Earlier this year, the Maude Schiffley Chapter of the SPCA hoped to provide a place for Orangeburg's canines to get together and socialize.

A community dog park was to be built at the corner of Ruf Road and St. Matthews Road next to the Orangeburg County Council on Aging building.

The park's tentative opening date was to be Memorial Day, but as fall begins, there are still no signs of the dog park.

The park will cost upwards of $50,000, and about 20 percent of that amount has been raised thus far, SPCA President Rodney Tumbleston said.

"The amount of donations and support will measure how much we can do," he said. "We want to do something nice ... but we have to balance that with taking care of the animals that come in the system."

Tumbleston said paying for medical care for stray and unwanted cats and dogs has always been a top priority for the SPCA.

"We are doing more than we have in the past," he said.

Fundraising efforts for the community dog park will continue during the SPCA's annual Bark in the Park on Saturday, Oct. 21.

The proposed dog park would ideally have two areas: one for large dogs and one for small dogs.

The SPCA has said a community dog park is needed, especially for those who live in a more urban area, such as the city of Orangeburg.

The proposed park would encompass more than two acres and would include tires, benches, walking paths, covered pavilions, picnic tables, light poles, 6-foot-tall double fencing, trash cans, poop receptacles and water fountains.

The facility would also host various outings, such as Bark in the Park, and serve as an educational venue for promoting the importance of spaying and neutering pets and making sure they are properly vaccinated.

Orangeburg County gave the SPCA the land for the dog park, and the SPCA will be responsible for maintaining the property.

The proposed dog park would be open seven days a week from sunup to sundown. In addition, the proposed facility would have cameras that would be monitored from the SPCA's existing building.

A memorial to Walker "Riggs" Farmer, a 1-year-old boy who died in his sleep in May 2015, is also planned for the larger park. Riggs' best friends during his short life were his dogs, Rue and Moose, who were adopted from the Orangeburg SPCA.

The dog park will most likely be named the Remembering Riggs Park, officials have indicated.

Plans call for a $30 annual membership fee for one dog, $35 for two dogs and $20 for SPCA members. Dogs will have to be updated on all shots and must be socialized. Dog owners will also be interviewed.

All dogs using the park will be required to wear collars and tags on their collars.

The Orangeburg SPCA is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and every first and third Saturday. It is closed to the public on Sunday.

To donate to the community dog park, visit www.orangeburgspca.org and specify the donation is for the dog park.

If you are interested in volunteering at the shelter or learning more about items that are accepted for donation, contact Orangeburg SPCA Executive Director Penny Garrett at penny@orangeburgspca.org or call 803-536-3918.

The shelter is located at 225 Ruf Road in Orangeburg.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Follow on Twitter @ZaleskiTD.


Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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