Passionate dog lovers brought their concerns to the Royal Palm Beach’s Village Council last week about unsafe conditions for canines at the dog park located at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park.
According to residents attending the Thursday, March 7 meeting, dogs are being injured by sharp stones that village staff laid out along fences to discourage dogs from running up and down along the fence.
Longtime La Mancha resident and former Councilman David Swift stepped up to the microphone during the public comment period, carrying a dog bowl full of the offending rocks, which he passed around to council members.
“I guess I fail to understand this logic at all,” he said. “We bring our dogs to a safe place to get them some exercise, and staff lays down a bed of stones to prevent dogs from running in a dog park. I guess I am confused as to why the village did that.”
Swift went on to say that conditions at the park have deteriorated and the facility is being poorly maintained.
Amy Harvey said she came to the council meeting to see her representatives directly because numerous calls to staff were achieving nothing.
“I put calls into [Parks & Recreation Director] Lou Recchio, who told me they deliberately put stones along the fence to stop dogs from running along the inside fence of the dog park,” said Harvey, a regular user of the facility. “I have seen numerous dogs cut themselves with pad and paw injuries, and one poor dog broke its leg and tore ligaments on the stones.”
Swift challenged the council to take quick action.
“Now that you have cut the number of council meetings in half, you now have all the time in the world to call a special meeting on dog parks, and I encourage you to visit the dog park and see this situation for yourself,” he said.
Mayor Fred Pinto tasked village staff to look into the situation and make the facilities safe.
Harvey told the Town-Crier after the meeting that she believes the situation will improve.
“The council seemed to take Dave Swift’s and my concerns very seriously and had been unaware until now just how poorly the dog park was being maintained,” she said. “Rocks will no longer be used to fill in the holes, but the rocks along the fence lines will remain for now.”
In other news:
• The council presented Robin Cronk with her 15-year service award. Cronk is a secretary in the Village Clerk’s office. “She is the face of the village, the first staffer many people see as they come up to the window in the lobby. She is our ambassador,” Pinto said.
The mayor thanked her for the many years of service and pointed out that most people don’t know that Cronk’s duties include updating the variable message signs that are visible throughout the village.
• The council unanimously passed five agenda items, with little discussion, that granted changes in land use designation for 27 tracts of land totaling about 110 acres south of Southern Blvd. and west of State Road 7.
The sites, part of the Tuttle Royale project, were previously zoned low density under county jurisdiction. About four years ago, Royal Palm Beach annexed the site, which was formerly rural in nature and included an animal preserve. The changes last week pave the way for the developer to move forward on planned commercial uses and various densities of residential uses of the property.