PORTSMOUTH — Does Portsmouth really want an off-leash dog park? That’s what a volunteer committee would like to know.
Caroline “Bunny” Miller, chairwoman of the Portsmouth Dog Park Planning Committee, will ask the Town Council tonight, Jan. 13, for permission to ask residents their opinion on the park in a survey that would go out with the town’s mailing of dog license renewals.
“Because, as you know, opposition is often very vocal and support silent, the Dog Park Planning Committee would like to ascertain the amount of support there is among dog owners in Portsmouth for an off-leash dog park in town before we store up any more controversy,” Ms. Miller stated in a Jan. 6 letter to Town Council President James Seveney.
The council established the volunteer committee in June 2013 to explore the possibility of establishing a fenced, off-leash park similar to one in Barrington. The panel has considered property near the Portsmouth Middle School and the Glen as possible sites for the park.
Ms. Miller is seeking permission to include a half-page, double-sided survey included in the license renewals, a “piggy-back” approach necessary because the committee has no operating funds, she said.
“Members have volunteered to assist the Town Clerk’s office with collation and stuffing the envelopes in February. We would place a collection box in the clerk’s office for the incoming surveys,” she stated in the letter.
The proposed survey asks residents three yes-or-no questions:
• Are you in favor of an off-leash dog park in the Town of Portsmouth?
• Are you and your dog(s) likely to visit a dog park in Portsmouth?
• As we more forward in the development of a dog park for Portsmouth, might you be interested in participating in a pet memorial and/or other fund-raising events?
The proposed survey also asks for contact information, which the panel assures would be held confidentially.
The Town Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.