Summerville dog park owner takes to YouTube to announce closing

Summerville dog park owner takes to YouTube to announce closing

Controversy over a Summerville Dog Park, has its owner firing off on YouTube.

John Harper, owner of Sky Dogs Family Dog Park on Highway 78 in Summerville, posted

Tuesday night, citing issues over a retention pond on the property.

The area has been fenced off since the park opened in September 2011.

Harper says he'd hope to use the pond as a dive dock for his customers, but says he's been given the runaround from Charleston County officials regarding what it would take to earn a permit.

In the YouTube video, Harper listed "environmental concerns" as one of the roadblocks.  He says County officials questioned the safety of dogs swimming in a pond that could potentially contain dog waste.

"They were only concerned with how I would affect the drainage of the property, based on what I wanted to do to the drainage of the pond," he said.

Jim Neal, Charleston County's Director of Public Works said Wednesday, the retention pond is primarily designed to handle storm water runoff.

Neal said County officials met with Harper as recently as two weeks before his announced closing, where the owner was informed he would have to maintain the pond's storm water capacity, and any other use could not interfere with that.

Not long after Harper opened the gates Wednesday morning, several Sky Dogs customers showed up, some without their dogs, to find out what could be done to save the popular park.

"It's not just about the dogs, said Danielle Fitch, an area dog sitter.

"Friendships have definitely been made here. The thought of that not continuing is very disturbing."

County officials say Sky Dogs has never been cited or fined for the retention pond.  Owner John Harper says it was his decision to close, and says he will likely open another dog park in a different location.

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