Area dog owners will get the opportunity to let their four-legged friends stretch their legs in a new space this Saturday, as the Winterset Dog Park opens at 9 a.m.

According to WPRD Director John Pletchette, dog park ambassadors will be present Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon, and Sunday from noon until 3 p.m. to help pets and their owners get used to the 76-acre park. The Winterset Dog Park is located east of the Martin Marietta Soccer Fields on East Court Avenue. 

According to Pletchette, this would be a good time to buy a pass to the park. He explained the pass system to those present at Monday’s City Council meeting. 

Winterset residents who have a current 2019 city dog license are able to use the park at no additional cost, with a signed waiver.  Non-residents must fill out a non-resident form, sign a waiver and have an up-to-date rabies certificate and/or a current 2019 city dog license from the city in which they reside. The pass fee per dog will be $10 and will be valid for the rest of 2019 and 2020.

After the opening of the park on Aug. 10, the park will closed on Sept. 2 to allow for a re-seeding of the grass since it has not grown through the season as staff had hoped. A grand opening is also planned for a later date.

General rules of the park are listed at the entrance. Requirements include having pets on a leash while entering and exiting the park, and being current on rabies vaccinations certification. Dogs must be over four months of age and in good health. 

The large four-acre dog exercise area is limited to dogs greater than 25 

pounds and/or 13 inches at shoulder height. 

A half-acre area is available for smaller breeds LESS than 25 lb. and/or 13 inches at shoulder height. 

Owners are asked to enter the appropriate play area according to the size of the dog and also pick up and dispose of any dog waste with bags provided. The dog handler should be within eyesight of their canine and able to voice directions to their pet at all times. Children under nine years of age are asked to NOT enter the fenced areas for safety reasons and children nine years of age and older must be with an adult at all times.

Female dogs in heat, aggressive, sick or lame dogs or animals other than dogs are prohibited.

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Managing editor at the Madisonian.