Committee seeks members, support for fenced-in, off leash dog park in Brookfield

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Brookfield-Volunteers are being sought to help bring "Kanine Kingdom," an all-volunteer run, fenced-in dog park, become a reality in Brookfield.

Anyone interested in participating on the committee known as "Supporters of Kanine Kingdom," (SOKK) can email klwolff@earthlink.net or call Keith Wolff at 203.740.2031. SOKK presented their ideas to the Conservation Commission at 7PM on Wed., June 1, where it passed 4-1. However, a new location is now being sought.

"Our neighboring towns have great dog parks, and there are over 1,200 registered dog owners in Brookfield," said Wolff--an enthusiastic dog owner and resident of the town.

"Brookfield deserves one too."

Locally, neighboring towns Ridgefield and New Milford both have such an amenity, as do towns from Maine to Florida. As empty-nesters and those without children can attest, many Brookfield dog owners support the idea of their town having one as well.

Common Q&As about "Kanine Kingdom" - a fenced in, off leash Dog Park in Brookfield:

Q: There are Happy Landings and the Gurski Open Space Trails in town already.
Why does Brookfield need a dog park?
A: There are over 1,200 registered dog owners in Brookfield with an estimated additional 1,000 unregistered dog owners. Although Happy Landings, Williams Park and other open space areas provide enjoyable on-leash activities, there arecurrently  no parks or open space areas where dogs can be legally allowed off-leash and socialize with other dogs--allowing their owners to socialize or relax as well. There are also currently no recreational areas which meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities) standards, and an off leash, fenced in dog park could be created to accomodate the needs of the town's disabled. It could be a great addition during another brutal winter such as last year's as well.
Q: How much will this cost the taxpayers/Town of Brookfield? 
A: Zero dollars to the town.  SOKK - Supporters of Kanine Kingdom -will be a 501 C3 nonprofit organization that will fund the park through private donations.  With so many dog owners in town, we would also welcome any funding from the town, such as was received by Kids Kingdom.
Q: What if a dog bites someone--who is legally responsible? Won't having a dog park raise the town's insurance rates?
A: As anywhere else, at KK, dog owners are responsible for controlling their own dogs and assume liability for any bites or issues caused by their dogs. As long as the park rules are followed and enforced, the liability exposure would be similar to any other passive area recreational land use.  No additional insurance will be needed for this park.
Q: Who will build the fences, and do the ongoing maintenance as needed?
A: SOKK (Supporters of Kanine Kingdom) will solicit bids from several fencing companies. We have selected a fence design that is reflective of the rustic, agricultural heritage of our town's open space  properties.  A  reserve fund will be established as part of the overall fund-raising activities to address any maintenance issues as they occur.

Q: What about parking? 

A:The parking area will be improved for visitors to Kanine Kingdom.  A composite material will be applied to the area to avoid overly muddy parking areas and runoff. 
Q: Again-what if someone's car is broken into or dog stolen on the KK grounds? Can the town be held legally liable? 
A: Since the parking area would be located on town property, liability will be covered by the existing town insurance, as it is with all other town owned or town-donated property.

Q: Who will pick up after the dogs?
A: Kanine Kingdom, as all other area dog parks, will be a self-regulating community.  Formal park rules will be established, posted, and communicated to users and enforced.

Q: What if the dog owner just leaves the dog's droppings? Who cleans it up then, and who will pay for it?
A: Again, as at all other dog parks such as Newtown or New Milford, other dog owners will notify the at-fault owner to pick up the droppings.  If there is a pattern of behavior by this owner, he/she will be asked to leave and be prohibited from using the park. There will be a convenient waste disposal container with environmentally-friendly dog waste disposal bags for the convenience of users as well as clearly marked containers for the waste matter to go into.
Have more questions? Want to show your support? Join  SOKK and help us to get an off-leash dog park somewhere in Brookfield-- klwolff@earthlink.net or call Keith Wolff at 203.740.2031.

