Clovis pups parade at dog park grand opening

From left to right: Councilmember Jose Flores, Mayor Pro Tem Drew Bessinger, Clovis resident Josie McGuire and Public Utilities Director Scott Redelfs cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of Clovis’s first ever dog park, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. CHRISTIAN MATTOS/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

Dogs of all breeds and sizes gathered Saturday at Sierra Bicentennial Park for the grand opening of the first ever dog park in Clovis.

From petitioning for public support to attending city council meetings, residents have been waiting for this dog park, said Mayor Pro Tem Drew Bessinger.

“I’d like to acknowledge the community because quite frankly, if you hadn’t been pushing us, prodding us and sometimes pulling our choke chain to get this done, it probably wouldn’t have gotten done this fast,” Bessinger said in his welcoming statement. “Our four-legged citizens deserve their day in the sun literally and figuratively, and that’s why we’re here today.”

Bessinger and Clovis resident Josie McGuire cut the ribbon at the entrance of the dog park, and people unleashed their pups to roam free inside.

McGuire recalled standing outside of shops like PetSmart and Petco with her grandchildren and other community members, where they gathered more than 2,000 signatures in support of a dog park.

“You don’t know how excited I am,” McGuire said. “I feel like jumping up and down.”

The set-up at Sierra Bicentennial Park is a temporary dog park, though city parks manager Eric Aller noted that it may become permanent as the city looks into its dog park master plans.

The dog park, which will be open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk, consists of two fenced areas: one for small dogs under 30 pounds, and another for larger dogs weighing 30 pounds or more. Outside of the fenced area is a water fountain for owners with a dog bowl at the bottom for their pets to use.

Attached to the fences in both areas are containers dispensing “MuttMitts,” or doggie waste bags, which should encourage owners to pick up after their dogs while visiting the park.

“This is [an] honor system. People are supposed to pick up after themselves,” said Scott Redelfs, the public utilities director in Clovis.

Attached to the entrance is a sign of rules for owners and their pets’ behavior, which Aller said was compiled after surveying parks in the area.

“We’ve looked at common amenities, we looked at dog park rules from a multitude of dog parks and we just kind of tried to combine the best that we saw from everything,” Aller said.

Along with the many pups in attendance were Alexis Gomez from Fenrir Kennels providing training demonstrations, and vendors PetSmart and Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center with treats and information available to dog owners.

Redelfs said that this location should sustain the public’s needs until the city is able to determine permanent sites for new dog parks. They are hoping to build three more permanent dog parks at different locations throughout the community, and every city park is an option, Redelfs said.

“We just hope [this location] gets well used, that people enjoy it and that this is an amenity to the community,” Redelfs said. “If it’s like this every weekend, it’s going to be a great investment for the community.”