NEW ORLEANS -- When Tim Moore and his girlfriend were looking to adopt a dog, being able to find a dog park for their new addition, Lily, an 8-month-old terrier mix, never really crossed their minds.
“I think my girlfriend and I were both extremely surprised by the lack of dog parks,” Moore said.
Like many dog owners, they soon realized options were scarce.
“The closest ones beyond this were kind of unofficial ones, pretty far away,” Moore said.
So when Wisner Dog Run opened, dog owners in this Uptown neighborhood were ecstatic. It's free, making it a first of its kind. The existing park was sectioned off with a fenced-in area just for these furry friends.
But the neighborhood group who helped make it possible said it wasn't an easy task.
“The city had never done this before, so we were both -- Friends of Winser Park and the city -- were sort of going through this brand new together,” said Sam Winston, member of the Board of Friends of Wisner Park.
Not too long ago, the city promised to turn 20 green spaces around the city into dog parks.
Parks like this one, where it's illegal to let your dog roam off a leash. But then the city scaled back plans as questions of how to fund and maintain these new parks came up.
“One of the things we realized is that you can't put up a fence, a chain link fence, and say, oh now I have a dog park,” said Jackie Shreves, the chair of the city's task force on dog parks.
He help developed the rules and model in which Wisner dog run operates. She said through its growing pains, the city has learned a lot and says it will certainly serve as a blueprint for future dog parks.
“As the city goes forward, there is clearly a need in other areas, but the key being again is there a neighborhood group to support it?” Shreves said.