Local dog owners unhappy with loss of South Hill dog park

SPOKANE, Wash. — The future home for South Hill middle schoolers is squeezing out a popular place for pets, and under current plans, the expansive 15 acre dog park would be shrunk down to a tenth of the size it is now.

Pet owners are not happy with the plan. They say, for more than a decade, the park – next to Mullan Road Elementary School – has been one of the only places dogs can exercise off leash.

Now, community leaders and officials from the city and Spokane Public Schools (SPS) are trying to work on a solution.

In the not too distant future, the South Hill dog park is going to have to be leveled to make way for Carla Peperzak Middle School. The question remains for dog owners, where will they be able to take their furry friends off the leash?

People from all across Spokane have been going to the park for years to let their dogs stretch their legs and run free.

“It’s a place that brings the community together, in addition to helps everyone get exercise and also the pets get exercise,” said dog owner Savannah Jenkins.

“I do like this location, it’s my first time here, but it’s nice,” said Matt Crownover, another dog owner.

The almost 15-acre plot of land will soon be home to SPS students. The district says it needs just about every inch of the area for the new middle school.

What’s offered is a less than two acre plot next to the current park as a replacement. Dog park leaders say that won’t do.

“This square, this 1.75 is really a non-starter for us, it really is. We need at least 5 acres, relatively flat because many many of our users are elderly,” said David Delong, a dog park proponent.

The park itself is outside of Spokane city limits, but the Parks and Rec Department says it’s looking for a new spot inside the city which will be close to the same size.

“We’re going to have more focus groups, community open houses later this fall with the hopes to adopt a plan through the park board and then city council by the end of the year, at least the first of next year,” said Parks and Rec Director Garrett Jones.

Now, there isn’t an exact date as to when the dog park will be closed, but Carla Peperzak Middle School is expected to open for the 2023-2024 school year.