Town Cracks Down on Dogs Off Leash at Scalloptown

by | Jan 24, 2021

Scalloptown Park is not a dog park. That particular fact has not dissuaded many dog owners from bringing their dogs there and letting them run off leash for exercise and camaraderie. In fact, in recent years it has become the unofficial dog park of East Greenwich. There’s easy parking, beautiful views of Greenwich Cove, and usually a dog or two or three or more for your pooch to play with.

Dogs and dog owners at Scalloptown Park.

But some people complain, either those without dogs who feel or are threatened by off-leash dogs or some people with dogs who don’t appreciate the free-for-all. And town workers complain many owners do not pick up after their dogs. 

In recent days, police have been upping their patrols of the park and either warning dog owners to put their dogs on a leash or citing them. 

Town Manager Andy Nota said he understands why people enjoy bringing their dogs to the park, which sits at the end of Rocky Hollow Road and is actually a capped landfill – the home of the old town dump. But, he said, “because of the environmental impact it will never be able to be a dog park.” He was referring to the potential contamination of the cove from excessive dog waste. “It’s not an appropriate site.”

In addition, according to Public Works Director Joe Duarte, it would not be possible to install the necessary fencing there because of its status as a capped landfill. 

On Friday afternoon, there were a few people at the park with their dogs, including a North Kingstown man named David who said he came because Scalloptown was one of the best dog parks around. But he also knew it wasn’t a real dog park. “I think they’re supposed to be on leashes here, aren’t they?” 

He said he liked coming here because it was closer than the South Kingstown dog park and his dog gets a lot of exercise off the leash. There is a dog park at Quonset in North Kingstown but, David said, “it’s too small.” 

Town Manager Nota is well acquainted with the South Kingstown dog park, having worked on it “from square one” during his tenure with the SK Parks & Recreation Department. That park is about the size of a baseball field, he said, and it has different sections for small, medium and large-size dogs. 

“I’ve seen dog parks done the right way. I’ve seen associations or groups of pet owners really take ownership,” he said. 

He added, “I think there is a need in East Greenwich for a dog park.”

But there are steps that need to be taken first, first of among them identifying a location, ideally one that’s already got water service and electricity. (The South Kingstown dog park, because of lighting, has nighttime hours.)

“We need to get out of COVID,” Nota said, before the town can focus on a dog park. In the meantime, he said he hoped dog owners would “meet us in the middle” – respect leash laws and pick up after their pets. 

“Care for your pets and care for others’ safety,” he said.

If you are interested in helping establish a dog park in East Greenwich, resident (and School Committee member) Tim Munoz would like to hear from you. Contact him at tmunoz9@yahoo.com.

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29 Comments

  1. jay

    It’s about time they started cracking down. At one time it was a nice place to go, but between having to dodge off leash dogs and landmines its impossible to go to. The trail behind the high school is quickly approaching the same status.

    Reply
    • S

      Some dog owners live in apartments with no backyard. Goddard park doesn’t allow dogs off leash either. The places where dogs are allowed on leash vs off has to be 50:1. South Kingstown is a 35 minute drive and by the time we are back the pooch is rearing to go again. East Greenwich offers many other walking paths but NO spot to take the dogs off. No pet signs are posted on baseball fields at the high school and now we are being ticketed for the one spot we thought we had left. It is on the town to come up with a solution. There are A LOT of people who counted on that park to get their dog exercise. We are willing to compromise, it doesn’t have to be scalloptown. But East Greenwich needs somewhere to let the dogs off leash in peace.

      Reply
  2. Karen

    I loved Scalloptown Park when it first opened. Loved the view of Greenwich Cove.and observing the wildlife .That does not mean dogs running wild. It was a great spot for a walk and a picnic. They installed some nice picnic tables there.
    Then it became a “dog park”. You had to watch where you walked because so many dog owners didn’t bother picking up after their dogs. Bags were even provided at that time to aid the owners in that task. Not sure that is still true since I haven’t been there in awhile.

