A growing human-animal bond in Meridian Township

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By Danielle Turcotte
Meridian Times staff writer

Yoshi, Sandford, Junie and Jessie are among the few available furry-tailed animals up for adoption at the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing.

President and CEO of Capital Area Humane Society Julia Palmer said the staff places around 3,500 animals annually into homes.  The ultimate goal is to promote the humane treatment of animals through protection, placement, education and example.

Braxton at the CAHS

Braxton came with his mother Susan to look at the puppies available for adoption at the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing.

Other than providing an individual with a new furry friend, services are Pets for the Elderly, spay or neuter procedures, behavior training and volunteer opportunities.  In April, Capital Area Humane Society is teaming up with the Petsmart in Okemos to increase the chances of finding an animal a happy home.  Visitors can pet felines and dogs 3:30- 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Offsite locations do help with adoptions.  We are constantly trying to increase visibility for the animals at the shelter.  Petsmart is one of the many avenues we use to accomplish that,” Palmer said.

With pet adoption awareness on the rise, there have been some complaints that there is not a place specific to residents and their dogs in Meridian Township.  Williamston resident Jamie Cripe and her labrador retriever mix Calypso love the idea for creating a dog park at Legg Park or anywhere in Okemos even.

“We live in an apartment complex and while there is some space for dogs to play, it’s just sometimes not enough,” Cripe said.  “Also, it’s great for dogs to be able to socially interact with other dogs and people, to have open grassy spaces to play, which the Soldan Park lacks,” she added.

Citizens were asked to submit comments on the five-year parks and recreation master plan and how they could be better served.  Residents have been approaching the Park Commission with requests for a dog park for 10-plus years.  In response, last March Meridian Township officials approved the instillation of the dog park.  The doggie playground is planned for Legg Park and would take up about 10 – 15 acres of the 103 acre park.

Resident and licensed veterinary technician Deb Kaufman believes Legg Park would be the perfect location due to its parking and scenery.

“(The dog park) helps with bringing the energy level down in my group, they love to socialize with all the new faces of people and dogs.  It definitely helps with the physical health of the dogs and their mental well being not to mention it gets the owners out and about and chat with new people,” Kaufman said.

Although the dog park is not seen as a priority for the city the park is still in the planning

"Priority of dog parks"

More than 1,000 residents responded to the survey.

stages.  The park is expected to cost up to $100,000.

“The dog park will be constructed using park millage funds and also through private donations,” said Parks and Land Management Coordinator Jane Greenway.

“To put it mildly, the overall process of the dog park development has been very slow and frustrating.  The support for the dog park in Legg Park strongly overwhelms the opposition, but the opposition is very vocal,”  added Greenway.

The highly anticipated dog park is presumed to open within two years.


Click here to watch a slide show of the Capital Area Humane Society’s facilities and animals up for adoption.

The map below shows the location of the Capital Area Humane Society, Petsmart in Okemos and Legg Park.

View A growing human-animal bond in Meridian Township in a larger map

One thought on “A growing human-animal bond in Meridian Township

  1. I think a dog park is a great idea for any community. I have frequented local dog parks in several cities over the years and have found many advantages for them. Here are just a few:

    Allows dogs to exercise and interact safely. It is essential that puppies and adult dogs have room to roam around, and enclosed play areas allow them to do so while preventing them from harming themselves and others (for example, by running into the path of an oncoming car). In addition, dogs who are used to playing with animals and people other than their owners are more likely to be well-socialized and interact well toward strangers.

    Encourages responsible dog ownership. Dog parks preclude off-leash animals from encroaching on the rights of other community citizens and park users such as joggers, small children, and those who may be afraid of dogs. Designated dog parks also make it easier for a city to enforce its leash laws, as resident dog owners with access to the dog park have no excuse to permit their dogs off-leash when not at the park.

    Offers a means for dog owners to socialize. Dog parks are an excellent place for owners to meet other people with like interests. The love people share for their dogs goes beyond economic and social barriers and helps to cultivate a sense of community. People who frequent the park also benefit from the chance to ask questions of other owners and find answers to issues they could be having with their dog.

    Make for a favorable community by promoting public health and safety. Well-exercised dogs are better neighbors who are not as likely to become a nuisance, bark excessively and ruin property. Their presence in the park, along with their owners, also helps to discourage crime.