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Doggone It: No Park Yet for Pooches

Schmidt Park was suggested as a site for a dog park, but restrictions and locations doomed the idea.

On one hand, could have provided a good site for an off-leash dog park, as it wasn't located along any busy streets.

However, that was probably the only plus the site had going for it.

The Parks and Recreation Board Monday discussed the viability of such a park at the neighborhood site, but it became quickly apparent that a lack of parking and its small size would keep the park out of the running as an exercise area for dogs.

Parks Director Craig Anderson pointed out that Minooka Park in Waukesha had such a park, but met minimum criteria for acreage.

"There are actually two areas — one that's about three acres for small dogs, and the other is about 15 acres for dogs 30 pounds and over," he explained. Schmidt Park is 6.5 acres.

In addition, was also too small to accommodate such an area.

The question of having a dog park has been brought up in the past, but Anderson said that the only area that the potential for a park exists at Park Arthur, in the southeastern corner of the city And that could only happen if more land was acquired for the park.

Other "natural" areas like Engel Conservation Area on Henneberry Drive and Racine Avenue, and the newly-purchased  are also not likely, as the intent of those properties was for conservation. Having dogs roam those areas would compromise that intent.

Dogs are not allowed in city parks, but the recreational trail does allow dogs on leash.

Quinn June 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
What's the problem with having dogs allowed in the parks on lease? I find myself not being able to visit Muskego parks on my nightly walks because dogs are not allowed. That means, when I take my dog on a walk, I'm not allowed either.
Muskego Mike June 12, 2012 at 04:20 PM
If you ever visit Minooka Park, the first thing that you notice is how much cash the dog people bring to this park. (You have to pay to use the park). The second thing is that people and dogs in Minooka Park get along perfectly. Plenty of dog owners use the extensive trail system and the off leash area. They even allow horses to use the trails. I've never noticed a poop problem on the trails or in the off leash area. The workers at Minooka Park patrol the park and instruct people on the trails to leash their dogs. If you have never been to Minooka Park with your dog, I would recommend a visit. Maybe Denise could reach out to the city of Muskego to find out why dogs are so restricted in our city. Denise has stated that birds, nesting in the conservation areas prevent me from walking a leashed dog on the conservation properties. What bird are we saving? Is there a spotted owl that cannot procreate if it sees a dog? People are fine to walk past this bird’s nest but the sight of a leashed Black Labrador will terminate this special bird species. It would be a great piece to help educate me about bird habitat that prevents Muskego residents from taking a stroll with the family pet in these conservation areas.
Denise Konkol (Editor) June 12, 2012 at 06:36 PM
The use of conservancy land is tied into grant dollars received from the DNR and other organizations with the stipulation of how the land is to be used. I love walking my dogs off leash, but also understand that in a protected and environmentally valuable area where there are ground-nesting birds, dogs don't fit into the mix. In addition, as we've stated in the article, there is a minimum acreage for dog friendly areas. What Minooka has is a lot of land, two separate fenced in areas, additional penned areas to walk into to unleash the dogs as well as trash and water. I would also feel like taking the dogs into a great wooded area but not letting them off leash is akin to taking the kids to Great America without letting them out of the car. I have retrievers as well and they're happiest when they can run and exercise. They can walk on a leash on the rec trails, in my neighborhood, etc. I don't feel they're deprived in general but I agree, I'd love them to be able to take a swim at something other than a boat launch. I am surprised we haven't heard from people who feel dogs on leash in the parks are a huge liability for the city, as best laid plans can go awry. (And Mike for responsible dog owners like us, it's generally the worst that spoil it for everyone.) Dog bites dog or person = city can be sued more likely than the other owner. For the most part, I have seen dogs in the parks no matter what the signs say, but it's generally at the owner's peril.
DB June 12, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Would the site on Tess Corners Dr. that was recently proposed as a cemetery be a reasonable location? It would mean having the city buy more land for park space, but it would keep the area as green space, thereby not adding to the flooding problems. It might also draw interest from Frankin, Hales Corners, and New Berlin as a destination more appealing than Minooka. It isn't quite as big as Minooka, but the large dog area there is really larger than it needs to be.
Denise Konkol (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 03:29 AM
The city doesn't own that land, unlike park space. Craig Anderson also confirmed what I was 99% certain of. Liability in the parks for dogs 'on leash' has been enough of a deterrent for them to keep dogs out. Very simply, people don't pick up after their dogs and they can bite, no matter how sure you can be that they won't. I'm with Muskego Mike that I have dogs that are social and friendly, but until there's a way to guarantee there won't be any problems (and quite frankly that someone's kid won't run up and surprise my pups with a bear hug), no dogs are allowed.
DB June 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM
If we don't want to buy more park land, then how about the Mooreland park? We can get rid of that skateboard park (don't tell me that's not a liability) that only attracts punks leaving their trash everywhere BUT the garbage cans. It already has a parking lot, and 2 sides that could be fenced in for small and large dogs. With Park Arthur going in, there are other locations for sports fields.
G. Whitehaus June 14, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I used to have a go-kart. Lots of people still have go-karts. Maybe we should ask the city to buy some land, pave it so we have a place to use our go-karts. But instead we can operate them on our own property and the city doesnt cost any body any thing. Same holds for dogs.
Gregory Kluck June 14, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I've been at the skate park. I've never seen trash laying around. BTW, I'm not a skater
Denise Konkol (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Moorland is actually going to see further development in the next year. Volleyball courts, a splash pad and improvements made to the skate park - which does see a good share of use.

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