Susan E June 07, 2011 at 10:34 AM
Dog owners are going to police themselves? I don’t believe it. This past winter, the path into the Williams Park was almost impassable because there was so much dog waste. It was really, really gross. I believe the dog owners in Brookfield will keep doing what have always done. They will not pick up after their dogs. So, the dog park should be located somewhere that it will not matter as much when dog owners do not pick up the waste. A dog park should not be put up hill from where people are growing food at the Community Garden. Why not put a dog park at Happy Landings?
Steven DeVaux June 07, 2011 at 10:56 AM
The dog owners don't want that. Lyme infected ticks would be all over Rover in under 5 minutes. At least at Gurski someone mows occassionally. I just want to see how they are going to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Visually impaired people have a right to use it as well. Should prove interesting since Gurski is pubic property and they are required to comply with all ADA provisions. Let's wait and see what they propose.
Steven DeVaux June 07, 2011 at 11:23 AM
I have gone to the bank thousands of times in my lifetime but never witnessed a bank robbery. Doesn't mean they don't happen every day, now even moreso.
Susan E June 07, 2011 at 12:52 PM
Still waiting to hear why Happy Landings is not a better place to put a dog park.........
Susan E June 07, 2011 at 04:00 PM
I agree Willams Park is the most widely used park by dog owners. I walk my dog there frequently. However, by far most dog owners use the Route 25 entrance to Williams Park. The proposed location for the dog park would use the Gurski Property entrance which is about a mile away by car and a half mile walking from what is actually the most frequently used entrance across from the library. They are not the same thing. The proposed location is not shaded. It is an open sunny meadow that slopes downhill to a community garden where 67 families grow food. As for Happpy Landings not being mowed, who is going to mow the dog park if it is at the Gurski Property? Wouldn’t that be part of the general responsibilities of the volunteers to maintain the dog park no matter where it is located? I am a dog owner. I have not said I oppose a dog park. I would welcome a dog park in a location that does not endanger public health by exposing families to raw dog waste. This really makes so little sense I wonder what the people at Town Hall are thinking.
Steven DeVaux June 07, 2011 at 11:34 PM
I'm waiting to see anything that remotely resembles compliance with ADA. Remember the Dept of Justice holds the TITLEHOLDER responsible for compliance, in this case, the town of Brookfield. Any compliance lawsuits will land squarely at town hall. And they won't be able to get out of it by claiming to lease it or whatever. Those cases lost back in the 90's one after another. Brookfield continues to fail it's disabled, despite laws requiring them to comply. Most recent case in point, the Senior Center. Another case of a failure to be included in the 10 year plan of conservation and development.
Steven DeVaux June 07, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Sue, you assume they are. Based on recent events it apparently a good question to ask.
keith wolff June 08, 2011 at 12:31 AM
@Susan E, I agree that over the winter, the trails were very bad but your analogy as to what the behavior of dog owners at an enclosed park will be make little sense. Have you visited a dog park in this area- New Milford, Ridgefield or New Fairfield? Please do so before making these types of comments- yes there is an occasional situation where an owner has not picked up but it happens rarely- and if it does, other dog owners will either notify the offending partner or clean it up themselves. Walking on a trail at Williams Park in the winter with considerable snow accumulation is a completely different situation that an enclosed park During the winter, dog owners should be considerate and clean up but to paint dog owners in a park the same way is ludicrous.
keith wolff June 08, 2011 at 12:48 AM
There are multiple reasons why Happy Landing is not as good a location as Gurski 1-Parking- it's more limited and yes it could potentially be expanded but remember that it is a state road and we would need to go thru the approval process 2- I believe Wen touched on this but there is a large area where drainage is poor where the park would be placed 3-The entrance would need to be improved to allow safer exiting and entering 4-there are many more residential homes in this area vs. Gurski
keith wolff June 08, 2011 at 01:02 AM
@Susan E What amount of dog waste not picked up in the park would be needed to contaminate the gardens- and also traveling over 100 ft? I would welcome a dialog with the Lions Club to discuss an appropriate distance between the 2
Susan E June 08, 2011 at 12:47 PM
If are asking how much raw dog waste is acceptable to have on people's food, the answer is zero. There is no acceptable amount of unnecessary exposure to e. coli and sickness. The majority of the fecal impact of a dog park would start in the parking lot and continue for several hundred feet . So, there is NO SAFE DISTANCE between the Community Garden and the proposed dog park. Most of the dog waste would be left on the access path that directly abuts the Community Garden before the dogs even get to the park. There is no buffer. So, all the dog waste will wash into the garden and onto people’s food. It is hard to believe that anyone who experienced the disgusting amount of dog waste that was left at the entrance to Williams Park last winter would consider putting that public health menace just two feet from where families and seniors are growing food. I am not associated with the Lion’s Club in any way other than paying for a garden plot. I do not represent the Lion’s Club or speak for them.
Susan E June 14, 2011 at 04:29 PM
As I said before, I am not opposed to a dog park in Brookfield. I am opposed to a dog park at the proposed location at the community gardens where food is grown. There is always dog waste at the entrance to Williams Park. It is more obvious in the winter because it is frozen and has not yet dissolved . The contaminates are still there whether you see them or not. If you think that the huge amount of dog waste at the entrance to Williams Park last winter was “because a few exhausted large dog owners did not bring doggie pickup bags” it can only be because you do not walk your dogs there. I have walked my dog there for many, many years. In all those years, I have never seen any dog owner pickup after their dog in Williams Park. No one carries doggie pickup bags. No one ever picks up after their dogs. On the times I have seen Keith Wolff in Williams Park, he did not pick up after his dog!
