LAGUNA NIGUEL : ARF to Lead Drive for Dog Park Funds

The Animal Rescue Foundation, or ARF, has offered to lead a fund-raising drive for a proposed city dog park. But some residents have criticized it as an example of bureaucratic waste and placing pets’ needs before those of children.

“Our Laguna Niguel members are ready and willing to help,” ARF spokeswoman Mary Obenberger said. “It’s good for animals to come together and have their freedom.”

ARF’s fund-raising offer comes as welcome news to Laguna Niguel residents who had argued that money spent installing a dog park--which the city manager had said might reach $80,000--could be better spent on more recreational facilities for teen-agers.

“I didn’t know that there would be private fund-raising,” said resident Retta Mullaney, who originally argued against the plan but who now, after ARF’s announcement, said it might be an acceptable development.


Mayor Janet Godfrey suggested several months ago that the city look into building a park where dogs could run unleashed. She had said at the time that she expected pet lovers to help pay for the park.

A similar dog park in Laguna Beach is a popular gathering spot for South County dog owners, Godfrey said.

The dog park would probably be located next to Fire Station 49 on Street of the Golden Lantern. It would include benches, drinking fountains for people and different ones for the dogs, a plastic bag dispenser and a wrought-iron fence along Golden Lantern.

A tentative plan had called for building a new parking lot, but the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended instead that an existing lot on one side of the station be used and connected to the park by a path.


City landscape architect Nancy Palmer is finalizing the dog park plans, which will be considered by Park and Recreation commissioners at their Sept. 12 meeting.