VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Finn, Boomer and Nelly are happy to be playing with their friends at the Bayville Dog Park off Shore Drive in Virginia Beach.
The dog parks reopened last Friday, and pet owners are delighted. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the dog parks had been closed since March 25.
“Being able to reopen some of the amenities that people enjoy is important. I think people being out with their pets is a great way to get socialization, not only for them, but for their pets,” said Julie Braley, the spokesperson for the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department.
She said the dog parks have grown in popularity. Right now, there are four dog parks in the city, with a fifth being built in the Marshview Park area.
“We’re really happy, because Finn loves the dog park, and during quarantine he had no other dogs to play with and he really likes being around other dogs,” said Kylan Carini, Finn's owner.
Her sister, Kalyssa Carini, said their 8-month-old puppy is so overjoyed to be running around.
She said, “Before quarantine, we were here almost every day.”
City staff are set up outside at the dog parks, taking extra steps to keep people safe by wiping down areas that are frequently touched. They will also be enforcing a limit of 10 people at a time and monitoring social distancing.
“I think they’re really good precautions,” said Nina Ford. She said her doggy daycare is still closed, so the dog park gives her dog a place to get some exercise.
People and pets are glad to get outside and off the leash.
“It’s important for dogs to learn how to interact with other dogs,” said Kylan Carini.
Scott Westfall brought his two dogs, and said he is glad the dog parks are open, especially since dogs are no longer allowed on the beach between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
And around Hampton Roads, dog parks remain closed in Chesapeake, Newport News, and Norfolk, but are open in Suffolk, according to city officials.
Here are the dog parks in Virginia Beach:
Bayville Farms Park | 4132 First Court Road
Red Wing Park | 1398 General Booth Blvd
Salem Woods Park | 1525 Salem Road
The Woodstock Dog Park is temporarily closed for park improvements and has been moved to Providence Park in the meantime.
The City of Virginia Beach also recently opened the tennis courts and skate parks.