By Jerry Del Priore
On July 9th, 2018, council members Vicki Fife and Bob Weber had presented the idea of having an off-leash, 400-foot fenced-off dog area (back 40) at Shepard Kollock Recreational Park in the borough of Chatham, New Jersey.
The ordinance was up for adoption on Sept. 11 of that year and has been vital to dogs and their owners in the area ever since its inception.
But my girlfriend, Maggie and I are still surprised that many people in the area are unaware of Shepard’s Kollock Park’s dog area. It’s probably Chatham’s best-kept secret, that’s if you’re lucky enough to own one of man’s best friends.
Every opportunity that we get, we take our dog, Maya, a beautiful mixed plot hound/lab breed to Shepard Kollock Park — named after an editor and printer, who was active in colonial New Jersey during the period of the American Revolutionary War — to frolic and play with a host of other cute pups. And she loves it, to say the least.
If you plan on attending the park on the weekends, it’s best to get there approximately between 8:00-8:30 a.m. (when it isn’t as warm during the summer months) so your dog can run and roughhouse with other adorable, playful canines.
Don’t forget to bring water for your dog and gauge how hot the ground is before you let him/her loose.
The other benefit is the amazing hiking trail behind Shepard Kollock Park, where Maya runs amuck and jumps into the Passaic River, much to her unbridled delight.
Sure, they’ll get wet and filthy, but they’ll burn off that excess playful energy that can be much at times, while sleeping much better, not to mention be much happier.
And as a dog owner, what else could you ask for, for your dog?
Keep in mind there are certain rules you must follow. Here are a few:
- Owners must be clean up immediately after their dogs and place all waste in the appropriate receptacle (there are poop bags for your convenience).
- No dogs in heat are allowed in the off-leash area.
- No overly aggressive dogs are permitted in the off=leash region.
- Keep the number of dogs to two per handler.
- Make sure your dog is restricted to the off-leash area, as it is a public park.
Like I mentioned, there are more rules. So I provided a photo with all of them.
Shepard Kollock Park, located off Parrott Mill Road, also offers a covered picnic shelter, an all-purpose field for baseball and softball, a boat launch, and a fun playground for kids and kids at heart.