Berkeley Animal Care Services, Dogs Unchained plan to build dog park

photo of Berkeley Animal Shelter
Charlene Wang/Staff
On Thursday, International Dog Day, Berkeley Animal Care Services and Dogs Unchained announced a collaborative effort to build a dog park for local shelter dogs to relieve stress, run around and learn how to interact with other dogs.

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On Thursday, International Dog Day, Dogs Unchained announced a partnership with Berkeley Animal Care Services, or BACS, to build an outdoor dog park for shelter dogs in the near future.

As one of a few animal shelters in Berkeley, BACS had been looking for an outdoor play space for its dogs for the past five to six years, according to Friends of BACS President Jenny Maxwell. The shelter does not have enough outdoor space to create a play yard, and the patio and volunteer training rooms are too small and frequently used for other purposes, Maxwell noted.

“Then in 2019, BACS shelter manager Amelia Funghi met with the Berkeley city parks department, and they were able to locate a space just a short walk from the shelter that could be used as a play yard,” Maxwell said in an email.

BACS was eventually able to secure more than 3000 square feet of land, according to the Dogs Unchained Twitter account. One problem remained: They now needed money to develop the land into a dog park.

A volunteer for BACS was aware of Dogs Unchained’s “charitable component,” so she helped connect the two organizations together, Maxwell noted in an email.

Unlike most organizations, Dogs Unchained lives in the metaverse: a blend of the physical and virtual world. Members will receive a “dog,” which is an “ERC-721 token with deflationary mechanics,” in exchange for cryptocurrency, according to the Dogs Unchained website.

Those dogs will then live in an “evergreen dog park” in the metaverse and blockchain forever.

A portion of all minting proceeds will go toward assisting dog adoption centers in the U.S., the Dogs Unchained website stated. According to its Twitter account, Dogs Unchained will be “fully funding” the construction and development of the dog park in collaboration with BACS.

The campaign for the dog park construction was delayed from April 1, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maxwell said in the email. However, Maxwell noted that Friends of BACS and the city of Berkeley are currently working together to start construction of the dog park.

Maxwell also emphasized the importance of developing this dog park for the dogs at BACS. Since shelter dogs spend a significant portion of their lives in kennels, this outdoor space will allow them much-needed relief to play, run and socialize with each other.

“Animals that speak the same language and can teach and communicate in a way that humans simply aren’t built to,” Maxwell said in the email. “For dogs who rely on other dogs to model and instill confidence and trust in humans, learning and practicing these behaviors at the shelter can make an enormous — even lifesaving — difference when it comes to finding an adopter.”

Contact Karen Vo at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @karenvo_DC.