Dog park donations stolen from container

July 25, 2011
photo -    Photo by Gazette File Photo
Photo by Gazette File Photo 

It’s not quite like taking candy from a baby, but almost.

A thief last week broke into the steel metal container in which donations can be left for the upkeep of the Bear Creek Dog Park on Colorado Springs’ west side and took whatever cash and checks were in it.

Tim Wolken, director of community services for El Paso County,  said the theft happened July 19 and a sign at the park at 21st Street and Argus Boulevard advises anyone who wrote a check to contact their bank and put a stop on it.

“I really hope that the person who took it really needed it to feed their family or whatever,” said Ron Buchanan who sits on an advisory board for the park and has helped to lead the effort for the park’s improvement and upkeep.

Buchanan didn’t know how much money was in the pipe, but said it probably wasn’t much because the pipe is emptied frequently.

“It will probably cost more to repair than they got out of it,” he said.

The pipe was installed in April 2010 and this is the first time it has been broken into, Wolken said.  Donations left at the park along with money from other fundraising efforts are deposited into a maintenance and improvement fund for the dog park. The money is used to fix gates and fences, add benches and separate enclosures for large and small dogs.

It also provides funding when matching grants, such the $197,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado which will be used build restrooms and pave the parking lot, are available.

Wolken said the dog park is the most popular in El Paso County and is also the park with the biggest advocacy group supporting it.

“It’s frustrating that people are making those donations and then someone steals the funds,” Wolken said. He said the park department plans to repair the pipe and also make it more difficult to break into.

Buchanan said he was mad that the money was stolen, but is confident that dog lovers will come through in the future.

“We’ll make it up,” he said. “The people who love dogs and spend time and do the work at the park, we’ll make it up. Life goes on.”

Contact the writer at 636-0274.


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