Village Dog Park reopens nearly a month after incident

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Visiting Palmetto Bay’s Dog Park are Renee Bertucci (left) with her Dobermans, Reno and Steeler, and Joan Swallen with her beagle, Barney.

People and pooches returned recently to enjoy Palmetto Bay’s Dog Park, also known as Perrine Wayside Park, which reopened after being closed for most of the month of September.

The popular three-acre park facility had been shut down since Sept. 1 when a tragic incident took place and Victor Garcia’s 6-month-old Labrador retriever Ruger was electrocuted and drowned while swimming in the small lake. Officials from the Parks Department immediately had the lake’s fountain, pump and wiring completely removed for inspection, and word is that it will not be replaced.

The park, which was opened in November 2007, features a perimeter walking path, perimeter fence, pet drinking fountains, park benches and tables, a gazebo/pavilion and parking areas, and has been sorely missed according to those who have come to rely on it as a place to bring their dogs to play.

“I am thrilled that the park is open again,” said resident Bill Maynard. “There aren’t that many places like it around here. I bring my three dogs here at least once a week.”

Joan Swallen, who was there on Tuesday, Sept. 28, with her beagle, Barney, was also glad to be able to visit the park.

“I’m happy it’s re-opened,” she said. “It’s really nice. I come here every day, sometimes twice a day.”

Swallen said that a lot of friendships, both human and canine, have formed as a result of regular park-goers meeting and getting acquainted. One such friend, Renee Bertucci, is there all the time with her two Dobermans, Reno and Steeler, and the ladies and pooches like to hang out at the park.

“There are more people here in the morning and late afternoon than at mid-day,” Bertucci said. “At first, people just know each other by their dogs, but after awhile they get to know people’s names, too.”

Perrine Wayside Park is located at 16425 S. Dixie Hwy. and is open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week, but is closed on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month until noon for routine scheduled maintenance.

For more information, call the Department of Parks and Recreation at Village Hall, 305-259-1234.

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2 Comments on "Village Dog Park reopens nearly a month after incident"

  1. so very sad about the puppy Ruger, maybe a good thing they didn't replace the fountain pump and wiring, as pretty as it was. I am just now hearing about this, sorry for their loss.
    This dog park is nice for dogs and their owners.

  2. This dog park is terrible. It should have been kept shut down.

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