'Darien Digs Dogs': New campaign spotlights town's furry friends

DARIEN — The town’s Parks & Recreation Department has created a social media campaign to encourage Darien dog owners to make good use of public spaces while sticking to the rules.

Signs that indicate the “Doggy Do” list are posted in various outdoor spaces in town, the goal being to educate residents on pet rules to make the experience more fun for all.

“We want our well-loved furry pets and their owners and our whole community to enjoy our parks, in a healthy and safe way,” the announcement for the Darien Digs Dogs campaign said.

Residents can participate by taking pictures of their dogs following the rules listed on the signs, such as a pet enjoying off-leash time in the designated area at Weed Beach.

Darien has designated leash and off-leash areas for dogs. One particular park, Woodland Park, has continuously presented confusion and a problem for dog owners and other users of the park. Dogs at Woodland Park must be on leash or lead at all times.

Dog owners are further encouraged to dress up for photos with a monthly theme, with previous photos taken with “holiday cheer” in December or Valentine’s Day in February.

The campaign kicked off on Feb. 14. Participants are encouraged to use the hashtag #DarienDigsDogs and indicate which park they are in for the photo. They should also tag @DarienParkandRec on Instagram or Darien Parks and Recreation on Facebook. They can also email Jamie Gore at jgore@darienct.gov or parkrec@darienct.gov to share their photos.

Darien dog rules

Woodland Park Nature Preserve, two entrances, Middlesex Road and West Avenue: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

Cherry Lawn Park, 120 Brookside Road: Dogs are not permitted in playground areas, community gardens, or playfields at any time. Dogs are permitted off leash or lead in the Designated Area between the Darien Nature Center and Brookside Road at all times (grassy area on the right as you pull in). Dogs must be on leash or lead to and from the parking lot to the Designated Area. Dogs are permitted off leash or lead from September 1 to May 31, from dawn to 10:30 am Monday ‐ Friday, dawn to 8:30 am Saturdays and Sundays. Dogs are permitted off leash or lead from June 1 to August 31, dawn to 8:30 am Monday ‐ Sunday.

Diller Park: Dogs are not permitted at any time.

Frate Park, plot of open grass located within the triangular intersection of Leroy Avenue and Middlesex Road: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

Highland Farm, at Middlesex Road and Mansfield Avenue: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

Holahan Field, behind Town Hall, Renshaw Road: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

McGuane Park, Noroton Avenue near Noroton Heights Firehouse: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

Pear Tree Point Beach: Dogs are not permitted, except for access to the Darien Boat Club.

Selleck's Woods, Dunlap Woods Nature Preserve, entrance at 1 Parklands Drive at back of parking lot behind the Residence at Selleck's Woods: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

Stony Brook Park, 11.3 acre natural park located on Ledge Road near the Darien Refuse and Recycling Center: Dogs are permitted off leash or lead at all times.

Tilley Pond Park, center of town at corner of Lakeside and West Avenues: Dogs are permitted off leash or lead Monday ‐ Friday from dawn to 10:30 am. Otherwise, dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times. *Off‐leash hours not applicable during special events

Town Hall Fields, Renshaw Road: Dogs are permitted, but must be on leash or lead at all times.

Weed Beach, end of Nearwater Lane: Dogs are not permitted from April 1 to Nov. 24 (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving). Dogs are permitted on leash from Nov. 25 (the day before Thanksgiving) to March 31, in the parking lot and grassy areas only. Dogs are permitted off leash in the designated area marked off to the left side of the beach toward the sailing area. Dogs are not permitted in the playground, tennis courts, paddle court area, beach or bathhouse at any time.

Although Highland Farm is not a "Park" it is under the control of the Parks & Recreation Department.

These regulations do not apply to guide or service dogs accompanying a disabled person. No owner or keeper shall allow any dog to dig up, mutilate, deface or destroy any park property.

All owners and keepers need to clean up after their dog on park property and dispose of waste in a sanitary manner. Most dog‐friendly parks offer complimentary doggy waste bags if needed.