duane bertozzi June 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM
most people dont realize that brookfield is already the proud owners of the largest off leash park in connecticut. it's called happy landings. come and observe.
wen peterson of Brookfield June 15, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Susan, one last thing-disabled people like myself and my disabled friends and the elderly need an off leash dog park. My 2 dogs are under control by voice command and are small and well trained, as are all other dogs in town I have come across. Dogs only have the appearance of being out of control and excitable when they lack exercise and are being let out after a long period of confinement, ie after our brutal winter. The dog park group, SOKK, is looking at other locations, and I personally would welcome your ideas. It is for all of us in town to enjoy, after all.
Steven DeVaux June 16, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Wen, Brookfield has become the most unfriendly town when it comes to the disabled, it's sad to say. And remember, Happy Landings is a mosquito and tick infested passive parcel.
Steven DeVaux June 16, 2011 at 12:40 AM
Especially during spring Turkey hunting season, or better, the fall deer harvest.
wen peterson of Brookfield June 17, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Why don't they MOW Happy Landings?
Steven DeVaux June 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM
Rumor has it that First Selectman Bill Davidson is leasing it to his fellow First Selectman in Bridgewater to grow hay. Haven't traced any income in the town's revenues yet but that's what two people said they though was the deal. You might want to check with the other Selectman Howard Lasser as to the veracity of the rumor or Bill Tinsley, Chairman of the Board of Finance since he knows where all the income comes from in the budget.
the crip June 21, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Well, whether it's true or not, the town needs to mow Happy Landings. I got shrapnel in my leg from the service and it ain't no picnic having the old lady try to push my chair up there.
Steven DeVaux June 21, 2011 at 11:49 PM
The current administration doesn't appear to have much sympathy or desire for ADA compliance or support for those who bore the brunt of battle. At least from their actions. Now rethoric that doesn't cost time, money or effort. They're all there for that.
wen peterson of Brookfield June 26, 2011 at 11:43 PM
We are starting again...looking for volunteers, and searching for a perfect place. Keith said he is not giving up, and neither should the rest of the town's dog enthusiasts. Thoughts?
Steven DeVaux June 27, 2011 at 01:32 AM
I agree and support it as I always have. It belongs at the municpal center, the heartbeat of Brookfield were we socialize, play sports, do the peoples business and enjoy senior activities. Seniors would love to look out the window and watch dogs romping and playing while their grandchildren get to enjoy KK2 and play soccer and baseball. Town Hall is indeed the ideal spot for it!
duane bertozzi June 27, 2011 at 11:39 AM
all things considered, i agree the best place for an off leash area would be the town hall area. you have easy access, the best parking, it is central to the town, there is water and bathroom facilities.plus since there is water, maybe the dog owners could set up a outdoor summer grooming area. dog owners could then exchange cleaning and nutrition tips. this whole idea could just explode with ideas. this could be big. really big!
Rob Gianazza June 27, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Can someone expalin to me where at the Municipal Center? There are three soccer fields, a baseball field and the audience area for the bandstand. Granted there are some other grassy areas as well surrounding the complex. I would like a clearer explanation of the vision for utilizing the Municipal Center.
Rob Gianazza June 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM
explain, my bad, why doesn't this offer spell check?
Steven DeVaux June 28, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Absolutely agree with those thoughts duane. Brookfielder's could even register their pooch at town hall right across from the potential Pooch Park while Rover's being watched. Makes the greatest sense in the world and has had my support as a location for the last two years and I know as well as that of the previous First Selectman, Bob Silvaggi, a dog owner himself and strong support of being Fair to Fido. They could even arrange annual shots for the dogs! With an aging population in Brookfield and no real housing churn and watching child enrollment declining in the schools it's time we treat man's best friend right.
wen peterson of Brookfield June 28, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Rob, there is no "them"...this is a bunch of dog owners brainstorming about locations. We are just starting out. Join us!
Steven DeVaux June 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Wen, I have no idea of the macinations of the First Selectman's cranium as to why he wishes to deny equal treatment to pet owners regarding the use of the municipal property at town hall. His support of sentencing dog lovers to the netherlands far removed from the social and community aspects of our muncipal center for seniors, kids, sports players, etc is something he will have to answer you directly on. I can make no sense of it as it helps build community. Former First Selectman Bob Silvaggi was a strong supporter, and dog owner/lover, himself and supported me two years ago when I raised the matter at a Board of Selectman's meeting. Perhaps the group should do likewise in July or August.
Howard Lasser June 29, 2011 at 01:17 PM
Just curious. Where is the dog park Sivalggi supported you on? I have spoken with Kieth Wolff and have assured him, we will support an appropriate facility at an appropirate place once that has been identified and the issues that people have raised have been addressed. That process is underway.
wen peterson of Brookfield June 29, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Thank you, Mr. Lasser.


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