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Parks Department OKs Off-Leash Dog Areas on Boston Common

No date has been set for the opening of the first off-leash area.

Parks Department OKs Off-Leash Dog Areas on Boston Common

The city's Parks Department approved a plan Monday to designate parts of the Boston Common for off-leash dog recreation areas, but a date hasn't been set for when the program will begin.

The plan, put forth by the the Friends of the Public Garden and Common Canine, calls for the unfenced off-leash areas to be rotated, with dog owners and the Friends to reseed each area after rotation.

Before the first rotation starts, the groups will need to restore the pilot off-leash area, near the Joy Street stairs, which has been used for many years. 

According to a Parks Department press release, the major elements of plan approved Monday include: 

  • The designation of five locations for off-leash dog recreation which will be used on a “rotating” basis. At any given time, two of the sites will be allowed for use. The designated areas will change every six months per recommendation of the Boston Parks Department and Friends of the Public Garden. The off-leash areas range in size from 21,000 to 57,500 square feet.
  • The five sites include three near the Beacon Street side of the park and two in the vicinity of the Parkman Bandstand by Tremont Street.
  • The boundaries of the five locations will be indicated by signs rather than fences.
  • Dog waste dispensers will be added and will be maintained by Common Canine.
  • It is estimated that during off-leash hours, perhaps 12-30 dogs will use the recreational spaces.
  • Hours of operation will be 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to  9 p.m.
  • Rules for the recreation areas will include: all dogs must be licensed and vaccinated, dogs must wear collars, no excess barking, and dog owners/handlers may not bring more than three dogs to the area at a time.

The City of Boston Dog Recreation Ordinance of 2004 allows for an open, community-based process whereby residents can request a dog recreation space in their local park.  A public hearing was held Jan. 28. 

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