GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Another day, another survey and another ranking, and if you live in Greensboro, this is one you can howl about.
If you live in Winston-Salem, well, maybe you should tuck your tail between your legs and walk away.
We are talking about a ranking of the “Best Dog Park Cities,” and Greensboro is No. 12 on that list of 93 of the biggest cities based on dog-park access and quality, as compiled by LawnStarter.com, which comes up with a lot of “bests” lists.
In this one, though, that’s not Winston-Salem, which ranked fifth – from the bottom. Or, as LawnStarter put it, the city was among the “runts of the litter.”
In looking ahead to July as being National Lost Pet Prevention Month – did you know that? We didn’t – LawnStarter evaluated cities and their dog parks based on access, quality and climate. This was broken down by the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents, ratings and historical weather data.
We know about the weather – especially in the heat of July and the cold of January – but some of the other information might be a bit vague.
Greensboro was tied for first (with Toledo, Ohio; Irving, Texas; and Lubbock, Texas) for the highest share of top-rated dog parks and tied for third (with Lubbock) on the highest average rating of dog parks. Winston-Salem was No. 4 on the list of lowest averages for ratings.
Raleigh ranked No. 70 overall, but no other city in North Carolina made the list, which was based on 100 U.S. cities matching the sample in The Trust for Public Land’s annual City Parks Survey. Seven cities didn’t meet the data requirements, the release from LawnStarter said.
The cities that ranked higher than Greensboro? Well, San Francisco for the second consecutive year was No. 1 overall. That city apparently has more dogs than children, the release said. The city offers a waterfront dog park called Marina Green where dogs leashed dogs can walk across a lawn “as big as a football field.”
SF was followed by Henderson, Nevada; Portland, Oregon; Tampa; Las Vegas; Oakland, California; Irving, Reno, Nevada; Norfolk, Virginia; Lubbock and Toledo.
Portland ranked first for most dog parks per 100,000 residents, and Irving had the average highest rating. If you care about it, there were seven cities in Arizona tied for first in Most Sunshine. The least were Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Anchorage, Alaska; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle.
“Dogs parks are only as successful as the demand from the people who visit them,” Kimberly Ange-van Heugten, an associate professor of animal science at North Carolina State University said in the release. “In my opinion, the more enforcement of the rules, the better. Accidents are somewhat common at dog parks for both dogs and people, and thus we need to focus on community safety.
“I believe an off-leash park is possible but not for dogs new to a park. Perhaps the best idea is to have an off-leash park for visitors who have accessed the park for 20 visits or more without an incident and on-leash for those who are newer (while they better learn their animals and their own ability to control their animals). This requires enforcement and someone controlling the guidelines, and not all communities are willing to support their parks to this level.
“Parks should require local standard vaccinations and parasite preventatives, as well. Large parks should pay for attendants to ensure rules are followed, and while I know this is unpopular, it keeps the animals safe.
LawnStarter’s research highlighted superlatives and provide advice from several experts.
“Over 50% of American households own a dog, and thus taking space for people to interact with their animals makes natural sense,” Ange-van Heugten said. “Also, the more people can go outside with their animal, the more they will get exercise — a “win win” for everyone.”