Derby Crushes California Town in Dog Park Win

DERBY - Supporters "barked" 31,105 times!Derby has come out on top, winning $25,000 for a dog park in the national Pet Safe “Bark for Your Park” contest. Derby was running neck and neck with Mountain House, California, throughout the competition. When the leader board went dark a week ago, Derby was trailing by more than 1,000 votes. But dog park enthusiasts, led by Ann and Bob Kelley and their daughter Allison, worked nonstop to encourage people to vote. Last Friday, when seven extra votes were available for participants, computers were set up at a local ice cream shop and those who voted for Derby got a coupon for a free ice cream.Work on the project called Kingdom Dog Park is already underway, but the winnings will help make the park even better than planned. Bob Kelley describes it as a difference between a “bare bones park” and something much meatier.The park, located on the 4-H Road on town land, could be open as early as late summer. It will have agility equipment, benches, walking paths, and fencing, among other amenities. It will be a free park and open to the public. No taxpayer dollars are used for the park; it is run by a volunteer committee through the town.Dog parks promote socialization and provide a great fun place for dogs, where they can run free, exercise and play without being in danger of getting hit by a car. It's a fun place for their human owners, as well.Derby entered the contest last year for $100,000 but the contest was based solely on the number of votes, making it difficult for Derby, with its small population, to win. However, Derby still had a very strong showing. This year, Texarkana, AR, was the $100,000 winner, but there was also a per capita contest for $25,000, which Derby won with a total of 31,105 votes. Oak Forest, IL, won $25,000 as the runner up to Texarkana for number of votes.