Dog parks are great places for pets to exercise and socialize in a safe, off-leash environment. They are growing in number across the country, with Western New Yorkers avidly supporting a large number of them. So here’s a guide to three great spaces for Buffalo-area pooches, including their features, locations and rules.
Buffalo, NY 14202
Located on the west end of Porter Avenue, near the international Peace Bridge to Canada.
When it first opened in 2009, our family used the Barkyard to exercise our active Jack Russel Terrier. It has always been a good experience, with an outstanding waterfront location, polite animals running and playing and humans socializing and watching the behavior of their dogs. The park is double-gated so that your off-leash pet can be re-tethered safely in a small holding area before exiting the park. Separate yards are provided for large and small dogs, and trash cans abound for disposing of bagged waste. (Bring your own plastic bags.) Park volunteers run an annual spring clean-up called “Back to Stool” to tidy the park before the busy season.
Unique to the Barkyard are its volunteer-painted murals decorating the information kiosks and the shelters provided for respite from sun and precipitation. The park is not-for-profit and depends on donations, fundraisers and sweat equity from Buffalo’s many dog owners.
Paw Island Dog Beach
Buffalo, NY 14207
Take the historic International Railroad Bridge off Niagara Street to Squaw Island
Located in my old childhood neighborhood of Black Rock/Riverside, this playground has the double-gate and trash receptacle amenities of any good dog park. Waste mitts and seating are provided as well. A nice beach area is perfect for retrievers and other water dogs who must run and swim in the water. This park is family oriented, but the interaction between dogs and children must be monitored by parents.
Lewiston Dog Park
450 South 4th Street
Lewiston, NY 14092
Located 20 minutes from downtown Buffalo and 10 minutes from Niagara Falls on the grounds of arts and entertainment destination, Artpark.
Recently opened and much desired by members of the community, this park overlooks the beautiful Niagara Gorge. It features double-gating, benches and doggie drinking fountains. Area is checked periodically by the town animal control officer. This park is not lighted. The Lewiston Dog Owners Group is active is maintaining the not-for-profit park and providing information on dog ownership and training.
Rules for Dog Parks
1. Stay in the park with your dog.
2. Children under 16 years old are not admitted to many dog parks.
3. Dogs must be tagged and have been vaccinated against Rabies, Parvo virus and Distemper.
4. Unleash and leash dogs in the gated holding area.
5. Monitor your dog for aggressive behaviors and impolite things such as hole-digging.
6. Pick up and dispose of waste.
7. If possible, volunteer to help with maintenance to keep parks enjoyable for all.