Portsmouth RI Dog Park

About The Portsmouth Dog Park

DOG PARK RULES      FIND US     VOLUNTEER       HISTORY    NEWS  


The mission of the Portsmouth Dog Park is to support the maintenance of and improvements to the Portsmouth Dog Park; and to promote safety for the people and dogs who visit, responsible dog ownership, and activities that support education, training and well-behaved dogs.

The Dog Park includes  

√  Free parking 

Full handicapped accessibility 

Areas for large and small dogs 

Fresh water for dogs and humans 

A walkway for observation 

Benches and toys 

Mutt mitts and waste disposal sta

A Work In Progress

 

The Portsmouth Dog Park is a work in progress. Phase I is almost complete. We have raised $111,000 toward our goal of $120,000 to build the park! 

Phase II will include the installation of fitness and agility equipment, sections of Astro Turf, and night lighting. The Town provides basic park maintenance, but we depend on the generosity of our donors and the assistance of our volunteers to make the Portsmouth Dog Park sustainable. Click below for more information on how you can help.


HOW CAN YOU HELP

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DOG PARK RULES

Dog Park Rules

For the safety and enjoyment of all who visit the Portsmouth Dog Park, dog owners, keepers, guardian and visitors must adhere to the following rules:


1. Only dogs that are currently vaccinated for rabies and licensed in the town in which they reside are allowed to enter the park.

2. No dog under 6 months old, or that has received its first rabies shot within the past 30 days, may enter the park.

3. All dogs must be spayed/neutered and free from disease and internal parasites.

4. All dogs must be removed from the park by their handler at the first sign of aggression.

5. All dogs must be leashed while entering and exiting the park.

6. No more than 3 dogs may be brought into the park by any one handler at any time. 

7. Dogs must be under the handler’s control at all times.

8. The use of pinch, choke or electronic collars within the park is prohibited.

9. No dog that has been legally declared vicious is allowed in the park.

10. No food is allowed in the park.

11. The park is open from dawn to dusk and closed during maintenance.

12. The park is for recreational use only.

13. All dog bites must be promptly reported to the Portsmouth Police/Animal Control.

14. Handlers are required to clean up after their dogs and properly dispose of all waste, and to repair any damage caused by their dogs.

15. The use of alcohol and/or tobacco is prohibited.

16. No children under the age of 16 may enter the park unless under adult supervision.

17. No attendant on duty. All users of the park do so at their own risk. All owners, handlers and users of the park agree to release and hold the Town of Portsmouth and its various departments, employees, volunteers and agents harmless from any and all liability, claims, and/or damages for personal injury, property damage, or injury to their pet(s). 

18. The Portsmouth Police Department and Animal Control reserve the right to ban any owner, handler or dog from the park for violation of these rules.

19. Violation of any of these rules is punishable by a fine of $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation, and $300 for a third or any subsequent violation. 

Additional Reminders

Please pick up after your dog(s).  There are 2 Mutt Mitt dispensers and waste receptacles in the large dog area and 1 in the small dog area.  Those containers are for DOG WASTE ONLY.  A rubbish container is located in the parking area for trash and a recycling bin is available for bottles and cans ONLY.  A clean park is good for dogs and humans alike!



IMPORTANT REMINDER:

The Portsmouth Dog Park is not a doggy day care facility.  Owners must be in the park at all times with their dog(s).  Failure to do so could prompt a call to the Portsmouth Police Department Animal Control Officer. 


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WHERE ARE WE?

 NOTE: The actual address of the Dog Park is 50 Smith Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.  Unfortunately, Smith Road does not show up on many GPS's.  The directions below are accurate.  We are located on Smith Road off Bradford Avenue, beyond the Melville Ponds Campground entrance.


Two ways to find the Portsmouth Dog Park

  • Turn onto Bradford Avenue next to the main entrance of Melville School on Route 114 in Portsmouth. Follow Bradford Ave. past the Melville Campground and turn right onto Smith Road.

                                                  OR

  • Off Route 114 in Portsmouth, turn down Stringham Road at the traffic light across from Dunkin Donuts.  After the Melville Housing take a right onto Sullivan Drive and follow it to the end.  The Melville Campground will be directly ahead of you. Turn left (on Bradford Avenue) and then a quick right onto Smith Road.

