Waco’s single off-leash dog park at risk of closing due to low funding

Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 9:52 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -Organizers are working to save Waco’s only off-leash dog park.

A meeting was held over the weekend to discuss the possibility of Hot Dog Park closing due to low funding to fix tree damage from storms.

The park’s board president, Michael Wellborn, said the main issue is there’s trees that are either dead or knocked down.

But since the park is privately owned, funding solely comes from small donations.

“As a result of the drought, I’m not an arborist, but something happens with the trees. It’s not good, and they’ve been falling down.”

Wellborn said the dying trees plus the winds from storms have caused limbs to smash into fences or fall over and create a home for unwanted guests.

“The problem with the tree being down like this is very quickly, it becomes a snake habitat. Which is dangerous for people and for dogs,” said Wellborn.

The park is at risk of closing because it’s funded from little donations.

Wellborn said there isn’t enough money to hire crews for the fences or arborists to tend to the trees.

“For Waco, it makes me feel pretty bad. This dog park has been here for 14 years. It’s become a staple of Waco. And it is the heart of Texas dog park,” said Wellborn.

Wellborn said folks mainly strategized ways to get more volunteers and consistent donations at Saturday’s meeting.

“Quite a few people use the park, but they don’t understand that this isn’t a Waco Park. They don’t understand that this isn’t covered by Waco Parks and Recs.”

Wellborn said the situation is bigger than just the dogs.

The goal is to keep a large green space for future generations to enjoy.

“Without that, people just won’t have that outlet. It’ll be a shame to close that. We are in the heart of Texas and that name stands for something; this park should bear that name,” said Wellborn.

Click here to volunteer for the dog park.

Click here to donate.