Henderson dog park needs help

If your property is not fenced, or is on a busy road, or your pooch just gets curious, you may find a need for a doggie park to give your dog some space and exercise. Well, Henderson is quite fortunate. We have such a park just behind E.M. Rollins Elementary School, almost visible from Dabney Drive near the firehouse. A truly great dog park.

But it needs your help.

My wife and I have been taking our poodle Toughy there for months, but on an irregular basis. We kept noting that the latches to the double gate system were almost always broken.

Double gates? Yes. A proper dog park has a double-gate feature to protect and separate the dogs on the way in and out. Why is that important? If you have ever had a dog accidentally get off its leash and get run over, you know how important good leash control is — we had that experience last year on a farm road in Dabney. Thanks to the superb staff at West Hills Veterinary, Toughy survived and is in great shape. But when we go to the dog park, the double gates are often — almost always — broken or partly inoperative.

I finally reached Mr. K. Graham of Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks, and he graciously explained this problem is not just a Henderson problem, but a major problem for all dog parks in North Carolina. For safety reasons, and by law, the latching devices on dog park double gates are pretty special, and very expensive to repair or replace. The city of Henderson is doing its best, but the local fools who smash and break the gates rather than simply following posted instructions run far ahead of the budgets — money and manpower — to maintain those gates.

What is needed is for some civic group to run a fundraising drive specifically for the dog park gate latches.

I am in my 80s. I am fully vaccinated. But I am not able to run such an undertaking. And Toughy and I are not the only ones in town using a fine dog park that is meant for all of Henderson and all of Vance County. If Henderson-Vance is as wonderful a community as it would like to consider itself, who will take up this cause?

H. Larry Elman