Resolution to rename Surfside's 'Bark Park' fails

Bark Park resolution fails

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After people who live near a dog park in Surfside Beach said the barking had them fed up, the town council failed to pass a resolution Tuesday to change the name from a "Bark Park."

A group of neighbors and a Surfside Beach councilman tried to pass the 'Good Neighbor Dog Park' resolution Tuesday, but failed. They said it was the answer to the barking issue, but several council members and the mayor agreed it was a waste of time.

On Tuesday, Councilman Randle Stevens proposed a resolution asking the town to stop referring to the park as a "Bark Park," and to impose a fine on owners of dogs that make excessive noise.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Ann Franklin, who lives just across the street from the park.

But some dog park regulars say the barking really isn't that bad, and imposing a fine could be problematic.

"In all the time I've come here I've only heard a dog may once or twice get crazy about something," said Christine Palmer. She's been bringing her dog Happy to the park every morning since it opened.

Jeff Sand and Mac make the same daily trip, too. He's familiar with the new resolution and thinks town council should focus on other more pressing issues. "I think it's a waste of time," said Sand.

Council member Mark Johnson expressed a similar opinion at the meeting Tuesday, saying: "Even changing the name of the park to 'The Dog Park,' I think if we do that, we might as well form a committee of local citizens to teach the dogs how to read the signs."

Surfside Councilman Randle Stevens drafted the resolution after receiving several complaints from neighbors. Stevens himself says he can relate to the loud noise. He lives directly next to the park.

The resolution asked for the Town of Surfside Beach to stop referring to it as 'Bark Park,' stating doing so actually encourages dog owners to allow the barking. Instead, it should simply be called 'Dog Park'. The resolution would have also installed new signs placed on the park's fence, asking dog owners to "control dog barking and loud noise." The signs would have listed the Surfside Beach laws already in place for cleaning up after pets and the fines people face if they don't.

"It's just a reminder that we are neighbors and we need to treat each other courteously ," added Franklin.

Surfside Beach Mayor Douglas F. Samples said the council had more important issues to work on, including the budget.

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