WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Paying for your pups to play?
The city of White Plains is now charging dog owners an annual fee to use one of their popular dog parks, and many are outraged.
Nothing will stop dog owner Tricia Colucci from bringing her pup, Romeo, to “Bark Park” on Main Street East at least twice a week.
“He loves coming to the dog park,” she said. “It’s his favorite spot.”
Colucci and any other dog lover who wants to take their furry friends to Bark Park now has to pay a $25 annual fee for the privilege to do so.
She’s far from happy.
“I think they get enough in fees in parking and everything else in White Plains,” Colucci said. “I don’t think it’s fair.”
She’s lucky enough to get the hometown discount. Others who live outside the city, like John Gagliano, have to pay $50 a year to bring their pooch to the park.
“If it’s already provided and free for the dogs, I think it should remain that way,” he said.
The park’s been around for 14 years, so why the sudden fee?
“What you’re really looking at is covering the cost of our maintenance issues,” White Plains Recreation Department Commissioner Wayne Bass said. “The doggy bags are a primary cost of that.”
Bass says the charges have also been put into place for safety reasons. By filling out registration forms, they can ensure all dogs are up to date with vaccinations.
“This would give us a database of how we can identify the dogs that use the park,” Bass said.
Each dog will get a registration tag that field marshals will check almost daily. If you don’t have one you’ll get kicked out.
“It’s supposed to be a good place for your dog to come and run free and I don’t think they should charge,” Colucci said.
Dog owners can bark all they want but unfortunately, there’s no changing the charge.
Commissioner Bass adds several nearby municipalities in Westchester County charge annual fees for their dog parks, most of which are comparable in price.