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    Man’s best friend now has a big playground in Fayetteville. The Riverside Dog Park, operated by Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation, is now open. The park is located at 355 N. Eastern Blvd, also known as U.S. 301, across from the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.
    {mosimage}Dogs can roam within 6 feet high fenced areas at the 5-acre park. Small dogs under 25 pounds have a playpen of their own with three benches for owners. Larger K-9s have two sections to gallivant in, one with six benches, another with three.
    Parks staff constructed and landscaped the park, which includes two bridges, one connecting the parking lot to the park and another between the two large dog spaces.
    A committee, called Bark for a Park, raised approximately $20,000 for the park construction. The committee did research on rules and regulations and the setup of the park.
    Judie Stoddard, committee chair, thanked Liliana Parker, the original committee chair and current committee member, for her work and said a petition signed by 900 people helped give the dog a bone, so to speak. The committee presented the petition to the Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation advisory board along with their proposal.
    To get to the park: Citizens coming from downtown or western Fayetteville will access the park from N. Eastern Blvd/U.S. 301/Interstate 95 Business by turning right onto the service road at the entrance to the botanical garden and going under the bridge and around the U-shaped service road.
    Residents coming from the other direction, from Eastover, Wade and Godwin, turn right onto the service road and then make a left.
    Rules — When you get to the park, remember to abide by these rules:
    • The hours are from dawn to dusk;
    • All dogs must be legally licensed and have current vaccinations. Tags must be securely attached to the dogs collar;
    •Owners are liable for any injury or damage caused by their dog and are fully responsible for the actions of their dog;
    •Dogs must be at least four months old;
    •Dogs in heat or that are sick or injured are prohibited;
    •No animals other than dogs may be brought into the dog park;
    •All dogs outside the enclosed fenced area must be on a six-foot maximum leash;
    •Dog owners must carry a leash and remain inside the fenced area within view and voice command of their dogs at all times;
    •Dogs showing aggressive behavior must be removed immediately. Owners must immediately leash their dog and leave the park;
    •Excessive barking is prohibited. Dogs barking excessively must be removed from the dog park;
    •Owners must collect and dispose of all dog waste. On-site containers are provided;
    •Smoking and food are not allowed in the park;
    •No more than two dogs per person are allowed on any single visit;
    •No spiked, pronged, pinch or choke collars are allowed in park;
    •Children accompanying dog owners must be strictly supervised and at least 12 years old to be allowed inside the dog park. Spectators should remain outside the fenced area;
    •The small dog enclosure is for dogs weighing less than 25 pounds;
    •Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation staff has the authority to close the park for maintenance, weather related problems, emergencies and special events;
    •For emergencies, call 911.
    For more information about the park, call Stoddard at 484-6619.
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