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Park and Recreation will begin phasing-out pooch passes, making it possible for dog owners to enjoy Mecklenburg County dog parks without a permit.

June 7, 2007

The Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department will phase out its fee for "pooch passes" in the coming year and allow use of County dog parks for free beginning July 1, 2008. Thereafter, pooch passes will no longer be sold or required.

This decision was made in consultation with the Off Leash Advisory Council, which endorsed the change. Dog owners must still vaccinate their animals against rabies in accordance with North Carolina statute and City/County ordinances.

"Parks departments in Raleigh, Ft. Myers, Richmond, New York City, Seattle, Portland, and other cities successfully run free dog parks without controlled entry," says Greg Jackson, Mecklenburg's Director of Park Operations. "Our re-evaluation led us to end pooch passes and let anyone use our dog parks for free. Dog owners are still responsible for their pets in the off-leash area."

Mecklenburg County operates dog parks at:
- McAlpine Creek Park, 8711 Monroe Road, Charlotte
- Reedy Creek Park, 2900 Rocky River Road, Charlotte
- Ramsey Creek Park, 18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius
- William R. Davie Park, 4635 Matthews-Pineville Road, Charlotte

The Park and Recreation Department initiated the pooch pass system in 2002 with the County's first dog park at McAlpine Creek Park. The intent was to monitor use, control access, and help fund dog parks and maintenance. As dog parks and pooch passes increased - more than 3,000 passes have been issued - the system has become increasingly cumbersome and expensive. This, plus the cost of building computerized, communications-linked, electric gate systems, caused the department to re-evaluate the need for passes.

Because pooch passes would otherwise expire at various times and because Mecklenburg County wishes to be fair to all users, passes sold in the coming year will be for decreasing duration with decreasing prices:

- Passes sold at full price in June ($35 for County residents) will be good for a full year.
- Passes sold in July, August, September 2007 will be $28.
- Passes sold in October, November, December 2007 will be $21.
- Passes sold in January, February, March 2008 will be $14.
- Passes sold in April, May, June 2008 will be $7.
    (Fees for non-county residents start at $50 for a full year and will reduce in similar increments.)

All passes will then expire at midnight June 30, 2008 and the electronic entry systems will be removed. Additional dog parks are still expected to be built in the future.


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