Dog day at the park – with new rules

Joseph Metz/The Sun
Pups in the Park marked the implementation of a township ordinance that allows leashed dogs at Chestnut Branch Park.

Mantua Township hosted its first Pups in the Park event at Chestnut Branch Park on May 4, when about a dozen dog owners accompanied their pooches for a K-9-themed day.

The event marked implementation of a recent township ordinance that allows leashed dogs at Chestnut Branch, which is now equipped with cleanup stations and signs so canines can better acclimate to it. The day was organized by the township recreation committee.

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“This event was significant for our community, as we were finally able to celebrate our beautiful park becoming dog friendly,” said Mayor Robert Zimmerman. “Fortunately, the weather held off on a dreary and damp day, and we had a very nice turnout for the dog parade and other celebratory activities.

” … The transition to become dog friendly has gone quite smoothly over the past couple of months,” he added of the park. “It has been a positive experience to date.”

The day included a pup parade, and its first hour was spent by attendees registering their dogs for the event with cards that featured the names of both pets and owners and a fun fact about each pooch. They were read by Zimmerman and Committeewoman Eileen Lukens.

Representatives from PetSmart, Earthwise Pet Supply and Daminger’s Natural Pet Foods gave out free treats and pet supplies. The township police K-9 unit was also on hand to distribute free T-shirts.

Pups in the Park was also attended by local resident and Miss Avalon, Emily Cooney, who will compete as Miss New Jersey in the Miss Universe pageant.

“I really do think it brings the community together,” she noted of the day. “I live right down the street from Chestnut (Branch Park), and having a dog in my household for so long has been amazing. So to be able to bring it out to the park is really special. It’s fun to be at an event like this. I’m a huge dog lover.”

A DJ was on hand to provide dog-themed music that included “Who Let the Dogs Out,” by the Baha Men. Zimmerman also urged residents to follow the park’s new dog guidelines.

“We continue to ask for cooperation in keeping dogs on leashes at all times, and for dog owners to clean up after their pets when visiting our facility,” he said. “I’d like to thank our recreation committee for organizing this event and thank all those who participated in commemorating this milestone for our furry family members of Mantua.”

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