Ten years after its inception, The Captain Jack Peterson Dog Park officially opened for play this afternoon.

Not more than an hour after receiving the email about the park's gates being open, 10-year-old Digger and his human Mark were already enjoying the city's first off-leash dog park.

While it's official opening and ribbon cutting are scheduled for Friday, May 4, users who have already purchased their dog park key fobs will be able to access the park, located on Hathaway Blvd. across from New Bedford High, at any time between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week.

The park is still a work in progress but is handicap accessible, has off-street and a parking lot parking available, as well as working water fountains. There is a large dog enclosure and small dog enclosure, ample bench seating and plenty of poop bag stations throughout.

Admission into the dog park requires a swipe-card that users can obtain through the city for an annual fee. All neutered and licensed dogs registered in New Bedford with up to date vaccinations will are eligible for membership.

If you are a first time user of the dog park, there are some general rules to keep in mind, including:

  • Use of the dog park is at your own risk
  • Owners are legally responsible for their dogs at all times inside the dog park and owners shall be liable for injuries and/or damages caused by their dog(s).
  • Children under the age of 18 will not be allowed in the park even under parental supervision.
  • No food or treats (dog or human) will be allowed in the park.
  • Toys (dog or human) are also prohibited.

Other helpful tips include keeping your leash on-hand at all time to quickly and easily remove your dog from a dangerous situation.

The park is named well-known animal lover Jack Peterson, who was a radio personality at WBSM and WNBH for three decades, and passed away in 2014.