New large dog park opens in Meridian Township

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The entrance to the Meridian Large Dog Park, located at 1990 Central Park Dr. in Okemos, is open to residents of the township and non-residents.

Online registration is now available for Meridian Township’s dog parks, including a new off-leash large dog park. The new park, which opened in September, is located behind the mall at Central Park South.

The large dog park is for dogs over 30 pounds, while the small dog park, which opened June 2019, is located at Nancy Moore Park at 1960 Gaylord C Smith Ct., East Lansing, is for dogs under 30 pounds.

About 100 dogs registered for the large dog park and 250 registered for the small dog park, said Parks and Recreation Director LuAnn Meisner. 

Annual park fee

According to a press release, owners registering their dog will pay an annual fee to maintain the parks’ high standards.

Meridian Township Resident

Dog 1: $20

Dog 2: $15

Non-Township Resident

Dog 1: $35

Dog 2: $20

Ensuring safety

Having a separate park for larger dogs will help protect the safety of smaller canines. In April 2019, an 18-pound Havanese died after a Great Dane attacked it while at a dog park in Dewitt. 

The park uses a key FOB entry system to help ensure the safety and security of the park, said Parks and Recreation Specialist Mike Devlin.

Registration requires owners to show proof of a rabies vaccination and a dog license. This requirement allows the township to provide a safe environment for dogs to be off-leash, according to the press release.

In addition to dog safety, Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department adhere to CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. 

“The Small Dog Park was one of the first amenities we opened when restrictions were eased because we were able to communicate directly with the users regarding masks, distancing, and sanitation expectations,” Meisner said.

Community interest

Both parks were a result of the community’s desire to have a dog park, said Meisner.

“Our community asked for them for a number of years, and so far, we have received numerous positive comments from our dog park members,” she said.

Devlin is also pleased with the registration turnout.

“I think the numbers of dog registrations speak for themselves as a great addition to the community,” Devlin said. “Both parks are really nice and in a great location.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Wednesday, followed by the 2nd annual dog park “Howl-o-ween.” The event went from 6-8 p.m. and featured a dog costume contest, among other festivities.