PITTSBURG -- The dog days of summer will have a new meaning for Pittsburg residents, as the city's first dog park opened officially Saturday.

Pets and their owners were treated to snacks and toys thanks to the Contra Costa County Animal Services Department and members of the City Council.

Councilwoman Nancy Parent cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, noting that it is among the largest dog parks in the county.

Although Parent said she is not a dog owner, she was delighted to see the community come together to build and beautify the city.

The park is located on the north side of 10-acre Highlands Ranch Park and has separate fenced-off areas for large dogs and small dogs. Other amenities include a waste station and water fountains for both dogs and humans.

Ava Baumbach, 1-1/2 years old, gets acquainted with 8-month-old Willow, a Great Dane dog, while playing at the newly opened Highland Ranch Park dog park on
Ava Baumbach, 1-1/2 years old, gets acquainted with 8-month-old Willow, a Great Dane dog, while playing at the newly opened Highland Ranch Park dog park on Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Pittsburg, Calif. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group) ( JIM STEVENS )

The idea for the park originated about a year ago thanks to David Nebenfuhr, a resident of Pittsburg for over 25 years.

"I have have dogs and have brought them to every dog park in the county," Nebenfuhr said. "After many commutes to other cities, I approached the city about building a park here."

Nebenfuhr said that after a few conversations with City Manager Joe Sbranti and Director of Recreation and Maintenance Services Don Buchanan, the project began to pick up steam and took only about a year to complete from concept to opening.

The location was the best choice for a dog park, as the area was considered underused, according to Buchanan.


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"The field is a water detention basin in case of flooding and was used as open space," Buchanan said. "The new park is great and really offers a location to bring the community together."

Linda Donovan and Raider, her 3-year-old St. Bernard that weighs over 160 pounds, were ecstatic about the opening.

"I live close by, and I used to have to walk Raider elsewhere," Donovan said. "It's great for the dogs and the people of Pittsburg."

Ava Baumbach, 1-1/2 years old, gets a helping hand from her mother, Tracey, while getting a drink of water at a multi-tiered fountain at the newly opened
Ava Baumbach, 1-1/2 years old, gets a helping hand from her mother, Tracey, while getting a drink of water at a multi-tiered fountain at the newly opened Highland Ranch Park dog park on Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Pittsburg, Calif. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group) ( JIM STEVENS )

While all dogs and residents are welcome at the park, including those that are unaltered, Lt. Jane Androetti of Contra Costa Animal Services reminded pet owners to be mindful of their animals and suggested that aggressive ones be left at home.

"We have an animal at large ordinance to protect the residents and pets of Pittsburg," Androetti said. "A pet owner is expected to have effective control at all times, including times when an animal is on or off leash and either on or off private property."




Ava Baumbach, 1-1/2 years old, gets acquainted with Bambina, owned by Melanie Bruno and James Lierle, of Pittsburg,  while playing at the newly opened
Ava Baumbach, 1-1/2 years old, gets acquainted with Bambina, owned by Melanie Bruno and James Lierle, of Pittsburg, while playing at the newly opened Highland Ranch Park dog park on Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Pittsburg, Calif. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group) ( JIM STEVENS )