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.

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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