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Missouri State Parks to allow dogs in 2012

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beginning in January 2012, vacationers will no longer have to leave Rex, Rover or Fido at home when they stay at Missouri state parks.

Through its Cabins for Canines program, the state will make certain lodging units available to people who want to travel and vacation with their dogs. The program includes units such as outpost cabins, camper cabins, yurts, single-unit cabins, four-plexes and duplexes. About 30 percent of lodging units will be made available for owners with dogs while the remaining units will be canine free.

At state-operated facilities, implementation of the Cabins for Canines program will begin Jan. 1, 2012. Implementation of the program in lodging facilities operated by private concessionaires will be phased in during 2012 based on availability and will be fully implemented in 2013.

Cabins will be limited to two dogs each, regardless of the dogs' size. As a courtesy to other visitors, it is recommended that guests bring no more than two dogs per campsite. This also helps reduce the impact on the natural resources and aids with noise control.

A minimum fee of $15 per dog, per night will be collected at check-in time. The per-dog per-night fee may vary depending upon the type of lodging unit chosen. An additional fee at a minimum of $20 per hour will be assessed when extra cleaning is required. Dog owners are responsible for any damages caused by their dogs.

Dogs should be attended at all times while inside the unit and at all locations in the park. Barking dogs can ruin the enjoyment of the park for everyone. Leaving a pet unattended, even if properly leashed, can be a danger to the pet and nearby visitors. If pets must be left at the campsite, the pet should be secured inside the camping unit/tent. Even if leashed, pets should not be left outside.

When guests must leave a dog unattended, it should be placed in a crate or kennel. A crate or kennel will be provided for each unit free of charge as a courtesy to guests.

When taken outside the unit into the park, dogs must be on a secure leash not longer than 10 feet. Even the best trained pets can be unpredictable when in a different environment. Other pets, people and wildlife can be a distraction. Keeping pets on a leash ensures its safety as well as the safety of other visitors.

Dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs inside and outside the unit. No one wants to step in the mess left behind. In some areas, waste bag dispensers may be located in the park.

Dogs are allowed only in the designated lodging units and cannot be taken into any other park building. This program applies to canines that are not considered service animals assisting guests with disabilities. Service animals qualifying under ADA requirements or by a doctor's authorization are permitted in all facilities.

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