Princeton allows dogs off-leash at Quarry Park

Scott Jacobs
Abby spend some time running and playing fetch at the Thompson Dog Park in Monroe on Aug 16.

Princeton’s off-leash dog park at Quarry Park will become a permanent park.

The park does not have a fenced-in area for dogs. Owners can allow their dog off-leash in the park between 7-9 a.m., except in the playground area and on the basketball court.

The Princeton Council approved a resolution to make the park, which was opened on a 90-day trial basis in November 2022, permanent at a meeting on Jan. 23.

Quarry Park is one of two dog parks in town. The other dog park, which is located at Community Park South, has one area fenced off for small dogs and another area fenced off for large dogs.

Acknowledging the unique nature of the free-roaming Quarry Dog Park, the resolution states that the “off-leash program is a privilege and may continue as authorized by Council and only so long as its goals and purposes are satisfied and rules are followed.”

Dogs will be allowed at the park between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and must always be under the control of their owner. They may not dig, damage park property, interfere with other park users or chase or harm wildlife, according to the resolution.

Dogs that are deemed aggressive to other dogs or to people will not be allowed at the park. Princeton’s animal control officer will make that determination.

Officials may suspend the off-leash program at Quarry Park for a period of time “should it be in the public interest to do so, including but not limited to public safety reasons,” the resolution states.

In a Jan. 19 memorandum to the Mayor [Mark Freda] and Princeton Council, Deputy Administrator Deanna Stockton and Open Space Manager Cindy Taylor wrote that there were no reports of safety incidents or issues caused by off-leash dogs at Quarry Park during the 90-day trial period, which would have ended Jan. 30.

When the proposal for a fence-free dog park at Quarry Park was suggested last fall, Princeton Councilwoman Mia Sacks said the arrangement had been in place on an informal basis at the park for several years.

Sacks said that when she lived in New York City, she was part of a movement to change the city’s charter to allow off-leash recreational areas for dogs in the city’s parks. It was a “major success” for two decades, she said.