Portsmouth RI Dog Park

Smith Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871

Park Hours

 Open every day, year-round, from dawn to dusk. 

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VOLUNTEERS

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We Can Never Have Enough Volunteers

  • New people who might be interested in serving on the Committee in the future. 
  • We need people who might want to help us do light work at the Dog Park. 
  • We need people who might be willing to help us fund raise. 
  • We need people who can sell some tickets to events that support us.
  • Whatever your area of expertise, let us know if you are willing to help. 

Portsmouth Dog Park Committee

Every member of the Portsmouth Dog Park Committee is a volunteer.

Jane Regan, Chair (my dog is Willoughby)

Jen McGinley, Vice Chair (my dogs are Teddy and Chloe)

Bunny Miller, Founder and Treasurer (my dog is Cally)

Andrea Rounds, Secretary (my dog is Davy)

Members

Mike Cranson (my dog is Bubba)

Rich Gottlieb (my dog is Ripley)

Mil Kinsella (Save-A-Lab foster parent extraordinaire)

Josh Leard (my dog is Juno)

How Can You Support The Portsmouth Dog Park?

If you can do any of the things listed above or if you have any creative ideas to support the Portsmouth Dog Park, please download and complete the form below and send it back to us   OR   save the downloaded form and email it to info@portsmouthdogparkri.com We appreciate your time!  

HOW CAN I HELP (docx)

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THE HISTORY OF OUR DOG PARK

The Beginnings

 

On March 31, 2013, Oscar, a blind 15 year old Lhasa Apso, owned by Bunny Miller in Portsmouth, was attacked and killed outside of her townhouse by a neighbor’s dog that was running loose.  A vicious dog hearing was held a week later and sanctions imposed upon the attacking dog and his owners, but Mrs. Miller remained stunned by her senseless loss and Oscar’s unwarranted suffering. In trying to cope with the nightmare and wanting something positive to come from Oscar’s death, she immediately thought of the idea of a local dog park, since Oscar had enjoyed every dog park he’d visited. She petitioned the Portsmouth Town Council for permission to form a Planning Committee to research and establish a volunteer-based, 100% community-funded dog park within Portsmouth. The Council voted on June 10th to allow this project to begin.


Volunteer members came forward and the Portsmouth Dog Park Planning Committee began meeting in July. They soon adopted a mission statement and started researching dog parks in the northeast and across the country for best practices.


Selecting a site for the Dog Park proved difficult for several reasons: the Town does not own a good deal of open space that is not already heavily used for recreation; and much of that is located in residential areas; or the open space is privately or government owned; or it has historic significance.


Because of the mandate to raise all the necessary funds for building the dog park, the Committee was looking at open, flat, accessible, and easily fenced areas. As opposition from abutting residents began to surface wherever they looked, the Committee resolved to broaden its focus to include areas that would be less negatively impacted by a dog park and the daily traffic that it would attract. They also hoped to locate it as close to the center of Town as possible. This shift in focus led to Melville Park off West Main Road (Rt. 114).


The Melville Park Committee agreed to support the location of the Dog Park at an unused portion of the park that is high and dry, but heavily over-grown, near the entrance of the Park. It would take considerably more resources and time to develop this site, but the Dog Park Committee and the Town Council members felt that it was the most desirable location. It was centrally located on land donated to the Town by the US Department of the Interior for passive recreational purposes. Having the dog park located there would increase awareness of Melville Park itself as well as the neighboring campground. 


One problem was the additional costs of clearing and grading the land and treating it for non-renewal of the vegetation and parasites.  Check out the creative solution to that challenge!  The other drawback to this site was the condition of the Sullivan Drive, the main access to the Melville Park and Campground.  Sullivan Road has since been repaved.


During the process of site selection, the Dog Park Committee conducted a survey of the dog owners in Portsmouth to ascertain their support and potential for regular usage. The results from 449 completed surveys indicated that 86% supported having a dog park in Portsmouth and 58% of those in favor indicated that they would use it daily or several times per week. 40% would support fundraising activities.


