New warning signs installed at dog park

The Destin Log
Destin Dog Park visitors will now know exactly who to call if a serious situation involving dogs occurs thanks to new signs installed at the park. [ABRAHAM GALVAN/ THE LOG]

New signs were recently installed at the Destin Dog Park advising the public who to call if there is a violent incident involving dogs.

Attached to the entrance gate to the parks, the signs instruct park visitors to call Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) at 850-244-0196 or call the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office's non-emergency number at 850-651-7400 if they encounter aggressive dogs or other serious situations involving animals. The sign also says for all emergencies to dial 911.

“We are initially first to respond to animal incident calls and our deputies determine if PAWS should be called out and begin an investigation,” said Michele Nicholson, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

Nicholson said depending on the nature of the call there have been joint investigations where a deputy helped PAWS.

PAWS Director Dee Thompson said dog owners should know how their dogs are going react with other dogs, especially if it’s an off-the- leash type of park.

“If an owner is aware that their dog is dangerous, they shouldn’t bring it to the park at all. … The owner can be held liable if their dog attacks another animal and even receive criminal charges if their dog attacks a person,” she said.

Thompson encourages dog owners to carry their pet's rabies certificate when visiting dog parks and keep up with vacations.

“You don’t know what other dogs might be carrying,” she added.

Thompson said the signs were installed as a precaution and there have been no reports of aggressive dogs or any dog attacks at the park.

Frequent Destin Dog Park visitor Charlotte Ming believes it’s a good idea to have the signs up.

“There a lot of visitors and tourists who visit the park and don’t know the local numbers in Destin,” said Ming, who herself was visiting from North Carolina. “Now we know who to call if something like a dog attack occurs at the park."