There is a critical need for an off-leash dog park in the densely populated urban Honolulu area encompassing the McCully, Punahou, Makiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako, and Downtown communities.
Since 2010, area residents have been attempting to obtain an off-leash dog park for the Makiki area. The Advocates for a Makiki Community Dog Park, a non-profit organization, have been working with the City & County of Honolulu, the Makiki Neighborhood Board, and area legislators to obtain an area which would give community members a space to exercise their dogs and enjoy the recreational benefits of a park. Currently, Oahu has only five off-leash dog parks: Diamond Head Bark Park, Hui 'ilio Dog Park in Hawaii Kai, McInerny Dog Park at the Hawaiian Humane Society, Mililani Dog Park, and Moanalua Dog Park. These five parks serve the 43% of Oahu homes with dogs and a population of over 300,000 pets as family members.
In the Makiki area, which is primarily a dense high-rise community, a number of residents have family pets without an adequate place for exercise or socialization. We feel an off-leash dog park that is just a small portion of a larger park would provide a much needed recreational facility for the community. Providing an area for an off-leash dog park would also reduce the instances of dog owners using other public places where they are not legally permitted.
Recently, the City & County of Honolulu, Department of Parks and Recreation furnished a letter on the use of Makiki District Park for this purpose, stating that due to liability issues, a dog park based at Makiki District Park would not be possible. Their suggestions were to seek use of other outlying parks that all have severe disadvantages. We feel that the City & County has unreasonably dismissed the Adovcates' proposal and request that a portion of Makiki District Park become an off-leash dog park. This decision has occurred without allowing meaningful discussion and deliberation to take place and without attempting to fashion a compromise or solution that can benefit all park users, including both dog owners and non-dog owners.
Therefore, we are asking the next Mayor of the City & County of Honolulu to reconsider the Department's decision and allow use of a portion of Makiki District Park for an off-leash dog park which shall be designed and constructed to both serve its purpose as a centrally-located and accessible dog park while also responsibly utilizing and sharing the park space with all park users.