At a regular meeting on April 25, 2014, the Town Council unanimously approved locating a dog park at this site within Melville Park, applauding the Dog Park Committee for it’s thoroughness and efforts, and asking them to return to the Council with the results of their fundraising and design plans. In May, the Council authorized the Town Finance Director to set up a restricted receipt account in a local bank. The account was opened in early August and the solicitation for donations began in September.

Oscar's Story by Bunny Miller

 In 2002 my physician advised me to begin serious walking for my health. There are many wonderful spots to walk on Aquidneck Island and beyond, but I noticed that most walkers were accompanied by their dogs. Since I had retired from full time employment and my last cat had died recently, I began the search for a canine companion. Because I traveled often to visit my mother in Virginia, my dog needed to be under 40 pounds to meet the requirement of her housing complex. And because I was officially a senior citizen, I needed to consider the size and strength of any dog I would be walking. 

Find out more about Oscar

How a herd of goats helped create the Portsmouth Dog Park

 Check out how the Dog Park rose from heavily overgrown "dense vegetation" into a haven of fun for dogs and their owners alike!  No challenge too great! 

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OSCAR'S STORY

Oscar's Story

 

In 2002 my physician advised me to begin serious walking for my health. There are many wonderful spots to walk on Aquidneck Island and beyond, but I noticed that most walkers were accompanied by their dogs. Since I had retired from full time employment and my last cat had died recently, I began the search for a canine companion. Because I traveled often to visit my mother in Virginia, my dog needed to be under 40 pounds to meet the requirement of her housing complex. And because I was officially a senior citizen, I needed to consider the size and strength of any dog I would be walking.


My search took me to 8 or 10 nearby shelters, none of which had any dogs meeting my desired weight limitations. Friends and the Internet provided me with a few more options, but the perfect dog for me did not materialize right away.


During this time, Oscar, a 22-pound sherry and white Lhasa Apso, was living with an elderly gentlemen in Portsmouth. When his owner needed to move into a nursing facility, Oscar was passed along to his home caregiver. Soon after, the caregiver moved out of state and Oscar found himself with yet another owner, who was forced to give him away again within a few months. Confused and troubled, Oscar ran away at the first opportunity and was found wandering lost, with no identification, and was taken to the Potter League for Animals. They held him for 30 days, thinking that someone would claim a fairly young, purebred dog, but no one did. Then he went out for adoption – an adoption that didn’t take. At the same time he was returned to the League, I was visiting there for a consultation about another dog I was considering. The League personnel thought that Oscar and I would make a good match, so I adopted him instead in the spring of 2003. And what a match that turned out to be!


Oscar couldn’t get enough of the long walks. He loved riding in the car with me everywhere, behaved himself at meetings and other people’s homes where I would go, and we became inseparable. Oscar especially loved dog parks and I did too. Dog owners are a special breed. We visited dog parks from Massachusetts to Florida. Since I live in a condo with leash restrictions and no yard of my own, being off-leash was a particular treat for him. He was very social with other dogs and people, and often it would take a cooperative effort to round him up and get him leashed in order for us to leave.

We had a wonderful ten years together. As he aged, he developed some health problems related to the breed, including progressive loss of sight. By age 15 he was completely blind, but still frisky and enjoying his walks. On the evening of March 31, 2013 at the end of a walk near my condominium complex, a boxer/pit bull mix dog, who was running loose in the neighborhood, raced out of the dark woods and viciously attacked Oscar, grabbing him by the neck and shaking him violently. Despite my repeated attempts to get Tyson to release him, Oscar’s neck was broken and he died in my arms. 


The end of Oscar’s life began the second part of this story. A vicious dog hearing was held a week later and sanctions imposed upon the attacking dog and his owners, but I remained stunned by my senseless loss and Oscar’s unwarranted suffering. In trying to cope with the nightmare and wanting something positive to come from Oscar’s death, I asked myself, “How would Oscar want to be remembered?” The answer was clear to me – a dog park! So I petitioned the Portsmouth Town Council for permission to form a Planning Committee to research and establish a volunteer-based, 100% community-funded dog park within Portsmouth. The Council voted on June 10,, 2013 to allow this project to begin.

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