A local movement is gaining support on Facebook, and county and state officials are taking notice.
The Perry Hall Dog Park Facebook group, boasting more than 100 members, is dedicated to getting a dog park built in the Perry Hall area. Interested residents have held an old-fashioned face-to-face meeting, too, and lobbied Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who joined the Facebook group. Marks has agreed to help arrange a meeting between the group's leaders and recreation and parks officials.
The group's second planning meeting is scheduled for July 25.
State Delegate Eric Bromwell posted on Facebook that he would provide "as much support on the state level as possible" and included a picture of his Plott hound rescue dog. Residents even entered a national contest to win a dog park—an effort that was not successful.
The movement started in April when Patch pet columnist wrote a . After commenters asked if a dog park could be located in Perry Hall, she started the Facebook page.
"It was sort of a way to gather people who wanted this," Zaluzney said. "I wrote , saying maybe we should have one in Perry Hall and that really got a response. We went from 8 [members on Facebook] to 40 in a few days."
Not only does a dog park benefit dogs, she pointed out, but having one in the community increases home sale prices and becomes a selling point.
"It increases the quality of living," she said.
One of the group's leaders is Jason Danaher, who lives in Dundalk and brings his German shorthaired pointer for walks at .
He said the loosely organized group would be willing to help fundraise for the dog park, but they want it to be a county-owned and operated park. Zaluzney says she would like to see the county provide the basic park, and dog owners could fundraise for increased amenities.
Baltimore County operates a dog park in Reisterstown.
“We’re really pushing for Honeygo,” Danaher said. “To me that’s a convenient spot with access to I-95 and I-695.” He also believes it has enough parking.
But Barry F. Williams, the county director of recreation and parks, is not convinced Honeygo has adequate parking.
“We’ve been looking at that—I saw how crowded it can be, particularly with parking,” Williams said.
He said the county is also looking at Joppa Trail Park, Forge View and Gough parks. “I had not thought about Mount Vista,” he said when asked if it would be a possibility, and then mused that it, too, might be.
Williams used to own Dobermans, but no longer owns dogs due to scheduling constraints. He said he is sympathetic to dog owners, but the economy is challenging for local governments.
“There’s not an awful lot of money,” he said. “The dog park is not that expensive. It’s the parking. We have to be real thoughtful about the planning.”
"I think the big hurdle is funding toward it,” Danaher said. “I think it’s something that is going to get accomplished.”
"I'd like to see when a county is planning a park, they include a dog park," Zaluzney said, adding that dog owners are taxpayers, too.
“We’d be willing to work with folks,” Williams said. “Their interests and concerns are not going unheeded.”
Editor Emily Kimball contributed to this report.