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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Opens Cherokee Park Dog Run

Thursday October 4, 2007

Non-profit group will operate new facility

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A field atop the I-64 Cochran Hill tunnels in Cherokee Park became Louisville’s newest “dog run” today.  Mayor Jerry Abramson and several Metro Council members joined Metro Parks and the Louisville Dog Run Association to open the two-acre area where dogs can run off-leash.

The Cochran Hill Dog Run is the city’s third dog run, joining a facility in Charlie Vettiner Park that opened in August and one at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park that opened in 2004.  Permits are required for access to the run in Cherokee Park, but dog owners who wish to visit the park before requesting a permit can do so this weekend by contacting the Louisville Dog Run Association to request a temporary entry code for the gate.

Dogs at the Cherokee dog run's opening event
A dog owner listens during Thursday's press conference.
“Dog owners in this community have asked for places where their pets can run off-leash and play with other dogs,” Abramson said.  “We’ve delivered on that request.” 

Abramson and the Louisville Dog Run Association are considering opening additional dog runs in other parks.

The Cherokee Dog Run cost $105,000 to construct. Abramson provided $45,000 through his Metro Parks budget, and four Metro Council members contributed $15,000 each — Tina Ward-Pugh, whose 9th District includes Cherokee Park; Ken Fleming, 7th District; Tom Owen, 8th District; and Ellen Call, 26th District.  The project includes a gravel parking area, a concrete walkway leading to an entry plaza, water fountains for dogs and their owners, and a fenced area divided into two sections, one for large dogs and one for small dogs.  The two separate areas also allow one side to be closed and re-seeded when the other becomes muddy.

The Dog Run will be operated by the non-profit Louisville Dog Run Association, which is selling permits to use the facility.

A permit valid through the end of February is available for $15, while permits for the 2008 calendar year will cost $25.  These permits, which will also grant pet owners access to Louisville’s other two dog runs, allow the association to cover its maintenance costs for operating the facility, such grass-cutting.

Mayor, Councilwoman Ward-Pugh speak during Cherokee dog run press conference.
A television camera records Mayor Jerry Abramson and Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh discussing the opening of the new dog run.
To receive a permit, dogs must be licensed through Louisville Metro Animal Services and have current vaccinations.  Application forms are available at, or by calling MetroCall 311.

Officers from Animal Services will be reminding dog owners in Cherokee Park of existing laws requiring pets be on leashes when in the rest of the park. The will also remind people they are to properly disposal of animal waste.  After an educational effort, officers will issue citations to citizens who violate these laws. 

Pets remain welcome throughout Cherokee Park, as long as their owners comply with local ordinances.

“This will be a great way to welcome the fall,” Ward-Pugh said.  “Not only will dog owners who use Cherokee Park have a chance to legally run in the wide open space of the dog run with their pets, but the rest of us will now be able to enjoy a casual walk, run, bike and stroll around the Loop.”

“We are extremely excited about the opening of the Cochran Hill Dog Run,” said Brian Davis, president of the Louisville Dog Run Association.  “Dog owners have waited a long time for a facility like this in Cherokee Park.”