Pack your poop bags, dog people, as a recently expanded downtown park is about to get a free, public dog park.
Nearly a year after leash-holders began baying for a pooch-friendly zone, the dog dad who helped lead an effort to establish a public, downtown pet park said this morning that one is on the way to Benjakitti Park.
“For me and my friends who signed the petition, we’re really stoked,” said Karan Kukreja, who works for animal welfare organization Four Paws and shares an interspecies home with one dog and two kitties. “We’re hoping this will be a really good example, and we’re hoping there will be more dog-friendly areas.”
The park will open next month at the location of former tobacco monopoly housing across from the jogging track pond near Benjakitti’s eastern entrance on Ratchadaphisek Road, according to Pornphrom Vikitsreth, adviser to Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt on environmental matters.
This Sunday at 4pm, people are invited to give their input to City Hall at a location near the entrance and pond, he said.
“I think it’s very important to have a place where owners can take their dogs in the middle of town,” Pornphrom said. “A lot of places around are apartments, high-rise buildings, and a lot are pet-friendly,” “And a lot of people who raise their dogs in condos need some place to go to walk their dogs.”
Karan said additional input is important because issues still remain to be hashed out. For example, realistic expectations of people policing their own poop pickup.
“What is going to happen if people don’t clean up after their dogs?” he said. “We asked for signs. I think they’re going to talk about rules [on Sunday].”
He thinks there should be “dog toilets” where the animals will conduct their business in a consolidated – and more easily cleaned – location.
Accommodating canine park-goers was a priority for Gov. Chadchart, Pornphrom said, noting that making parks pet-friendly was among the 260 policies the governor came into office with.
Surely that’s a stretch for the famously #TeamCat former transport minister (we have plenty of stories to prove it). Not so, said Pornphrom, noting that Chadchart had adopted an American dog who sadly died.
With the recent addition of a sprawling, ecologically on-point expansion, Benjakitti has usurped the nearby Lumphini Park as Bangkok’s premier green space.
Pornphrom said having it serve as a downtown, central park where dogs were welcome would make Bangkok stand haunch-to-haunch with other great cities of the world.
He said that City Hall just took over administration of the park last week after it was handed over by the national government, which was responsible for its construction.
What transpired to make the dog park happen so quickly? The expectations of Chadchart’s famous work ethic.
“The governor said, ‘One month,’” Pornphrom said with an anxious chuckle. “I said, ‘OK.’”