‘Eyes for the Town’: Park & Rec Approves Slate of Citizen Liaisons To Spencer’s Run

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Parks officials on Wednesday approved a slate of 12 citizen volunteers who will act as liaisons to the town from the popular dog park at Waveny.

Spencer’s Run regular Kit Devereaux, owner of a handsome white poodle named ‘Louis’ (after Louis Armstrong), told members of the Park & Recreation Commission during their regular monthly meeting that the volunteers will serve as “the eyes for the town, because once you have people with dogs it can get dicey.”

“They are not there to enforce the rules. They are there to remind people of them, and if people do not follow them, then they call Animal Control,” Devereaux said during the meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center.

The volunteers are also there “to make people feel welcome and to keep the bags [dispenser] at Spencer’s full,” she added.

“I would like everyone to think what would happen at the dog park if they [the bags] ran dry—it would get very interesting, very fast,” Devereaux said.

Park & Rec approved the following slate of volunteers 6-0:

  • Kit Devereaux
  • Karin Fry
  • Jeanine Gutauskas
  • Joan Guzzetti
  • Jessica Havens
  • Leslie Kammerer
  • Candy Knott
  • Wendy Sardanis
  • Rona Siegel
  • Debbie Simpson
  • Pam Simpson
  • Gertrude Yip

Spencer’s Run users must register their dogs with the town, and receive an access code in order to get into the dog run. Commissioners noted that there’s been a delay in re-assigning access codes for this fiscal year, so that existing (old) codes still can be used. Recreation Director Steve Benko said he’s working on resolving the issue.

According to Devereaux, one good reason for changing out the numbers each year is because some users “share” their keycode numbers with others—rendering ineffectual a system that’s designed to record just what dogs are in the park and when.

She added that the accountability and behavior (of humans) at Spencer’s Run has improved since the introduction of the keycode system to years ago.

Benko said New Canaan’s dog park is the best in Fairfield County and that it was being so heavily used that confrontations became commonplace and the town was close to shutting it down. More than half of those who use Spencer’s Run are nonresidents, Benko said.

Benko added that his own dog, a 110-pound American bulldog named ‘Butch,’ about two years ago was banned from the dog park by Animal Control after the canine got into a confrontation with a Stamford woman’s dog (in one incident, Benko intervened and, in the process of tackling Butch, broke two knuckles). The Stamford woman continues to use Spencer’s Run regularly, Benko said.

3 thoughts on “‘Eyes for the Town’: Park & Rec Approves Slate of Citizen Liaisons To Spencer’s Run

  1. Are nonresidents permitted to use Spencer’s Run? I had assumed that it would be similar to the policy at Waveny pool where New Canaan residency was enforced. It’s a great dog run and is a shame if out-of-towners are changing its character.

    • Re: “it’s a shame if out-of-towners are changing its character.”
      Note: Steve Benko, whose dog was banned from Spencer’s Run due to a confrontation with another dog, is a New Canaan resident and Director of Park and Recreation.

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