    Reply
  3. Nick

    Pretty funny that they are worried about dog waste running into the bay when just across the bay horses just shit everywhere at Goddard park and it’s literally never picked up

    Reply
    • HS

      True. It makes walking the trails less enjoyable because instead of walking and enjoying the view, you have to keep your head down so you don’t step in horse poop. Always wondering why it’s ok they don’t pick it up????

      Reply
  4. D.

    As Jay said, Fry Brook Park behind the high school has the same problem. The signs (and the laws) say all dogs must be leashed, but even when reminded many owners won’t leash their dogs – and who wants to be that person who scolds? It’s clear many don’t clean up after them either. A dog’s behavior, obedience, or friendliness is irrelevant – I personally love dogs, but strange dogs running around me and making messes is rude, not cute. It’s about courtesy and safety, both for other citizens *and* the dogs.

    Reply
  5. S

    This was such an incredible spot for our community (humans and canines) to connect – especially during this past year when we neeeded it most. I’ve never once seen any disrespect towards the park – owners pick up dog waste etc. There is absolutely a need for a dog park in town!

    Reply
  6. sb

    I have been Scalloptown numerous times with my puppy , we are always greeted by the park pack some of which are very large. They are mostly friendly but can be very overwhelming for a small puppy. There have been occasions where I have had to pick her up to keep her safe and EVERY time these dogs are off leash. And every time the dogs human thinks it’s cute how they all run to greet the new dog. I don’t find it cute and it scares me a bit. I remember something a wise old vet said to me years ago when I suggested that my then old dog doesn’t bite…….Every dog bites. Come of folks , leash your dog and please pick up after them, Scalloptown is litter with dog feces. It just the right thing to do.

    Reply
    • D.

      Coincidentally, this article was just published in the Times:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/well/family/dog-attack.html

      Every dog bites.

      To J, who asks “what other places would you recommend that people and dogs can socialize and have an area where there is something for all dogs and people to enjoy, whether it be the water for swimming, tables for picnics, or large fields for fetch?”, I have no problem with folks who go into the fenced-off baseball fields at the high school to run their dogs (although perhaps the school district might). There are also dog parks in neighboring towns, as has been noted.

      We *absolutely* need a dog park in EG, let’s make it happen. But until then, dog owners, obey the law and please be considerate enough to leash and pick up after your dog. It is entirely possible to be a dog lover who doesn’t like to be around unleashed dogs we don’t know.

      Reply
      • Elizabeth McNamara

        Dogs are not allowed on town and school ballfields.

        Reply
  7. Cynthia

    Well, I am certainly disappointed. I find the dog owners are Scalloptown to be very courteous, particularly toward non-dog visitors to the park. Further, most are very conscientious about cleaning up after their dogs.
    Thanks to EGNews for reporting on this issue.

    Reply
    • D

      This is not so at Fry Brook. Dogs have the run of the path and the woods, and make messes everywhere that aren’t cleaned up. One point that hasn’t been made is that this isn’t safe for the dogs either. There are dangers lurking in the woods for them that could make them sick, entangle them, injure them, etc. Not to mention other unleashed dogs that aren’t as socialized. They deserve to run about safely, EG’s current parks aren’t the place. Can change!

      Reply
  8. J

    Out of curiosity for other “dog lovers” commenting their displeasure with the current use of the park, what other places would you recommend that people and dogs can socialize and have an area where there is something for all dogs and people to enjoy, whether it be the water for swimming, tables for picnics, or large fields for fetch? I can’t think of any that offer that for both dogs and people, however for the people so disgusted by this place, I’m happy that there are lots of alternatives for you. If you don’t know about them, I’d be happy to recommend some.

    Reply
    • Jay

      Their backyards, Goddard park. The actual dog parks in south kingstown and quonset.

