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“Banned from the dog park” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Nassau Humane Society Dog Park

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Nassau Humane Society Dog Park
641 Airport Road, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL 32034
904 491 1511
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Attraction Details
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Banned from the dog park”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

First, read the rules. Second, read the rules again. Third, if you are a visitor, don't expect to be treated as a welcome guest, you will probably be viewed as an intruder to a private club. A few people there were friendly, most were standoffish and unfriendly.

Their website and application does not make it clear, so I will. All dogs MUST be spayed or neutered. The application had a box to check YES or NO to the question, "Is your dog spayed or neutered?" I checked no for our dog that was not. I emailed and called a few weeks before our visit to see if I needed to mail or send the application and fee in advance, my email was ignored but the person on the phone said to just bring it when I came. When we arrived, the application was reviewed and our money was taken, nothing being said about the "no" box checked for the spayed/neutered question. One of our dogs is about 23 lbs, but we were told he would have to be in the large dog area because "the members" are particular about only having very small dogs in the small dog area. (They later told me that the rules actually say a dog under 25 lbs is a small dog, but as we were not locals and long term members, I guess that rule didn't apply to us if that is in fact the rule, I still can't find it on their website).

Unfortunately, many large and playful dogs in the large dog area (some over 100 lbs) jumped on him and terrorized him to the extent he spent most of the time hiding under a bench. Our other dog spend most of the short time we were there walking along the fence, also trying to avoid the larger and more "boisterous" dogs.

While our small dog was hiding near the benches, I saw him being "examined" by a few of the "members" (most of whom were not very friendly and welcoming). Shortly thereafter, we were approached by a staff member and told "I must ask you to leave now". We were told that because he wasn't neutered, we were not welcome. I asked to see where the rules said that as I had not seen that before, it took them fifteen minutes to find a brochure with that noted in it. They could not show me online where that information could be found but later emailed me a link to that rule. Why nothing was said when we checked in with the application clearly noting that one dog was not spayed or neutered, I don't know. To their credit, they did refund the fee and apologized by email for the inconvenience, but we were treated like intruders and trespassers in person.

As a result, our dogs were unable to spend time at the dog park during our vacation apart from their brief time which did not appear to be enjoyable. Not blaming the other dogs, they were doing what dogs do...play! I am disappointed that our small dog was prevented from being in the small dog area. I am also disappointed that they appear to pick and choose which rules to enforce (nothing was done about our small dog being terrorized, despite the rule that says " Rough play and chasing is not acceptable if any of the dogs involved is not comfortable with the situation. Just because a dog’s intent is to play does not make the dog’s behavior acceptable or tolerable if the other dog is not enjoying itself.")

Perhaps they need to put the spay/neuter requirement on their homepage (the homepage does note :All dogs MUST be current on vaccinations to become a member of the park.) Why not put "All dogs MUST be current on vaccinations and spayed or neutered to become a member of the park" to avoid disappointment, particularly for out of town visitors who travel with their canine family members.

If you are from out of town and you don't mind paying for the privilege for you and your dogs being treated like second class citizens, this may be worth checking out. (Note: every other dog park we have visited has been free and many are much nicer, cleaner and better maintained than this one). If you are looking for a friendly, welcoming environment for your dogs to play, you may want to look elsewhere.

Visited July 2013
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