New off-leash dog park gives pets a place to play

Juli Loo
Juli Loo

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

HAWAII KAI (KHNL) - Many dog owners are taking advantage of a new off-leash dog park in Hawaii Kai.

But Oahu still needs more places for man's best friend to roam.

Simba and Rocco Moonie enjoy the new Hawaii Kai dog park.

And so do their moms.

"I'm happy that it's here," said dog owner Juli Loo. "So hopefully he can make new friends."

"I love it. We live in an apartment, it's total cement. And he's just a baby," said dog owner Debra Wilkins. "He needs room to play. This is great. We just found out about it, we love it."

"Sometimes I go running around here, and evening time is pretty crazy. Really crowded."

The Hawaiian Humane Society says that tell us something.

Is there a need for more opportunity where families can enjoy their pets? Yes. Definitely," said Kawehi Yim with the Humane Society.

Currently, there are only five parks on the island allowing dogs to run around without leashes.

Only certain parks allow them with a leash.

And at many big parks -- like Kapiolani and Ala Moana -- dogs aren't allowed at all.

With close to a fourth of all Oahu homes with a dog, the Humane Society says that should be changed.

"More people are realizing that pets are part of our families, so lets look at ways we can incorporate pets into our planning initiatives," said Yim.

The Humane Society isn't asking for more dog parks.

But it would like more parks where people and their pets can play, and socialize with others.

"My goal is to have him make lots of friends,"  said Loo.

"It's therapeutic for the owners, therapeutic for the pets, give them a chance to run and play. And I hate to keep him bottled, up it's just therapeutic. It's great," said Wilkins.

A spokesman for the City says they are in favor of dog parks.

But it's a question of demand and cost.

The Hawaii Kai dog park was built in a public, private partnership between the City and members of the community.