0

Dog park watch program aims to keep pets, owners safe

SNELLVILLE - Blond Boy Rock-N-Roll, a 6-year-old golden retriever, takes his owner Nick Demos for a stroll in the evening at the dog park at Lenora Park.

"Because dogs are pack animals, it's good to bring him here to be around other dogs, their smells," Demos said. "He gets to socialize with other dogs and be a good citizen."

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation officials are asking Blond Boy and his friends to be their eyes and ears at the dog park and the entire park area.

"We're just expanding the Neighborhood Watch program into the parks and other facilities," said Kim Joens, a Gwinnett County Park and Recreation coordinator, who organized the Neighborhood Dog Park Watch program Thursday evening at Lenora Park.

"We're targeting specific users. We want them to be the eyes and ears of the whole park," Joens said. "Police can't be everywhere. We want them to let us know the good and not so desirable, such as a suspicious vehicle."

Or something suspicious in the canine variety, unattended dogs or waste not being picked up.

There should be plenty of eyes and ears at Lenora. Blond Boy and Demos live only a mile away, but some canines come from 30 to 45 minutes away, said Bill Boudreaux.

"I don't think people expected the parks to be so popular," he said. "I come here everyday. I have a boxer that needs the exercise."

Boudreaux shares the boxer, named Lola, with his daughter Kimberly who lives in Atlanta.

"I've coined the term 'dog share,'" said Boudreaux, 63. His daughter moved home to Snellville a couple years ago when she was in college, and got Lola. When she graduated from UGA and got a job in Atlanta, Boudreaux said he became attached to Lola, who he keeps every other week or so.

In Atlanta, there is only Piedmont Park, while Gwinnett County has three dog parks, Lenora, Pinckneyville and Ronald Reagan, he said.

"We don't have neighborhoods like we used to," Demos said, as Blond Boy ran around on his leash, chasing friends. "We have a little community here at the dog park. We know everyone's name, we see the same people everyday."