A Discussion on Rules…

Dog Park - Entry

So, the park is coming along…  and I know that everyone is champing at the bit to bring their dogs down and party! Just a little more patience, please.   😛

However, there have been a few who apparently can’t help themselves and have to find something to complain about (yep, you know who you are!)

The most recent instance is someone who felt that, because of the park rules, “the joy & excitement has been sucked out of this by so much policing“.

So, let’s discuss the rules.

Most of these rules are just simple statements of information or things which should be common sense. However…  As Voltair once said “Common sense is not so common…” or as Asimov put it: “It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”





  1. The Town of Chelmsford (or its agent) shall not be liable for any injury or damage caused by dogs or handlers. Owners/handlers are responsible for any injuries caused by the dogs under their control. The dog park area is for dogs, owners/handlers and those accompanying them.
  • Well, this one seems pretty obvious. The park is on land owned by the town of Chelmsford. The town graciously allowed us 2 acres to build the park. In today’s litigious society, a disclaimer like this is, unfortunately, needed – and, I assume, was probably insisted on by town counsel.
  1. Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
  • Again, pretty obvious… just a statement telling folks that they should only be here when the sun is in the sky… 😎
  1. Dogs are to be kept on a leash (not exceeding 6 feet) when outside the dog park fenced in areas.
    Do not have your dog unleashed between your vehicle and the gated entrance.
    Leash and unleash your dog inside the dog park, not in the double gated holding area.
    Do not open the outside gate if the inside gate is open.
    Be patient.
  • Ok, so this one is actually necessary as has already been demonstrated and the park is not even open yet!
    Someone stopped by on one of our work days, with a very small dog. In the parking lot, the owner let the dog out of the car, without a leash and started walking toward the gate. The dog ran ahead…  if someone had been in a car and was backing up, there is no chance at all that they would have seen the dog. Additionally, Chelmsford has a leash law. Outside of the park, your dog MUST be on a leash. This spells it out.
  • It goes on to explain how to go in and out of the park with your dog. Yes, this might be overkill in spelling things out…  until that time when someone doesn’t understand the concept of an airlock and/or decides to open both gates at once, letting their own, or someone else’s dog into the lot or street. Since this is now spelled out on the park entrance, everyone now has been instructed, even if they have never been to a dog park before.
  1. Owners/handlers must carry leash at all times.
  • If your dog misbehaves, have your leash ready. plain and simple.
  1. No animals other than dogs permitted.
  • Maybe it seems obvious…  but some people don’t actually think…
  1. Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted within the park. Handlers must be 16 years of age or older.
  • So yes…   this one is going to raise some ire from folks who have dogs AND small children. Sorry, though, the park is for dogs. It is a place where owners can bring their dogs to play with other dogs. There are lots of dogs who might not get along with small children (see below).
  • If you have a small child, you can not be paying full attention to both the child and the dog. Also, your hands will probably be full of child and you would not be able to quickly respond if your dog needs attention.
  • Little children under the age of 6 really don’t understand dog signals. They might get injured by a dog – either by accident (big dogs, small children – bump, fall) or because they didn’t understand the warnings and ran up to the dog who was not ready for such.
  • Children over 6 but under 12 are just not physically capable of restraining the dogs, if necessary.  Thus, they require an adult to be present…
  • BUT, you say….   *MY CHILD*…   doesn’t matter. One rule for all. It makes things so much easier.
  1. Scoop your poop! Owner/handler must immediately clean up after their dog.
    Owner/handler must have in their possession and adequate number of bags, or other appropriate device, for removal of their dog’s waste.
  • Again, pretty obvious… just a statement reminding folks to clean up. But if you forget to bring a bag, we do have some available…  Just, please help us keep the supply with a small donation? 😀
  1. A maximum of two dogs per owner/ handler are allowed in the park at one time.
  • More than two dogs, and just like the children mentioned above, you are probably not paying enough attention.
  1. Aggressive dogs are not allowed.
    If your dog becomes rough or unruly or exhibits aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs, leash him or her and leave the park immediately.

    • Dogs with a history of aggressive behavior, as determined by the animal control officer, will have park privileges revoked.
    • Dogs must display current license and must be properly inoculated, healthy (no contagious conditions, and parasite free. In the event of a dog bite or injury the owner/handler must exchange current tag info and phone numbers.
    • All bites must be reported to Animal Control
  • OK… This one needs to be spelled out because if we ever do (unfortunately) need to have a dog removed or banned from the park, no one can say “well, I didn’t know”, and we make sure people know who to call and at what number.
  1. Female dogs in any stage of heat are not permitted in the park.
  • Some people need things spelled out.
  1.  No puppies under 4 months of age are allowed in the park.
    Puppies under this age are not fully vaccinated and are vulnerable to disease and injury.
  • Some people need things spelled out.
  1. Do not bring strollers, carriages, baby carriers, bicycles, skate boards, scooters, children’s toys, or dog toys into the park.
  • Another one that seems to get people upset.  Don’t bring toys into the park.
    Say a dog came in with his favorite toy…  another dog grabs it and runs off…
    First, the owner now has to chase down the second dog to get the toy back before they leave.
    Second, the dog who lost his toy might become aggressive (Grrrr…. That’s MY TOY!)
    Third, the dog who took the toy might become aggressive (Ruff, you have a toy, I want it!)
    So…  plain and simple, spelled out – don’t bring toys in.
  1. Owner/handler must repair all holes dug by their dog under their supervision.
  • Explaining the behavior expected of the owner
  1. Owner/handler must be in verbal control of their dog at all times.
  2. Owner/handler must remain in the park and keep their dog within view at all times.
  • Some people need things spelled out.
  1. No commercial use of the dog park is allowed without prior agreement, including dog training classes, doggie daycare, dog walkers and/or advertisements.
  • This is town land, maintained by volunteers from the CDA. You get to use it for your personal use, for free.  Is it really fair for someone to run a paid training lesson or use our equipment for their own commercial use without some sort of compensation? If you’d like to use the park for some professional/commercial use – great! We have a separate area which you can rent for reasonable rates.
  1. The dog park will be closed periodically throughout the year for maintenance.
  • Again, pretty obvious… just a statement explaining that we may occasionally close the park for use while we fix things up.

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