By Amy Perry, Fort Lee Public Affairs

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FORT LEE, Va. – A large crowd of pet owners attended the grand-opening celebration Friday for the new Fort Lee Dog Park, adjacent to the Bowling Center and behind the Department of Motor Vehicles building on Battle Drive.

The quarter-acre, fenced-in facility is a place where family pets can exercise and play off-leash. According to Matthew Haug, Family and MWR recreation specialist, it is a long-awaited addition to the community support functions here.

“We built it because the community really wanted it. It has been a topic of discussion and concern for several years,” Haug said. “At FMWR, we try to meet the needs of our customers; this is a good example of that goal.”

There are no breed restrictions in the park, and it is open from sunrise to sunset every day. There also are two picnic tables and two benches located inside the recreation area.

Some of the rules to be followed at the park include:

  • Dogs are required to wear collars with an ID tag showing current license and rabies vaccination
  • No spiked collars
  • Two dogs, per adult, allowed
  • No food – animal or human – including treats and bones inside the fenced in area
  • Owners must collect and properly dispose of dog waste in containers provided
  • Only dogs are allowed
  • No smoking
  • No littering – litter can be eaten by dogs and cause choking or digestion hazards
  • No wheeled items – such as strollers, bicycles, tricycles, wagons and rollerblades – are allowed other than wheelchairs used by individuals with physical disabilities
  • Shoes are required
  • Children under 12 are not allowed inside the fenced area unless supervised by an adult
  • Dogs under four months are prohibited
  • Owners assume all risks, duties and liabilities related to park usage
  • All bites must be reported to the game warden at (804) 652-5979

With the closest dog park nearly 30 minutes away in Midlothian, Haug said the Fort Lee off-leash area is a welcome addition to the installation.

“Having the dog park on post is a great thing,” he said. “This park is only minutes away from post housing area, and it’s a great opportunity to go meet other people and their pets while on the installation.”