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Some Oakmont residents are barking about a dog park in Dark Hollow

Michael DiVittorio
| Tuesday, July 24, 2018, 4:39 p.m.

Several Oakmont residents would like to see Dark Hollow Park go to the dogs — particularly off-leash ones.

Some community members want borough officials to consider creating a dog park or off-leash area in the woods near Crystal Drive.

“We love our dogs like children and want to provide them with as many fun exercises and experiences as possible,” resident Jennifer Torpie said. “A dog park is the perfect way to provide that opportunity.”

Torpie has two large mutts around 65-75 pounds; Kaylee, 5, and Addie, 4. The family used to go to dog parks in San Antonio when they lived in Texas, and haven’t found a close place in Allegheny County.

“We have checked out a few dog parks around Pittsburgh, but we haven’t found a dog park that is close enough to visit often.”

Resident Dave Decker has a 12-year-old boxer he’d like to take to a dog park, but there may not be enough space available in the borough.

“It would be awesome if we could have a dog park and a pool, but there’s not a lot of land,” Decker said. “I don’t think it will happen. I would love to have it.

There are signs in Dark Hollow to remind dog owners to keep them on a leash and to clean up after them.

Borough Manager Lisa Cooper Jensen said dogs must be leashed at all times in the borough unless on their owners’ properties. She said no proposals for a dog park or off-leash area were submitted this year.

Oakmont recreation board member Ryan Ehrlich took notice of discussions about the topic on social networking site and supports having an off-leash area in Dark Hollow.

Ehrlich said he’s taken his dog Croix, a 13-year-old yellow Labrador, to the woods many times.

“The woods is a nice asset for dog walkers,” Ehrlich said.

He said some residents have voiced opposition to the dog park, and hopes there can be some kind of compromise.

“There needs to be some discussion about it and hear both sides,” Ehrlich said. “I think you need to think about what can be a policy realizing both of those groups are constituents in Oakmont, and both have a right to use that property. I think with some work and some conversations something can be put in place. I think we can come up with something better.”

The recreation board briefly discussed dogs at Dark Hollow last month.

Ehrlich said those talks did not amount to much, and he plans on bringing the issue up again when the board reconvenes in August. He said it may take a while before any proposal reaches council.

Recreation board chairman Tom Bland did not return calls seeking comment.

An ordinance that would have permitted dogs off-leash in Dark Hollow Park was presented to council in October 2014. Borough documents indicate it never went up for a vote.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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