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Gone to the dogs [Editorial]

Rebel’s Dog Park, despite words to the contrary before construction started on the new facility, won’t be reopening at the Humane Society of Harford County headquarters on Connolly Road in Fallston.

Humane Society officials have moved on from Rebel’s, the popular dog park that was adjacent to the Humane Society’s old building.

“A dog park on the grounds of the shelter is not feasible at this time, but may be in the future,” Jen Swanson, executive director of the Humane Society of Harford County, wrote in an email last week.

There could be plenty of unproductive narrative about why the Humane Society has chosen to not rebuild Rebel’s Park, and why it should be restored as promised. We’ll refrain.

The reality is the Humane Society shelter functioned successfully for many years without a dog park nearby. And then for about a decade, it functioned with one adjacent to the shelter.

When the Humane Society got its new digs, that’s when it went out with the old, i.e. Rebel’s Dog Park.

“It was the intent of the board to deliver to the county a new building and then, separately, to deliver to the community a new and improved Rebel’s Dog Park,” Dave Fang, the former president of the Humane Society board, said.

Fang, who was with the Humane Society from 2006 to 2015, was expressing his disappointment the dog park wasn’t replaced.

The new Rebel’s Dog Park didn’t come to fruition because only $12,000 had been raised, according to Swanson, which isn’t nearly enough.

That’s how it was over the years with the Humane Society of Harford County: the only constant has been the constant change.

Through the years, more people – paid and unpaid – have passed through the Humane Society than cycle through most organizations in the county. Too many of those passing through have moved on because of bickering, differences of opinion, snarkiness or plain exasperation with the shelter’s operation.

This seems to be one of those periods of relative calm around the Connolly Road shelter. Let’s hope it stays that way.

One thing is for sure, people who are passionate about animals are really passionate about animals.

The history of the Humane Society of Harford County is littered with examples over the past 30 years.

Fortunately, the county has grown to the point that whether the Humane Society headquarters has a dog park is immaterial. There are other available options throughout the county.

With or without a new Rebel’s Dog Park, as our staff member David Anderson chronicled in The Aegis Friday, there are alternatives.

Harford County has established dog parks in Abingdon, Bel Air and Edgewood. Aberdeen and Havre de Grace also have dog parks. Aberdeen’s just opened this fall.

“It’s just another part of our commitment to quality of life, to be inclusive to all citizens, even our four-legged citizens,” Havre de Grace Mayor William Martin said about that community’s dog park.

Fang, the former Humane Society board member, was spotted recently at the Ma & Pa Trail Dog Park on Tollgate Road across from the Equestrian Center.

Fang was there with his dog, Sophie, a 7-1/2-year-old mixed breed.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said of the park on Tollgate Road. “The community can’t have enough [dog parks].”


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