      Reply
  9. Cb

    I am absolutely devastated buy what is happening right now!!! I moved back to this area 4 yrs ago and went online to search for a local dog park and found Scalloptown posted online as a dog park. When I first started going I immediately fell in love with the location and all the amazing dogs that come to play at the park. I soon became a daily regular with my dogs. Last year I rescued a new dog that was so afraid and needed a special place to learn to socialize and come out of her very scared shell. Slowly over the course of a year going to scalloptown she has learned to trust other dogs and humans. Scalloptown is such a special place for our dogs. So many connections have been made there for humans and dogs over this past horrible year. I personally pick up after my dogs and respect the space tremendously.
    I witnessed the event that has brought on such heavy force by the police. I am so horrified by how much they lied in their statement and were also in the wrong having motorized go carts on the track that scared a few of the dogs by the noise. Scalloptown has always been a place of peace and serenity for so many that come even without dogs to watch the dogs play and have so much fun. We need to come together and brainstorm a compromise so there can be a safe place to let our dogs play and exercise. Humans with dogs on a leash can go almost anywhere. Places to give your dogs actual exercise are extremely limited. I am praying that the town manager will take this seriously and help find a safe place to create a healthy environment for our dogs.

    Reply
    • Dan

      What event are you talking about? Go carts at Scalloptown?

      Reply
      • Cb

        2 men came in 2 SUV’s with 2 electric go-carts in the back. When they got out and let the 2 boys get in to drive them I spoke up and said this is not a good place for that, they shrugged me off and said ” we have dogs”.

        Reply
  10. Elizabeth

    I too was looking for a dog park and searched online and first to pop up was Scalloptown park. I had brought my two dogs who are socialized very well with other dogs every day. The dog owners are courteous, they pick up after themselves. It is very sad that this may be taken away. Is there another place the town has available that we could have a fenced in dog park so if people don’t feel comfortable with dogs off leash, they don’t have to have concern?

    Reply
  11. EG resident

    I’m not a dog person. I know, I’m totally in the minority. I get it – you need a dog park. It looks like there are dog lovers in the town administration so I have faith they will help you dog lovers.

    The problem for non dog lovers is that unleaded dogs don’t make us relaxed. I’ve had dogs jump on me, nip me, bite me, while the owners shrug it off and reply -“oh they are harmless.”

    I’m a peaceful person but sometimes I want to send my runny-nosed kid up to dog owners and have them jump and slobber all over them.

    Goddard Park is the same if not worse with dogs off leash and owners who don’t care.

    And yes dog and horse poop everywhere -good point made above by someone about horse poop near the bay.

    Also, no one wears masks at Goddard but let’s not go there shall we?

    There’s got to be a good solution for both dog and non-dog people. We have got to understand one another. I was violently attacked by a German Shepherd when I was 4 so I have PTSD.

    I understand that your dogs are part of your family and they need exercise-

    I hope the town officials can find a solution before covid is over-so that we can all enjoy the outdoors and work on our mental and physical health!!

    Maybe rethink scalloptosn park-is there an are that could be fenced off for dog people? And give fines for not picking up after their dogs?

    And the non dog people can enjoy the path -and they can be fined for not picking up after their children? Or fined for not wearing masks?

    Then we would have boatload of money to make a new area for dogs!

    Someone should mention to town admin that dog and horse poop is everywhere on the shores of Goddard……

    Let’s figure this out no matter where we stand on the issue-have we learned nothing of the events in this country over the best few weeks?

    Reply
  12. Lynn

    I agree some dog owners are irresponsible and refuse to pick up after their dogs however there are many more who do.
    My property taxes here are high as you all know. I don’t have children yet understand a good amount support our public schools. It’s only fair that some of our tax money is allocated to building a local dog park.
    For those of you complaining about off leash dogs, there are many other places you can walk that restrict dogs. Besides in the summer the park has little shade and I rarely see anyone but dog owners taking advantage of the space.
    Instead of restricting dogs or off leash dogs just up the fine for not cleaning up after your dog. I’m sure the dog owners who are responsible will “help” by making sure all comply.

    Reply
  13. Don

    I walk my dog regularly at the high school and Fry Park/cross country trail. I find most (90%) dogs are on leash and cleaned up after. It’s the 10% who think the rules don’t apply to them because their dog is special. Of course it’s not the dog that’s special, it’s the owner. Their dog doesn’t have to be on a leash, their dog is free to run around on the ball fields despite signs saying “No Pets” on every field. The owners have a leash but take it off as soon as they enter the fry path. Very frustrating for people without pets and those who have pets and follow the rules. Too bad enforcemnt can’t be stepped up there.

