West Side dog park sought

Roxy, a golden retriever, happily plays fetch at Golden Valley Dog Park in Canyon Country. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Stevenson Ranch residents are circulating a petition to bring the county’s first dog park to unincorporated northern Los Angeles County.

There are currently no county-maintained dog parks overseen by the northern agency of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, said department spokesman Kevin Jimenez.

That includes the Santa Clarita Valley, where residents of the unincorporated areas must go to the city of Santa Clarita-maintained dog park for their dogs to run free.

This issue frustrated Stevenson Ranch resident Jay Lai, who was worried about the safety of his two pet beagles.

“Stevenson Ranch traffic is getting heavier, and there’s a lot of people driving and speeding,” he said. “We’re afraid of dogs who want to play, getting hit by cars or getting run over.

Having a dog park will increase the safety for the community.”

Lai began a petition circulated to Stevenson Ranch residents through the social media website NextDoor. As of Wednesday, more than 200 people had signed, many of whom passed on the petition through word of mouth, Lai said.

“Every day when I walked my dog around the area, I talked to people and sent them the link,” he said. “It’s been up for a month and a half but so far a lot of people agree.”

The county is working with the residents to assess whether a dog park is feasible, said Tony Bell, spokesman for 5th Supervisorial District Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Barger’s office oversees the unincorporated SCV, and has begun working with the constituents to formally submit their concerns to the West Ranch Town Council.

From there, the council, which is an advisory body to the county, would decide whether the community needs a dog park and request a feasibility study along with submitting the petition to the Parks and Recreation Department, Bell said.

“If the council is OK with it, we would have a study and a needs assessment would be completed to gauge the level of funding needed through” the Los Angeles County Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks and Beaches Measure of 2016, Bell said. “We’re working with the constituents and the town council.”

Lai confirmed he had spoken with Bell and other field representatives from the county.

“Right now, we go to Central Park (in Santa Clarita), but that park is a dirt park,” he said. “Our dogs always need a shower after they play. So I hope Stevenson Ranch can have a grass park, which is cleaner.”

Potential locations that have been discussed include a park located at the junction of Pico Canyon Road and Stevenson Ranch Parkway, or the Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park near Stevenson Ranch Elementary School.

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