Dog park group cuts ties with Arroyo Grande

February 2, 2015

Arroyo Grande dog parkOPINION By EMMA VALDIVIESO

The Five Cities Dog Park Association has terminated its relationship with the City of Arroyo Grande and is no longer responsible for maintaining the Elm Street Dog Park.

During the last seven years, the 10-year-old association’s volunteers spent thousands of hours getting the dog park designed, approved, built, maintained and improved, fund-raising more than $123,000 in the process.

We were exhausted before we wasted hundreds of hours when the city mishandled our application to improve the big dog park and to make it more handicapped-accessible by replacing the wood chips ground cover with a combination of artificial turf and decomposed granite.

While we are clearly disappointed with Arroyo Grande, we thank it for making city park land available for our dogs.

We thank all of our volunteers and donors who contributed to the park and all the park users who have enjoyed being there with their canine companions.

Our decision provides an opportunity for a new group of community-minded dog lovers to create a new organization to work with the city to keep the park open and a safe place for dogs and people to play.

Sincerely yours, Emma Valdivieso on behalf of the Five Cities Dog Park Association Board of Directors.


Ya know, when a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem….sad.


“Oh Lord, let me be half the man my dog thinks I am”…


I take my dog to the park. Break off from the city who has gifted us so much? Who do we think we are? The Superbowl MVP? This is one of the best dog parks around.

What else do you want-organic wood chips? Benches that will give us a back massage?


The city gave us a small piece of land to build a dog park. And I use the term ‘gave’ lightly. They were supposed to water the grass in the big dog park but somehow that chore was lost in the shuffle and it was only watered sporadically. That is one of the reasons we lost the grass. They did offer us some wood chips but some people found lots of glass and rusty metal wire in it and complained about it by placing the dangerous items into the suggestion boxes. Most of the time we had to purchase it or with a little luck get it donated. But the donated stuff was always hit or miss with large sticks or pine needles and sap, etc. Every other park in the area has mutt mitts that the city provides. But they have never paid or offered mutt mitts to the dog park. The Association spent $98,000.00 on the dog park. So who gifted whom?


It takes a lot of really dedicated animal lovers to maintain a good dog park. Perhaps their idea of artificial turf didn’t go over well and so they got mad and quit. I’m not convinced the turf idea was a good one, but still I admire folks who give of their time and energy to any volunteer effort and so I commend them for their 10 years of dedicated service.


Well, wasn’t this place built with the promise this group would take care of the site in perpetuity? I remember when this was discussed when it was first proposed. They kept saying if you build it we will maintain it. Now I suppose with them walking they expect the City to foot the bill. From what I gather, wood chip is currently acceptable as an ADA compliant surface. But then the article complains the dogs get splinters in their paws. Artificial turf for a dog park? Bad idea. High cost, dogs will rip up and the City on the hook.


This may be swerving off topic, but we all the know the ADA has been misused to the DAMAGE of California businesses. It has been weaponized by litigious plaintiffs seeking material gain.

The only thing more abused is the Worker’s Compensation law bleeding and draining California businesses. The good parts of the laws (structures REASONABLY modified to accommodate the disabled, and payments made to rehab and assist the HONESTLY workplace injured) has long since been over run, bastardized, twisted grotesquely and we employers and former employers suffered mightily under these OUT of CONTROL laws.


So why did Five cities Dog park association take all the money that was donated when they cut ties with Arroyo Grande? And was that legal?

I donated to the dog park and the dog park only I thought. When I donated to that group I was told by Emma it would to go to the dog park.Now I find out it went to something called Slopost and to administrative cost they had, among other things

The five cities dog park association never handled the money although they said they did. I think you lied to those of us who donated and for that I am glad you are gone.

I think maybe those of us who donated should start a class action lawsuit against them for stealing our money. I won’t go back to that dog park I would rather let my dogs run in a different park.


I will go back to the dog park,yet City girl is correct, they made it seem as though they had total control of the money.

they had signs that said it cost them $400.00 a month for mutt mitts. I always thought that figure was high from checking out prices, now I know they were lying. The Five cities dog park association said that so donations would be high and they could put half of that towards their cause.

i am pretty sure that is defrauding the public, and is illegal. I would be willing to be part of a class action lawsuit, I have my checks to prove I gave money.


Nonprofits have an obligation to use donated funds as they promised they would.

Anyone who donated for improving the dog park should ask for their money back.


Thanks unlisted, my problem is I gave CASH how do I get that back?

I too feel like they took the money and ran.


They took it because it was donated to them. The Five Cities Dog Park Association. Their main goal was to create dog parks all over the five cities area. Don’t worry your donations as well as mine were used in the dog park. Over $98,000.00 was donated to the dog park for upkeep and repairs. You have to remember other people donated for a Pismo Beach Dog Park, an Oceano dog park, and more than half of the money the FCDPA earned was done through selling things which are not donations but purchases. Oh and Dogeatdog, if the cost isn’t that high then why is the city and everyone else crying about who is going to purchase them now?


Went to that dog park a few times. Once there was this obese older blond lady sitting and chatting while her big dog was doing a big one. She just sat there, smiling, and pretended not to notice. I’m sure it is owners like this that make managing a dog park difficult.

Kevin Rice

On a positive note, wheelchair-bound canines now have a place to recreate.


I’m fairly certain that the city attorney had to suggest that the park complied with the the Amaricans with Disabilities Act. Maybe that have been caught up front


please excuse my missteaks in speling. seriously, i do work as a consultant with my home town and i know that ADA is a serious concern. not a problem but you want to avoid conflict and lawsuits by not complying. it’s just something you must to do.

too many of us start in the middle without getting the higher perspective right.