Residents push for city dog park

Thompson Park could soon get a little noisier as the Barbourville City Council is considering adding a dog park to the grounds.

Residents Casey Lawson, of Barbourville and Jim Thompson, of Bimble, pleaded their case at Thursday’s City Council meeting.

Lawson, who was a member of one of the action groups of Barbourville’s Strategic Plan submitted plans for the park to city hall a couple of months ago.

“Socialization is extremely important to dogs,” she told the council, “not to mention the daily need for exercise. When I lived in North Carolina, we had dog parks everywhere.”

The dog park, she added, would be a great place to host animal events, like mobile adoptions and fundraisers.”

The presenters appealed to the council to take positive action with the dog park, not only in allowing owners to exercise and socialize their dogs, but to allow programs that can come in and teach positive dog ownership habits.

Lawson explained to the council just how bad animal abuse has become in Kentucky. According to the Humane Society, the state of Kentucky ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation for animal abuse. And the Animal Legal Defense Fund ranks Kentucky at the very bottom of the list. This is the eighth year Kentucky has been at or near the bottom of the list.

Jim Thompson emphasized positive reasons to set up the park.

“We come to Thompson Park regularly,” he said, “and we usually bring our dogs with us. Barbourville has done so good at making people welcome to its parks, we felt this would be the obvious next step.”

When questioned about who would clean up and take out the dog park’s trash at the end of the day, Jim Thompson suggested making it so that people bring in their own water, and each owner be responsible for their own dog cleanup.

The city council agreed the dog park was a good idea.

“I cannot see any reason why we shouldn’t go ahead with this project,” said Councilman Ronnie Moore.

“It’s definitely something good we need to look into,” agreed Mayor Thompson

So Mayor David Thompson asked the city clerk to set up a meeting with the two organizers a couple of weeks down the road. Mayor Thompson and interested parties will meet in the near future to discuss plans for the dog park.