WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Dog parks are popping up all across the area. The latest opened Thursday in Wake Forest, but some animal experts say the parks might put pets in danger.
The park provides a place for dog owners to let their pets run free, legally, without a leash.
“Cooper just absolutely loves it,” said owner Beth Anne Gavin. “He already knows when we’re coming. He’s got the word ‘park’ down.”
But some animal experts worry dog parks might be putting pets at risk.
“They don’t have to have their animals up to date on vaccines. The animal doesn’t have to be well-behaved, because there is no one there to regulate it,” said Dr. Sandra Grant, a veterinarian.
She warned that animals that are not vaccinated could carry serious diseases like rabies and the Parvo virus.
Just this week, Wake County sent out an advisory due to a busier than normal Parvo virus season. There is no cure for the highly contagious disease.
While the rules at Wake Forest’s dog park say that all pets must be vaccinated, the owners aren’t required to offer any proof. Only the dog parks in Durham and Cary require owners to register and pay a fee.
Wake Forest’s dog park has been unofficially open for a few weeks, but so far, there have been no reports of problems.
“Dog owners are very good at policing themselves and obeying rules,” said Susan Simpson, Wake Forest’s Parks and Rec director. “So we felt like if there was a problem then they would call us, and we would take whatever steps we needed to. But right now, we think this is the way to go.”