Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Following Up on Permit-Only Dog Parks

Please let me in!

Last week, I wrote a post about our recent stopover in Louisville that included comments about one of the city’s permit-only dog parks that we visited. Louisville has five permit-only dog parks: Champions, Cochran Hill, Old Louisville (under construction), Sawyer, and Vittner. These dog parks are gated and access is granted by entering a pass code into an electronic keypad. The cost of a 2010 dog park permit is $30.00 for the 1st dog, $20.00 for the 2nd dog, $10.00 for the 3rd dog and $5.00 per additional dog in the same household. Proceeds from the permit sales go towards the parks’ maintenance and improvement costs.

I wondered about the constraints such a system placed on people traveling with their dogs – people like us! The websites for all five parks have this advice.

Are you and your dog planning on visiting Louisville? If you will be visiting or passing through Louisville please email us at [email protected] to find out how your four-legged traveling companion can have access to the [name of] Dog Run. We do what we can to help give out-of-town visitors a place to allow their dog’s to stretch their legs. All we ask is that you contact us before you come to town, make sure to bring along your vaccination records with you, and email us after you’ve visited the park to let us know what you think. Also, be sure to email Metro Parks … and tell them what a great time you had at the [name of] Dog Run.

I was wondering about how tedious these arrangements might be, so I wrote to [email protected] and asked these questions.

  1. What is the fee to use one of the permit-only parks for a day?
  2. Does that fee allow you access to more than one of the permit-only dog parks?
  3. What vaccination papers are required? Is a current rabies tag sufficient?
  4. I noticed an electronic keypad on the gate at Cochran – how do we get an access code?
  5. Do we need to meet someone in person to accomplish all of the above?

Someone got back to me a few hours later, and here is what he had to say:

Cool blog post.  I actually learned something from it because I’ve never heard of the Patterson Dog Park.  Also funny that you reference the Minneapolis permit system because that was one of the one ones we modeled our system after (the other was Indianapolis).  If we could avoid the fee system I think it would be great, but we don’t get any money from the city (or state to operate the Sawyer Dog Park) so we have no choice. Here are some answers to your questions below:

  1. There currently isn’t a set up for one-day permits but if out-of-towners email us in advance we happily provide a code for them so they can access the park.  They just need to punch the code in those keypads that you saw and push the gate when they hear the click.
  2. The code that we give people allows them to enter any of the dog parks that are operated by our organization.
  3. We just ask people to bring along vaccination papers showing they are up-to-date on the usual things (rabies, parvo, etc.) just in case there is an incident.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Woof! Much lower barriers to entry than I would have thought! I would also imagine that the permit-only dog parks in Minneapolis and Indianapolis work the same way since Louisville modeled its system after these two cities. So, out-of-town canines rejoice … you, too, can play in these awesome parks with just a tiny bit of advance planning by your humans.

  • michelechollow says:

    Very useful information. When I travel, I usually do plan ahead. However, dog parks aren't always mentioned in CVB sites. So, Go Pet Friendly is quite helpful..

  • Mary Haight says:

    Well, thanks for the eye-opener! Planning ahead means just that, esp if we want our dogs to enjoy the trip too:).

  • kathryn says:

    not such a bad idea to have fee based access by permit dog parks – especially after some incidents on our last few forays to our dog park

  • MaggieMarton says:

    It never occurred to me to email ahead to gain entry to dog parks along a road trip route, but I'm definitely going to do that for our next trip! Here in Indiana we do have pay-to-play parks; unfortunately, the annual fees aren't as reasonable as the Louisville fees, though one-day passes are usually only $5.

    • I have to say that I was initially put off by the idea. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Permit-only parks may be a wave of the future as cities cut back on funding parks and recreation budgets.

  • Had to read the beginning of this post twice. For some reason I thought the entry fee was per day, which would be prohibitively expensive. Not bad for the year though.

    Paid entry dog parks are new to me, I've never heard of one here in BC.

  • What a great idea to write for answers, and what heartening answers you got! Great work — as always, it never hurts to ask!

  • EdieJ says:

    Very useful info! I would never have thought to write ahead and I was originally irate at the idea of a permit only dog park but it sounds as though it's a necessary evil — and well organized in the case of Louisville (one of my favorite cities) to boot.

    • I imagine that as more budget cuts hit cities, less money will be available for parks and recreation – and permit-only parks may become a way of life. I also admire the time it must take a cadre of volunteers to maintain the parks. And you're right, Louisville is a great city. Did you see the information about the Zappos shoe outlet in the original post?

  • I learned something here- it would have never occurred to me to call ahead to see if my dogs would be allowed in a dog park. Good to know- thanks!

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