3 Residents Appointed as At-Large Members of Working Group to Identify Area for Off-Leash Dogs


Westwood residents Kathy Kelleher, Susan Lowell, and Mike Volpe have been appointed at Westwood Select Board's June 10th meeting as the three at-large members of the board's newly established Off-leash/Dog Park Working Group. The working group is being organized to identify areas of town-owned land that would be suitable for an off-leash area for residents' dogs. Joining them on the committee will be members of town government and town staff.

Select Board Chair Previtera called the issue of an off-leash area for dogs "a priority for the Select Board." He said, “This board will do its very best to help our residents with this situation."

In January of this year, resident Andy Moore started a Change.org petition titled, “Oppose Lowell Woods Dog Walking Rule Change, in opposition to the new Conservation Commission rules which require dogs to be leashed on all Westwood conservation lands. It has gained over 600 signatures by the time of this article’s posting. In addition to Conservation Commission's new rules, the town's bylaws also require that dogs be leashed in an encompassing list of public spaces. Between the new rules and town bylaws, it is hard to think of any public space in Westwood where dogs are permitted to be unleashed.

Select Board member Robert Gotti, who described himself as a dog-owner, suggested that guidelines are necessary for the working group to consider: 1) the need for residents to feel safe when walking; 2) the need for exercise and socialization for dogs and their owners; and 3) identification of an off-leash dog area that can be pursued as economically and efficiently as possible.

Select Board also approved as working group members a number of elected/appointed town government officials along with members of town administration. 

Government officials appointed to the working group are Select Board Chair Joe Previtera, Planning Board member Kathleen Nee, and Conservation Committee member Todd Sullivan. 

Ex-officio members include Director of Community & Economic Development Norah Loughnane, Town Planner Elijah Romulus, and ex officio Conservation Commission member Karon Skinner-Catrone.

Select Board is expected to add three more members to the Off-leash/Dog Park Working Group. Positions will be filled from members of Westwood’s School Committee, Police Department, and Department of Public Works.

You may also be interested in reading:

Westwood Select Board Investigates Establishing Off-Leash Dog Area in Town

Possible Dog Ban at Walpole's Adams Farm (Updated)

Sunset Critter Hike at Hale Education (Calendar event)

Mushroom Walk (Calendar event)

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