Wag those tails! Portsmouth Dog Park to officially open

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — It’s time to wag those tails. The Portsmouth Dog Park, a labor of love for dog park committee chairwoman and visionary Bunny Miller, will officially open this weekend.

The Portsmouth Dog Park, situated near the Melville Ponds Campground in Melville, will officially open to the public on Sunday, May 7. 

The dog park with areas for both small and large four-legged friends will be open from dawn to dusk daily, starting Sunday. 

The completely fenced area with parking is located at 50 Smith Road. However, the location might not show up on a GPS or map. Those looking for the park are asked to use 77 Bradford Ave. as an address. 

The dog park has been a labor of love for Miller. However, the idea for a dog park originated after a tragic loss. 

Oscar, a blind, 15-year-old Lhasa Apso, owned by Bunny Miller in Portsmouth was attacked and killed outside of Miller’s townhouse by a dog running loose.

In trying to cope with the nightmare and wanting something positive to come from Oscar’s death, she immediately thought of the idea of a local dog park, since Oscar had enjoyed every dog park he’d visited.

She petitioned the Portsmouth Town Council for permission to form a Planning Committee to research and establish a volunteer-based, 100 percent community-funded dog park within Portsmouth.

Several years later and many volunteer hours completed, the park is a reality for Miller and supporters. 

The Portsmouth Dog Park includes: 

  • Areas for large and small dogs.
  • A walkway for observation.
  • A community bulletin board.
  • Off-road parking for 10 cars.
  • Memorial paving bricks in entrance patio area.
  • Benches and picnic tables for human visitors.
  • Full handicapped accessibility.
  • A separate agility exercise area.
  • Fresh water available for dogs and humans.

The new park also has the following rules in place for dog owners and visitors. 

The following rules shall be posted at, and followed by, all dog owners, keepers, guardians and other users of the Portsmouth Dog Park:

  1. Only dogs that are currently vaccinated for rabies and licensed in the town in which they reside are allowed to enter the park.
  2. No dog under 6 months old, or that has received its first rabies shot within the past 30 days, may enter the park.
  3. All dogs must be spayed/neutered and free from disease and internal parasites.
  4. All dogs must be removed from the park by their owner, keeper or guardian at the first sign of aggression.
  5. All dogs must be leashed while entering and exiting the park.
  6. No more than 3 dogs may be brought into the park by any one owner, keeper or guardian at any time.
  7. Dogs must be under the control of the owner, keeper or guardian at all times.
  8. The use of pinch, choke or electronic collars within the park is prohibited.
  9. No dog that has been legally declared vicious is allowed in the park.
  10. No food is allowed in the park.
  11. The park is open from dawn to dusk and closed during maintenance.
  12. All dog bites must be promptly reported to the Portsmouth Police (683-0300) or Animal Control (643-0136).
  13. Owners, keepers and guardians of dogs are required to clean up after their dogs and properly dispose of all waste, and to repair any damage caused by their dogs.
  14. The use of alcohol and/or tobacco is prohibited.
  15. No children under the age of 16 may enter the park unless under adult supervision.
  16. The park is for recreational use only and no attendant is on duty. All users of the park do so at their own risk. All owners, keepers and guardians of dogs and other users of the park agree to release and hold the Town of Portsmouth and its various departments, employees, volunteers and agents harmless from any and all liability, claims, and/or damages for personal injury, property damage, or injury to their pet(s).
  17. The Portsmouth Police Department and Animal Control reserve the right to ban any owner, keeper, guardian, dog or other user from the park for violation of these rules.
  18. Violation of any of these rules is punishable by a fine of $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation, and $300 for a third or any subsequent violation.

For more information about the Portsmouth Dog Park, visit or the Facebook page at


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