The Humane Society of St. Joseph is taking the first steps toward building a dog park in St. Joseph. A dog park is a designated area where dogs can safely and legally socialize, play and exercise off-leash.

St. Joseph has many fine park amenities and a park system that is the envy of similar sized cities. However, St. Joseph does not provide an off-leash dog park, an amenity that in the last 10 years many citizens expect from their towns. St. Joseph is the largest city in the state without a dog park.

Why is the Humane Society of St. Joseph interested in building a dog park?

  1. As the city continues to grow, a dog park would be a great addition. Attracting top talent and new families is a priority for our community. Pets are important members of many young professionals families.
  2. Promotes responsible dog ownership. Dog parks prevent animals from infringing on the rights of other community residents such as joggers, walkers and those who may be fearful of dogs.
  3. Makes for a better community by promoting health and safety. Well-exercised and socialized dogs are better neighbors who are less likely to create a nuisance, bark excessively and have aggressive tendencies.
  4. Dog parks enable people with disabilities and senior citizens who cannot always walk their dogs a safe alternative.
  5. Allows dogs to exercise and socialize safely. Dogs need room to run, and enclosed play areas permit them to do so while preventing them from endangering themselves and others (for example, by running into the path of an oncoming vehicle). In addition, dogs that are accustomed to playing with animals and people other than their owners are more likely to be well socialized and react well toward strangers.
  6. Provides an outlet for dog owners to socialize. Dog parks are a great place for owners to meet other people with common interests. The love people share for their dogs reaches beyond economic and social barriers and helps to foster a sense of community. Park users also benefit from the opportunity to ask questions of other owners and find solutions to problems they might be having with their pet.


To keep the park running smoothly, we will develop a culture in the park wherein patrons will learn the following:

  • To be considerate of other patrons
  • Clean up after their dog
  • Be vigilant in supervising their dog
  • Mentor new users in dog park etiquette
  • Become comfortable in confronting users that are causing problems
  • Feel an ownership in the park and care about its success
  • Feel comfortable and safe in the park
  • Respect and obey the rules


From September to October of 2010 we conducted an online feasibility survey concerning the development of a dog park in our community.
We had 480 people participate in the survey and the following is a brief overview.

Do you think St. Joseph could benefit from an area where dogs could safely play off-leash?

Yes 92.8%
No 5.1%
I don't know 2.3%

If St. Joseph had a dog park, how many times a week do you feel you would visit?

0 10.5%
1-2 47.7%
3-4 30.9
5-6 7.8%
7 or more 4.1%

Would you be willing to use the dog park if there was a separate area for small dogs?

No 6.3%
Yes 86.1%
I don't know 8.0%

What type of features would you like to see at a dog park?

Waste stations & garbage receptacles 91.4%
Shaded areas 89.3%
Benches for people 88.6%
People/dog water fountains 82.7%
Restrooms 78.1%
Separate area for small dogs 76.1%
Water feature for dogs to play in 67.5%
Lighting 61.8%
Shelter from weather 54.6%
Dog training/agility equipment 45.4%
Rinse off area 44.3%
Bulletin board for member use 43.2%
Sandbox for dogs who like to dig 29.2%
Time out kennels for dogs 21.5%

What is most important to you for a safe dog park?

Cleanliness 45.4%
Maintenance 38.4%
Security 35.4%
Separate area for small dogs 28.4%
Park amenities-lights, water, etc. 28.0%
Area/size 25.8%
Hours of operation 22.9%
Location 21.7%

Would you be willing to pay an annual membership fee for use of the dog park?

Yes 53.1%
No 17.8%
I don't know 29.0%

We are currently in the process of getting our costs for building and maintaining the dog park. We will keep you updated as to our progress on this website.

If you would like to make a donation to help build/maintain the dog park please click here.

Playing with pets outside