CASCADE TOWNSHIP, MI – June 15, 2016 – Dog owners in the vicinity of Cascade Township have a new 1-acre park open to the public with free admission that is specifically designed to allow their pets to exercise and socialize off-leash in a safe and controlled venue.

Located at the Cascade Township Park at 3810 Thornapple River Drive SE, the Cascade Hospital for Animals Dog Park has a number of amenities that make it user friendly for dog owners and their pets, including: 

  • A 5-foot-high chain link fence that surrounds the area;
  • A double-gate system of entry that contains pets during transfers;
  • Two separate areas for smaller dogs under 20 pounds and larger dogs;
  • A water fountain for both owner and pet;
  • Convenient parking;
  • Mutt Mitt dispenser that holds degradable pick up mitts; and
  • Boot scrubber

Cascade Hospital for Animals at 6730 Cascade Road SE became the lead donor for the park as a way to promote health for dogs through exercise and socialization, as well as thank the Cascade community for its years of support. Proposed as an improvement to the Cascade Township Park two years ago, the dog park opened in May.

“A number of residents ranked having a dog park as high on their wish lists when the township was soliciting input on a new five-year plan for the park,” said Dr. Richard L. Siegle, hospital president and son of the hospital’s founder, Dr. Dick Siegle Sr. “It was a perfect match for us to support the project since promoting pet health is core to our mission.”

Dr. Dick Siegle Sr. founded Cascade Hospital in 1955 to provide expert medical care for small animals, and the operation evolved under the leadership of Dr. Richard L. Siegle to become the largest facility for small animal care in metro Grand Rapids and a destination for pet owners throughout the Midwest. Cascade Hospital is among 15 percent of the animal hospitals in the United States that has been accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association since 1985.

In 2011, Cascade Hospital opened its Breton Village Animal Clinic at the Breton Village Mall, 1852 Breton Road SE, to offer routine wellness care, simple vaccinations and grooming services largely for dogs and cats.

Township officials have reminded pet owners that they are responsible for picking up after their dogs and maintaining control of them at all times. Other dog park rules include:

  • Dogs must be licensed, should wear current license tags and must be up to date with vaccinations for rabies, distemper/parvovirus, leptospirosis and bordetella;
  • Dogs over 6 months of age must be neutered or spayed when using the park;
  • Children under 10 years old must be with an adult when in the fenced area;
  • Dogs displaying aggressive behavior must leave; and
  • Each park user may bring no more than three dogs at one time into the park.

“We want everyone to thoroughly enjoy the park, and that means owners should always keep an eye on their dogs and know their habits,” Dr. Siegle said. “Mischief can happen very quickly. Even a friendly dog may intimidate a more passive dog with its overtures or style of play. Be ready to call your dog off, or control with a leash or harness if he or she stops playing nice.”

One way to avoid an incident is to prevent dogs from congregating in large groups. To break up groups, owners should spread out and walk away in different directions while calling their dogs.

If a fight does occur, the main strategy is to remain calm and never into the middle of a dogfight, Dr. Siegle said. “It’s best to distract your dog by diverting his or her attention with a loud whistle, a pocket air horn, a can full of coins, or a blast of water from a water bottle.”

To learn more about keeping your dog happy and healthy, access the Cascade Hospital website at or call 616-949-0960.