A little housekeeping news . . . we do these member mailers so you will be informed and will enjoy your dog park while keeping it at its best.

MSD DAMAGE to our fence
Anybody got any “juice” inside MSD?

The crew cutting grass for MSD has been consistently banging our fence from the River Des Peres side of the dog park. There are several indentations – we can tell by the direction of the “hit” that it did not happen from inside our dog park. Recently – those workers were working close to the fence and gouged a hole in the fence big enough for a medium size dog (50-70lbs) to squeeze through it. Upon investigating this further – we also found a smaller hole that a small dog could squeeze through. We know this is recent – because within the past week or so – we have had two members report the hole. We put up a board to temporarily cover the hole.

* Photo of large hole was taken from a down angle and is a bit distorted; makes hole look much smaller than it actually is.

We do not believe that our dog park should have to fund the repair or sit back and allow MSD to continue to damage our fence. Our members paid for this fence in 2006 during the initial development of our dog park – and – we are responsible for any repairs required due to normal wear and tear or discretionary upgrades (like our new front fence and gate). We should not have to absorb the financial burden for repairs/replacement for damage caused by outside entities.

Hopefully, seeking remedy will not turn into a David and Goliath battle. But, we are the little guy, and we doubt we will reach a satisfactory outcome unless we can quickly find a sympathetic – and fair – contact within the gigantic MSD organization.

Anybody have any contacts within MSD? Do you have a friend or family within your sphere of influence that might have a contact? We need someone with a good degree of clout or inside organizational knowledge to help us work through appropriate channels

NOTE: We have a contractor that cuts and trims the inside of our grounds and they also cut and trim on three of the outside areas of our park – they NEVER go to the RDP side. And St Louis City Parks Dept (to best of our knowledge) does not maintain any of the area bordering RDP. This is MSD turf.


Water Stations 2, 3, 4 are closed for balance of season.

Water source for refilling buckets as follows:

Water Station 1 will service Main Playground
Water Station 5 (Dog Wash) will service Alternate Playground

The underground sprinkler system and the three mentioned water stations are not freeze proof – and we close them in early November each year.

NOTE: When weather is extreme for long periods – even the freeze proof stations occasionally freeze over. When this happens, members should bring jugs of water from home (milk jugs work great for this).


Black rubber buckets should be replenished with fresh water. Important to keep dogs well hydrated – even in this colder weather. Please refill them on a regular basis as they tend to get filled with straw, dirt, spit, and worse.

We plan to purchase a few more black buckets in near future. The white buckets are in storage until the warm weather and next season.


Within next few days, we will move event balance of straw to Main Playground. The small straw maze will remain in Alternate. The loose bales are intended for turf coverage. Please do not scatter straw until the conditions are right for the project.

      • Spread a light layer of straw over the barest areas first. Cover the mud.
      • Only do this when it is slightly drizzling or we have a reliable weather forecast of immediate rain.
      • Wind will blow straw away if we put down without moist weather
      • Blowing money! We buy a LOT of straw and try to be frugal as possible – if we scatter in dry weather we are guaranteed to lose it to the wind.

The temporary Winter Shelter and the large straw climbing maze will be installed shortly before the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. This project will require a very large straw delivery some time mid-November. Watch for all of this activity – Main Playground.


We have talked about these topics until we feel like a broken record! Come on, folks…get it together.

  • Leashes
    • Take leash off in entry area; no leashed dogs in dog park – especially the gangway as you are going into the Main Playground
    • Humans must carry dog leash at all times; do not hang leashes in entry way – they will be useless if you need to take control of a situation
    • Be prepared to leash dog at first sign of trouble – so that you can control your animal and move him out of the way of a fight (this is different than walking your dog into or around the dog park on leash – which frequently creates a problem)
  • Gangway and Greeters
    • A dog entering the dog park can be overwhelmed if approached by multiple dogs piling on top of him or even one dog that might be coming on strong with an overbearing greeting or sniff job. Humans need to monitor this activity – do not let a gang of overly excited dogs pound on a dog trying his best to get into the main play area. Give the new arrivals some space. So many of our issues stem from “greetings gone wrong”.
  • Collars and Tags
    • All dogs – at all times – must wear a collar and SWCDP tag
    • No Tag, No Admittance, No exceptions
  • FOBs and Accountability
    • Do not – ever – let anyone in with your FOB. YOU are responsible for your household actions while at the dog park. When you let someone else slip in under your FOB – SWCDP has no record of that person being at the dog park, and hence, this creates an enormous amount of trouble when trying to identify the correct members when an incident or other situation occurs.
    • You may be letting in non-members (trespassers) or members who have temporarily or permanently lost their membership status
  • Courtesy, Common Sense, Communication
    • It is not ok to kick someone’s dog or cause any situation in which an injury to anyone, canine or human, might arise; keep your cool when breaking up fights – don’t add to the problem
    • Cursing and threatening members is not ok; keep your cool in tense situations – don’t make matters worse by escalating with foul language or threats – then YOU become the problem
    • Most dog park situations can be resolved easily by simply talking to your fellow dog park members – find out what their needs and expectations are and share yours as well. Everyone at the dog park is there for the same reasons: enjoyment of the park, exercise and socialization for their dogs…so start from there. And, remember, we have many different play styles and different levels of dog ownership experience, too.
  • Reporting Incidents and Watch List
    • First Up: Please remember usage of SWCDP means “Use at your own risk” – see Rules and User Guide. This is a dog park – that means dogs, e.g., animals, are abundant and unpredictable behavior is possible.
    • We do not have the staff or means to monitor every dog park scuffle; there is no staff monitoring the daily interactions amongst the members, canines or humans. Honor system and common sense very important.
    • Safety and Incident Committee (SAIC) We are here to provide contact info when required to remedy an incident, such as an injury. We are here to help sort thru what happened – and find a reasonable outcome. This process is based on both (all) involved parties having a chance to tell their side of the story, as well as, including witness testimony when applicable. We also keep a Watch List for aggressive behavior that did not result in a fight or Incident Report; we monitor to see if a trend line of problems develops. All dogs can have a bad day or not get along with a few specific dogs – so we try very hard to give latitude and wiggle room. Our goal is to council those who have potential to improve and eliminate membership of extremely aggressive dogs that clearly should not be on the dog park playground. SWCDP has many success stories of dogs and humans who have blossomed at the dog park, even with a rocky start. Let’s help one another so every dog has a chance for a happy life.
    • Get names – of all parties involved in an incident, including witness testimony when possible, before filing an Incident Report. Asking your SWCDP volunteers to do all the research for you is dumping a huge amount of work on our already overflowing list of tasks.
    • More than once we have had reports like “a black dog did this” or “an old guy did that”. We cannot run a search on such little amount of info.
    • Sometimes when we think we may have found the correct identity – they are not logged into the access control system for that day and time….which means someone let them slip through the gate on their FOB. That is more work piled on us. We just don’t have the time and resources; it is not reasonable to expect your volunteer management team to do all the work.

Well…enough said for today. You get the idea. It takes ALL of us to keep this dog park running smoothly. Please pitch in and do your part. Remember, we have no paid staff – we are all donating our time, energy, skills, and sometimes, even money.

Arf til nextime