    Reply
  14. Judy

    Never have I seen so many comments. What a hot topic. As for horse manure in Goddard Park, isn’t that confined to the bridle trails? People who walk on bridle paths should not be surprised to see it there.

    Reply
  15. egnews

    Some people have mentioned the horse manure at Goddard Park. Turns out horse poop is different from dog poop because of their hay diet. It is safe to use in gardens for instance, while dog poop is not. Neither are great for Greenwich Cove, however, since too much poop adds nitrogen to the water, feeding algae blooms.

    Reply
  16. Abbey

    I currently reside in an apartment as an East Greenwich resident and am a Rhode Island native. We have no backyard. My dog and I have had only the most wonderful experiences at Scalloptown Park. Being a responsible dog owner I bring a leash with me as well as extra doggie bags for all of our visits. There is not any other close by areas to allow the dogs this type of play and freedom. People are respectful and friendly to eachother as well as the property. With the understanding that this park cannot become an official dog park it would be really great to see some suggestions for an alternative as opposed to negative comments. Stay safe everyone! Sincerely, a dog lover.

    Reply
  17. Pls leave our park alone

    Scallop town has provided more then just a place for my dog to run around and play but also me a chance to get to know some of the community of EG since I’m not originally from here. I truly thought scallop town was a dog park and I’m sad to learn so many have such hateful comments for the place because of the dogs. I don’t understand why so many are so disturbed by letting us dog owners have the park when they have so many other wonderful places the area has to offer! Scallop town is a small, shadeless, mucky field if you don’t like dogs go around the cove to Goddard or take a walk at one of the numerous other places in the area. We go to scalloptown so we aren’t bothering the people who don’t like our dogs off the leash at Goddard and behind the HS amongst the other places. As for scallop I see owners always taking responsibility for their dogs. As for others who want to come to scallop just be aware there are dogs off leash don’t bring your small child or go knowing your afraid of dogs. Don’t be the person who puts themselves in a place they know they won’t be great in. This is ridiculous leave us alone in our small mucky field and we leave you alone everywhere else in town this way we will all be happy.

    Reply
    • Elle

      I couldn’t agree more with this comment. It is a small (mostly mucky) area with a small walking loop! There are so many other places to go walking or running if you don’t want to be around dogs. It is the only place in EG I felt I could go and throw a ball for my dog or let her play with the other friendly dogs that would show up. It’s sad that people have nothing better to do with their time than complain and be selfish.

      Reply
      • Jim

        Haha, the selfish ones are those using the park for their dogs off leash. I’ve run there for years, before it was even the park it is today, and it’s just getting worse. It’s just part of my loop, but I can’t even do it these days without having to stop multiple times for dogs to jump and slober on me while the owner shouts “their friendly”. I’m having trouble seeing how I’m “selfish” in that situation.

        Reply
        • CB

          I am absolutely horrified to learn that a East Greenwich officer pulled a gun on a dog at Scalloptown!!! This is out of control! Scalloptown is a place of peace and serenity! No dog owners come to the park with guns to protect themselves from the dogs that are there. I would like to see a investigation of this event!! I would also like to see video surveillance on all cruisers and on officers uniforms!! I always backed the Blue now I am having second thoughts!! The Cheif said that officers are trained to shoot to kill when threatened. This needs to change on so many levels!! Elizabeth are you ready to write a follow up yet!! I am ready to call all the local news channels.

          Reply
    • D

      Respectfully, your attitude is the problem. It is not “your” space, it belongs to all of us – and until the laws change to make Scalloptown a dog park (unlikely) or EG has a purpose-built dog park (possible, let’s hope!) the solution is not “just don’t go there if you don’t like what we’re doing.” What you’re doing is breaking the law and being inconsiderate to your fellow EG residents. We’ve said time and again that this town needs a proper space to let dogs run – let’s work together, within the system, to make that happen.

      Reply

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