Dog owners are happy to see parks reopen


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Just days after the CDC came up with recommendations for pet owners, which include staying away from dog parks, the City of Sioux Falls decided to open its parks back up. Pet owners are enjoying being back in the great outdoors.

In the second day since parks reopened, the Spencer Dog Park is relatively quiet.

“I was expecting it to be real full actually. Guess everybody else is doing whatever they were doing, but it was just the three of us, and I didn’t even know these people but we do now,” Sioux Falls resident Cay Johnson said.

Among those taking advantage of the park reopening, and the weather was park regular, Michelle Gjerde.

“Usually every weekend and maybe one or two evenings a week, and see our regular friends, and regular dogs. We even have a Facebook group for this park,” Sioux Falls Dog Owner Michelle Gjerde said.

Gjerde says her two Hungarian Vizslas, Bauer and Sadie need this open space for exercise.

“A small fenced in yard but my dogs need to run, and they’re high energy dogs, so the yard isn’t big enough,” Gjerde said.

Perhaps more important than the exercise, is the social component for both owner and dog.

“Well it’s a little step towards normal, I guess. A lot of us are just tired of doing our own thing and being isolated. We can be in proximity of other people and have our dogs socialize at least,” Gjerde said.

But they’re still following social distancing guidelines.

“There’s plenty of room to stay six feet apart,” Gjerde said.

The CDC says the small number of pets that have tested positive for COVID-19 were in contact with someone with the virus.

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