Texarkana, Ark., was named “top dog” today in the PetSafe “Bark for Your Park” contest, beating out more than 1,000 nominated cities across the U.S. and winning a $100,000 PetSafe dog park.
Oak Forest, Ill., was the contest’s runner up, winning $25,000 to put toward building a local off-leash dog park. Derby, Vt., won the “Bark from Your Heart” award, earning the highest ratio of votes to population out of the contest’s 15 finalist cities and also winning $25,000.
“What began with a handful of passionate citizens has grown into a community project of love for our animals, and it has united both sides of our town,” said Wayne Smith, mayor of the Texarkana, Ark., side of the twin cities that span the Arkansas-Texas border. “And by working together, we have succeeded in winning the 2012 PetSafe ‘Bark for Your Park’ contest! Working together has included pet professionals, pet owners, shelters, welfare groups, local news and media outlets, local civic officials and many others – from Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas, as well as surrounding communities and family and friends across the U.S. Our community is overjoyed and grateful to everyone who helped us win the $100,000 grand prize so that Texarkana citizens – human and canine – can enjoy a safe place to play, exercise and socialize.”
With a total of 659,550 votes cast in the contest, competition was fierce among the 15 finalist cities, but Texarkana received the most votes at a total of 167,373. With its $100,000 grand prize, Texarkana plans to start construction on the PetSafe Jef-FUR-son Dog Park as part of the city’s Jefferson Park, but first Texarkana is celebrating how the community united to win the nationwide contest.
Oak Forest finished in second place with 123,417 votes, and Derby’s 31,105 votes earned the city the highest ratio of votes to population.
“Hundreds of dogs will enjoy having dog parks in Texarkana, Oak Forest and Derby,” said Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, the maker of the PetSafe brand. “But dogs can’t open the gate and let themselves in. Dog parks are just as much about the owners – people of all ages, genders and races, sitting on the same bench and finding common ground in their love of their pets. We’ve heard from several cities that the contest not only built awareness for a local dog park but unified neighbors across the community. That’s the magic of a dog park – and the aim of the ‘Bark for Your Park’ contest.”
“The Oak Forest community is beaming with pride to have won $25,000 in the ‘Bark for Your Park’ contest, competing with more than a thousand nominated cities and 14 other finalist cities across the U.S.,” said Hank Kuspa, mayor of Oak Forest, Ill. “Thank you and congratulations to all the friends, neighbors, dog owners, pet professionals and others who supported Oak Forest in earning this money to help us build our local dog park. Just as our community rallied together through this contest, our dog park will serve as a place where people can come together with their dogs for exercise and fun. It will be a great addition to our beautiful city.”
Both the second-place $25,000 prize and the “Bark from Your Heart” $25,000 prize are new awards added to this year’s “Bark for Your Park” contest. PetSafe added the additional prizes to help more U.S. cities kick-start or supplement their efforts to build local dog parks.
“Like some of our canine friends, Derby may be small, but we’ve got quite the powerful bark!” said Bob Kelley, zoning administrator for the Town of Derby, Vt., and chair of the Derby Dog Park Committee. “Derby’s passion for a local dog park spoke volumes – literally volumes in terms of the thousands of votes we cast in the PetSafe contest – and we’re very proud that our community barked the loudest in relation to our size, winning us the $25,000 ‘Bark from Your Heart’ award. We’ll use that toward construction of our local dog park, which Derby dogs and residents will enjoy for years to come.”
Thrilled with the positive impact “Bark for Your Park” continues to have both on the local level for participating communities and the pet community as a whole, PetSafe is excited to bark about the contest returning next year. The company plans to announce more details about the 2013 contest at a later date.