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Is it worth building a doggy park on an estate?

By Ania Szmyd-Potapczuk

, |

Is it worth building a doggy park on an estate?

By Ania Szmyd-Potapczuk

, |

Developers and estate managers may be wary about encouraging pet ownership, largely due to concerns about the noise, dirt and inconvenience that animals can bring. However, the number of households with pets continues to rise, as more and more people get animals for companionship and security.

A recent survey by Insight Marketing estimates that 9.2 million dogs are living as pets in South African households. Dogs have become part of the family, especially for younger couples and empty-nesters. For many, purchasing or renting decisions are made with the express purposes of finding a home in which their pets will be happy and safe.

This trend in dog-ownership has led to an upswing in the number of pet-friendly properties and developments on the market. Going pet-friendly has many advantages and benefits that are rapidly starting to outweigh the perceived downsides of allowing animals in your estate.

One of the most popular amenities for dog owners is a doggy park where they can congregate, and dogs can enjoy the great outdoors safely. If you’re considering building a doggy park on your estate, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks you should know about before starting construction.

Added revenue

Pet-friendly estates can receive up to twice as much attention as those that aren’t pet-friendly. Estate managers can be more discriminating about potential residents due to this larger applicant pool. Pet owners are also more likely to pay more to buy a property that meets their needs. Offering amenities such as doggy parks can generate additional revenue since you can charge more per property.

Foster a sense of community

Dog parks aren’t only a place for dogs to run around; they also become attractive social spaces for residents. Most people love talking about their dogs, which can spark conversations and friendships between strangers that might otherwise not have happened.

Prevent pet waste

Somewhat counter-intuitively, having a dog park will reduce pet waste. Doggy parks promote responsible dog ownership, and the social pressure of picking up after your dog can be a strong motivator. Placing the onus on dog owners to pick up waste in the dog park can prevent it from piling up in other facilities on your estate.

Scuffles and fights

By allowing dogs on your estate, you run the risk of allowing in dangerous or unsocialised dogs. These dogs can start fights and may cause injury to other dogs or even people. However, proper planning and encouraging responsible dog ownership can alleviate this issue. Providing Accident and Information forms can help dog ‘parents’ manage a stressful situation by providing a clear set of guidelines on how to proceed after a dog bite. You can also promote training and socialisation classes that will lessen the incidence of unsocialised animals in your estate, with the added benefit of fostering a community.

Maintenance

Doggy parks require maintenance and upkeep, just like any other facility, but they are relatively inexpensive to install and maintain. While children’s parks are becoming more expensive to install due to rising equipment costs, dog parks can still be simple to install and maintain. All you need is some well-fenced space, some shade, a water source, and enough bins for poo bags.

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