! The planning crew visited Hamden's Dog Park to ask for advice.
They did a good job implementing some of our suggestions combined with other ideas.
Photo taken from the large parking lot and shows the type and height of the fence.

[IMAGE]

View looking toward left side, Ashley found friends immediately.
Note how they used a tree trunk! Park is surrounded on three sides by trees

[IMAGE]

View looking in toward rear.

[IMAGE]

View looking out from the rear of the main park.

[IMAGE]

View looking out from the rear of the small dog area.

[IMAGE]

They have two locked bag dispensors.

[IMAGE]

They have several IKEA bag dispensors.

[IMAGE]

Sign with rules. I'm not sure about the seventh one down.
"No more than 2 dogs per person." I've seen responsible owners handle 4 small dogs at once.

Ashley and I were very impressd!

Score Card:
Pluses: Several benches, Several tables, Locked dispensors full, IKEA dispensers full,
Large small dog area, Big Park.
Minuses:
Bring your own water
Length ? feet (not yet on Google Earth)



Derby - Ansonia - Coon Hollow Road - Oct 2013

[IMAGE]

The sign shows - this Dog Park is shared by Ansonia and Derby.
It is new when we visited.

[IMAGE]

Entrance is a double gate to the main area. The small dog area is entered via
a gate just inside the main section. One can see this park has a lot of agility equipment!
The park is in a small valley between two tree covered hills.

[IMAGE]

The Small Dog Area has tetter-totter, weave poles, and fire hydrant. And one of the five benchs.

[IMAGE]

The main area has a tire, culvert, ramp, weave poles, and a fire hydrant.
The entire park is grass covered, it appears to be raised enough for drainage.

[IMAGE]

Ashley checking out the pipe. The culvert and the tire appear to be recycled city property.

[IMAGE]

An interesting piece of equipment. I noticed all equipment appears well made with concrete bases.

[IMAGE]

Water supply and one of two picnic tables outside the fence.
The faucet is above ground which may require it be shut off in the Winter.

[IMAGE]

The Dog Park is easy to see but on a less known street.

Score Card:
Pluses: Five benches, Locked dispensors full, lots of equipment, Small Dog area, Water faucet.
Minuses: No shade.

Length 253 feet



Cheshire - 1120 Waterbury Road (CT Route 70) - Apr 2016

[IMAGE]

Main entrance gate with gates to small dog area on right and large dog area on left.
Bins for human trash and recycleables in the entrance area.

[IMAGE]

Large Dog area is huge! Long running area. Ashley was soon befriended.

[IMAGE]

The Small Dog Area is larger than many dog parks. It has benches.

[IMAGE]

The Gazebo is the only shade. People fill water bowls and place them at base of the gazebo.
Bag dispensers and wastebins were numerous. Several benches.

[IMAGE]

Agility equippment was set up on the far side. There was some additional equipment by the entrance.

[IMAGE]

The fence was unusual. Posts are supported by a rectangle on the ground, every other post is weighted.

Score Card:
Pluses: Very large fenced area, Benches, Dispensors, Agility equipment, Small Dog area, .
Minuses: Little shade.
Bring your own water.
Length approx 362 feet



Guilford - Nut Plains Road (no number) - Jul 2016

[IMAGE]

Main entrance with gates to small and large dog area.
.

[IMAGE]

Rule Number 12 is the strictest people age restriction I've seen so far.

[IMAGE]

Looking from the entrance into the Dog Park. There is an interesting
touch of leaving a classic New England Stone Wall passing through!

[IMAGE]

Looking from far fence toward the entrance.

[IMAGE]

Looking into the Small Dog Area which is nearly complete.

[IMAGE]

A clever way to have water when far from the main.
One jug of water serves both halves of the park. Ashley really liked this water.

Score Card:
Pluses: Very large fenced area, Benches, Paid Bag Dispensors, Small Dog area, Water, Trees.
Minuses:

Length ? feet (not yet on Google Earth)



Due to file size restrictions the two more distant Dog Parks are here:

Southbury and Norwich Dog Parks


Conclusions

Most all these Dog Parks have the basics needed to be successful: fence, double gate entrance, poop bag dispensers.
What many need is a strong volunteer organization to fill the dispensors, bring water to the bowls, maintain the surface.
Most cities will stop doing these tasks within a couple of years and the dog owners will take over the jobs if encouraged.
The volunteer organization will end up supplying poop bags, fixing benches, listening to complaints, negotiating for trees,
working with the City, etc. Note I didn't list lack of a water faucet as a minus, the users can bring water if none is provided.

Send mail to Leo by clicking HERE.