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Coal Mountain Dog Park opens, residents with two legs and four equally excited
coal mountain dog park
Coal Mountain Dog Park cuts ribbon and officially opens on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Residents are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to play and socialize. - photo by For the FCN

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Coal Mountain Dog Park was officially declared open. The dog park sits across from the Forsyth County Animal Shelter on County Way, just off of Hwy 400. Commissioners were present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with those who had worked on the project and their four-legged friends. 

Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills explained that there was an absence of a dog park from the northern part of Forsyth County. When she thought of where to put it, the animal shelter came to her mind, and she decided placing the dog park there was a “win-win situation for everyone.”

Manager of the Forsyth County Animal Shelter Cynthia Iacopella remarked on the project with fondness and gratitude. 

“This [dog park] has given us a huge opportunity,” Iacopella said. “Having this … here is a tremendous opportunity to find new homes for each one of the dogs that we have in our care. So, I want to thank the commissioners and our wonderful county for this opportunity for both our shelter and the animals that we take care of.”

Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills also expressed her gratitude towards the other commissioners present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, stating that the completion of the project could not have been done without the help and support from the commissioners and the citizens of Forsyth County. 

Dogs were welcome at the event, and the animal shelter was already letting their shelter dogs play and train inside the enclosed areas. There are six enclosures total, two that are shaded, and three for both small and large dogs. 

Iacopella said that the completion of the dog park would be instrumental to helping their shelter dogs fulfill their emotional and physical needs. 

“We all know that play is important for children,” Iacopella said, “But it is also equally as important for animals.”

The animal shelter plans to use the dog park to allow dogs to express their energy and natural instincts to play. The shelter is also going to use the space as an area to help train dogs and get them ready to be adopted.

coal mountain dog park
Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills gives a speech detailing the efforts it took to plan and facilitate the launch of the Coal Mountain Dog Park. She gave special thanks to her fellow commissioners for their support, and of course the citizens of Forsyth County. - photo by For the FCN

County population is growing, and with that grows animal welfare concerns. The animal shelter wants to keep dogs as mentally and physically well as possible, and with the additional play-space that the dog park allows, they will be able to fulfill those needs. 

A lending library box was also constructed and erected at the dog park in loving memory of Executive Director of Forsyth County Community Connection Sarah Pedarre’s late daughter, Ruthie. 

“My daughter loved books and animals, so this first location [for a lending library box] is just very fitting,” Pedarre said, “And we appreciate it very much and … hope to spread Ruthie’s light everywhere.”

Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who oversaw both the dog park and lending library box projects, stated that she could not have found a better place for their first lending library box. 

Sarah Pedarre
Sarah Pedarre stands next to the lending library box that was placed at the Coal Mountain Dog Park to honor her late daughter Ruthie who loved books and animals. Photo courtesy of Lauren McDonald.

The Forsyth County Animal Shelter hopes that the new dog park will encourage residents to bring their dogs to socialize and advertise adoption events. 

“We hope to do a lot of adoption events here,” Iacopella said. “So please don’t forget to stop by when we’re open to the public.”

On Nov. 28, the animal shelter will start their third annual Home for the Holidays event. The shelter’s goal is to have every single animal adopted and in loving homes before Christmas. 

“Come Christmas morning, we’re hoping to not see any animals in the shelter,” Iacopella said. 

The Coal Mountain Dog Park has been a project in the making, and many residents of Forsyth County are beyond thrilled to see it open, some furrier than others. The dog park will provide a place for dogs to socialize and train, and it will allow the animal shelter to prepare their pooches to find their fur-ever homes.  

coal mountain dog park
Amy Spivia poses with her daughter's five-month-old puppy, Bo. Both Spivia and her grand-dog enjoyed meeting new friends and celebrating the completion of the dog park. - photo by For the FCN