Update, 1/28: Read the lastest story on the dog park.
The Midtown Community council recently got approval from the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Committee to turn part of a park at Arctic and 31st into Anchorage's first fenced dog park. The plan must still be approved by the Animal Control Advisory Board.
Here's some background on the project from a previous blog post. In a nutshell, the Midtown Community Council was looking for help cleaning up the park. It had become a gathering place for an undesirable element, and the neighborhood no longer felt comfortable using the park. The council did a lot of research, including getting advice from the Anchorage Police, and settled on a dog park. The thought is that a steady stream of dog park users to the park would make it a less desirable place to gather for other purposes.
I'm excited about the prospect. While I admit that some of the most knowledgeable dog people I know want nothing to do with public dog parks, I think they're a viable alternative for many dogs. Yes, there are risks, but it some cases I think the benefits to the dog -- the chance to improve social skills, exercise, etc., -- can outweigh those risks. If you don't have a better alternative for socialization and exercise, a fenced dog park might help.
You don't have to Google far to see lots of examples where dog parks have successfully helped clean up parks Outside. The Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., was turned into a cemetery/dog park for that very reason, and it's worked.
What do you think of the idea?