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Dogs have their day: Parks reopen in South Carroll, Westminster

With pets and their owners on a little tighter leash, South Carroll Dog Park in Eldersburg reopened last week as part of new guidance from Gov. Larry Hogan.

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South Carroll Dog Park, located behind the South Carroll Senior Center at 5928 Mineral Hill Road, reopened May 11 with special rules implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The park will only allow 10 members of the park at a time and members should practice 6 feet social distancing while in the dog park and waiting outside the dog park. Members also shouldn’t visit the dog park if they are sick or have recently been exposed to the coronavirus.

“We’re probably going to have to do a little bit more work on mandating only 10 adults allowed in the park area at any one time,” said Kathy Martin, lead volunteer of the Friends of South Carroll Dog Park. “We’re not requiring masks outdoors but, of course, people can choose to wear masks if that makes them feel more comfortable.”

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Bennett Cerf Dog Park, at 544 Old Manchester Road in Westminster, also reopened May 11.

Bennett Cerf Dog Park, which opened in 2013, is following the same special rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic as South Carroll Dog Park.

Signage is posted at both parks of the new rules. Those bringing dogs to the park are reminded to have hand sanitizer, towelettes or water so they can keep their hands clean after their time at the park.

South Carroll has already started to see a good amount of visitors with the reopening and warmer weather, according to Martin.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected their membership applications at the dog park.

“We had only been open for two weeks, and that was our soft opening from the South Carroll Dog Park, before the park closed,” said Martin. “We had to postpone our grand opening which was scheduled for late April. We’re just really wanting to remind everyone and encourage everyone that the park is now open and that we are excited to have members joining.”

At this point, Martin said she isn’t sure about when or if a grand opening will be held, at least in person because of the 10-person limitation.

Martin said they have about 150 members and even though they have been receiving applications during the shutdown, applications have slowed.

The dog park is restricted to members and they have been experiencing some people trying to enter the park without a membership.

“We have to remind everyone it is members only and that is so that we’re sure that everyone has a rabies vaccine, at a minimum," said Martin. "That is part of joining — demonstrating that you have a county dog license, which supports the Carroll County Humane Society.”

Martin is happy to be able to provide somewhere for people and their pets to get out the house.

“Everyone was thrilled,” said Martin. “The weather is getting warmer it’s absolutely beautiful out there. All of us needed some outdoor time and to get the dogs off the leash and let them run and play.”

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