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Local

Long awaited dog park opens in DeKalb

Lisa Small, interim director for the DeKalb Park District, holds open a gate for Mitsy, owned by John and Sarah Tobias, on Friday at the newly-opened dog park at Katz Park in DeKalb.
Lisa Small, interim director for the DeKalb Park District, holds open a gate for Mitsy, owned by John and Sarah Tobias, on Friday at the newly-opened dog park at Katz Park in DeKalb.

DeKALB – After a five-year lobbying campaign, dog owners in the DeKalb area finally have a safe place for their dogs to run off-leash.

“I have been saying for years that DeKalb County needed a dog park,” said Peggy Carey of DeKalb. “We are very happy not to have to drive to St. Charles anymore.”

Carey and her husband, Brad, brought their dogs Roo, a miniature Australian shepherd, and Daisy, a mixed breed, to the new public dog park at Katz Park on Dresser Road for its grand opening Friday. Roo and Daisy joined eight others who ran freely around a softball field that the DeKalb Park District last month voted to allow to be converted to a dog park on a trial basis.

“With the fence already here, there were almost no start-up costs,” said Lisa Small, interim director of the park district. She estimated that converting the softball field to a dog park cost less than $2,000, primarily for short lengths of fencing and gates to make the field escape-proof.

Small brought her own cairn terrier, Buddy, to the inaugural off-leash dog event at what dog owners are calling Katz Dog Park.

The dog park, which is a little more than an acre in size, will be sunrise to sunset like the rest of Katz Park, although Small said the park district will experiment with leaving the field’s lights on for dog owners until 8 p.m. during the winter months.

If the dog park is well-received by the community, Small said the park district may consider converting the park back to a softball field and opening a larger dog park of 3 to 4 acres at another site in the future.

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