The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Bridgeport Dog Owners Campaign for Pooch Patch in Palmisano Park

By Casey Cora | February 8, 2013 7:49am
 Dave McLaughlin, 54, of Bridgeport, carries "Donkey,"  a Chihuahua-Terrier mix.
Dave McLaughlin, 54, of Bridgeport, carries "Donkey,"  a Chihuahua-Terrier mix.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIDGEPORT — If you’re not inside one of the “dog-friendly areas” in the city's public parks, taking your pooch of its leash could result in fines for owners and fights with bigger, meaner dogs.

But the closest places for Bridgeport's dog owners to let their pets run free are Coliseum Park on the Near South Side and Greektown’s Mary Bartelme Park, both roughly three miles away.

That’s why a group of neighbors are banding together to push for the creation of a dog friendly area at Palmisano Park, 2700 S. Halsted St.

“Right now people let dogs off their leash wherever the hell they feel like it. I’ve been walking dogs through [Armour Park] and had a big dog run up to little dog and it was kind of scary,” said Maureen Sullivan, who runs Walkies Inc., which offers pet-sitting and dog-walking services.

Sullivan is also a community activist who serves on the park’s volunteer advisory council. She’s floated the idea of creating the canine conclave in the northwest corner of the park, which could cost upward of $150,000.

The city's other dog-friendly areas contain features like drinking fountains and separate areas for shy dogs. The preliminary plans for Palmisano park would be no different. The project would call for a reconfiguration of plumbing, tearing up some land and the installation of tougher fencing.

To make it all happen, community groups would have to raise half of the estimated cost, then push for public money for the remaining half — that's on top of a series of proposals and petitions required by the city.

The park district said the process could take up to a year to complete.

Still, the idea is starting to get traction, at least among pet lovers. Laura Fratto, owner of the newly opened Bark N Bites pet boutique at 702 W. 35th St., said she’d volunteer to host fundraising meetings at the store if it would help make the DFA a reality.

"Everybody I've mentioned it to can't wait for it to happen," she said.