Dog park goers up in arms about removal of amenities at Meridian Dog Park

WICHITA, Kansas – Dog owners who frequent Meridian Park are up in arms, after the city took away some of the amenities they had to help keep dogs cool during the heat.

The Friends of the Meridian Dog Park is a Facebook group with more than 150 people who take their four legged friends to the park on a regular basis.

Some of the dog park goers felt it was in their best interest to make some improvements to the park, one that almost has no shaded areas where dogs can escape the heat.

Robert Rasdon is a licensed contractor and frequents the park with his one-year-old dog, Merle Dixon.

He spent his time and money last Saturday building a shaded shelter for dog owners and their pets.

Not even a week later, the Parks and Recreation Department with the city of Wichita told Rasdon he had to tear it down.

“It was just a temporary fix to a problem we have out here, people are already kind of up in arms the fact we had to take it down,” said Rasdon.

Larry Hoetmer, with Wichita’s Parks and Recreation Department, says the shelter Rasdon built wasn’t approved by the department.

Hoetmer says citizens can’t build structures on city land without permission and that they followed the rules by tearing down the shade shelter.

“That structure was built without any communication with the park department and whenever we build something in a park environment, we need to make sure that it is built to code, that it’s safe,” said Hoetmer.

On top of the shelter being torn down, dog owners who brought kiddie pools to help keep their dogs cool were asked to remove them, after numerous complaints were filed about them.

“We were trying to help with the safety of the dogs, and there well being and this has kind of taken us a step back,” said Stephanie Dechant, Administrator for the Friends of Meridian Dog Park Facebook group.

The city says to solve that issue they will install a cooling system, which will be paid for through fundraising efforts.

They plan to install that system within the next two to three weeks.


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