HAMMONTON - It has been said that every dog has his day, and that was certainly true for the dogs of Hammonton on Saturday as they enjoyed the opening of the town’s first park just for them.
“It means everything, we worked really hard,” said Shelley Weckerly, president of the Hammonton Dog Park Volunteers.
The dog park was about four years in the making and there were moments when Weckerly thought it was not going to happen. Yet, as the ribbon was cut, excitement and relief seemed to fill the air. Weckerly was so overcome with emotion that she was moved to tears as she tried to give a few words of thanks after the ribbon cutting.
Dog owners were excited about what the new dog park would mean for their canine friends.
“She is an only dog, so it’s nice to have some place for her to come and be another dog,” said Mario Porco, who brought his 1½-year-old dog Bailey.
Admittance to the park is not limited to residents of Hammonton. As long as your dog is registered with the town, all dogs are welcome. It is important for dog owners to register their dogs with the town because when they do, they receive a FOB which opens the gates to the park.
“A FOB is a little electronic device that transmits to the lock,” said Dan Bachalis, a dog park volunteer and former councilman. The FOB is connected to your registration to ensure that you dog is up-to-date on its vaccinations. If your registration expires, the device will no longer work.
“I think one of the best things about the park is that it helps us to reduce our carbon footprint as it will help save on travel,” said Bachalis. Before the Hammonton Dog Park opened, the nearest dog park was more than a half-an-hour away by car.
The Hammonton Dog Park is located behind the soccer fields of the Hammonton Recreational Center off of Moss Mill Road. The dog park is divided into small and large dog sections with water fountains provided in both sections.
The park is open from dawn until dusk and all dogs must be leashed as they enter and leave the park. But once inside, they are free to run. Dog owners must clean up after their dogs immediately. Bags are provided in each section for owners’ convenience. A full list of rules is located on the gates.
For more information on the park, please visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hammontondogpark/.