BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

The future Belmont County Dog Park is getting a lot of positive feedback.

All those involved in the project gathered at the site to talk about their plans.

It is a pet project (pardon the pun) of Sheriff Dave Lucas.

“The sheriff’s office has three K9s,” said Sheriff Lucas. “Then we have our therapy dog. Deputy Jen Yuhase owns Jersey. Everybody knows Jersey. And then I have my personal dog Loki. So we all love our dogs.”

“When you figure that there’s 7,500 dog licenses issued in Belmont County, and research shows that 30% of people in any county don’t buy dog licenses, that’s a lot of dogs,” said Sherri VanTassel, outreach coordinator.

They’ve teamed up with The Road Home Animal Project to be their non profit organization partner.

In that organization, they know that dogs need to be socialized and exercised.

“It makes for a less destructive dog,” said Chris Shriver, president of TRHAP. “You know, we always say a tired dog is a good dog. It’s less chance of a dog going to a shelter, being abandoned.”

The dog park will have separate sides for small and large dogs.

“There will be water here,” said the sheriff. “We’re going to have pavilions here. We’re going to have benches. People can donate a bench in memory of their pet or a loved one.”

“There wasn’t really anything like this around here, so we felt that we really needed something like this in Belmont County,” said Nate Galownia, a member of the Belmont County Explorers.

The land, about two acres behind the county health department, was already owned by the county, and the commissioners gave their blessing to the project.

“We’re happy the sheriff brought the idea to us and we think it’ll be a good thing here for the county,” said Josh Meyer, commission president.

But the park will cost about $90,000 to build.

They are pursuing grants and asking for donations.

“We’re looking at the support of the community,” Sheriff Lucas said. “Our businesses, that’s what’s going to make this happen.”

They’ve applied for a number of grants, one of them from PetSmart, which could require online voting to win.

We’ll keep you informed about that when it happens.

Anyone can make a tax-deductible donation by sending a check to The Road Home Animal Project, P.O. Box 522, St. Clairsville, Ohio 43950.

Be sure to note “Belmont County Dog Park” in the memo line.