Off Leash: Dog Parks in Rhode Island

Friend or foe?  Without a leash, I never know...

Friend or foe? Without a leash, I never know…

Sometimes I think it is my personal mission to inform dog owners of the local leash law.

The other day, I even called the local police to report a golden lab who wandered aimlessly in King Park in Newport, RI. After a few minutes, I did see a police car drive down Wellington Ave — impressive. But about a half hour later and block away, I passed two women attempting to leash that same dog — not as impressive.

“Is that your dog?” I asked the two women.

“No,” one of them said. “But he has a collar and we’re going to phone the owner.”

“Oh, I said, “I called the police earlier but I guess they didn’t find him,” I answered.

“Thank you so much,” she said.

When I was a young child, my dad was bit by an unleashed dog, and I’ve never forgotten the memory of his bloody hand in the car afterwards. I guess that’s why I’m a bit afraid of unleashed dogs (especially when they’re chasing my toddler at a children’s park). So, I’m all for the law that requires that you keep your dog on a leash. Is it really so much to ask? I don’t care how nice he or she is, how gentle, how old. If your dog needs to run around, then run alongside your leashed dog. If you can’t manage that, then take the poor creature to a dog park — I’ve listed them all below to help you out. If you can’t even manage that, are you sure you want a dog?

And if you don’t heed my advice, just remember I have the number of Animal Control, and I’m not afraid to use it (or post it, see below).

Rhode Island Off-Leash Dog Parks

Haines Park Dog Park
On the west side of Haines Memorial State Park
Rt 103
Barrington, Rhode Island

Bristol Paw Park (coming soon)
Bristol, Rhode Island (not yet live)

Newport Dog Park
At the base of the Pell Bridge, across the street from the Newport Playhouse.
Connell Highway
Newport, Rhode Island

Gano Street Dog Park
Gano Street and Power Street (adjacent to basketball courts)
Providence, Rhode Island

Warwick Dog Park
In Warwick City Park down the road, past parking on the right.
Asylum Road
Warwick, Rhode Island

To Report an Un-Leashed Dog

Call the (non-emergency) number for your local police station or one of the animal control offices listed.

Animal Control
Providence, Rhode Island
(401) 243-6040‎

Barrington Police Animal Control‎
Barrington, Rhode Island
(401) 437-3936‎

Bristol Dog Pound
Bristol, Rhode Island
(401) 253-4834‎

Central Falls Animal Control‎
Central Falls, Rhode I‎sland
(401) 727-7411 x3106‎

Charlestown Animal Control Shelter
Charlestown, Rhode I‎sland
(401) 364-1211‎

Coventry Police Department: Animal Control & Rescue
Coventry, Rhode Island
(401) 822-9106‎

Hopkinton Animal Control
Hopkinton, Rhode Island
(401) 377-7785‎

Lincoln Town Animal Control
Lincoln, Rhode Island
(401) 333-0950‎

North Kingstown-Exeter Animal Rescue League‎
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
(401) 294-1115‎

Pawtucket: Animal Control Officer
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
(401) 722-4243‎

Portsmouth Animal Control
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
(401) 643-0136‎

Smithfield Animal Control‎
(401) 233-1055‎

Animal Rescue League‎
Wakefield, Rhode Island
(401) 792-2233‎

Tiverton Animal Control
Tiverton, Rhode Island
(401) 624-6624‎

Warwick Police: Animal Control Officer
Warwick, Rhode Island
(401) 468-4377‎

West Greenwich Animal Control‎
West Greenwich, RI
(401) 397-8999‎

Animal Rescue League Westerly‎
Westerly, Rhode I‎sland
(401) 596-2090‎

Richmond Animal Control‎
Wyoming, Rhode I‎sland
(401) 766-6571‎

36 thoughts on “Off Leash: Dog Parks in Rhode Island

  1. Excellent post, we are dog owners ourselves and always have our dog on a leash. The number of aggressive dogs that we encounter off leash is absolutely unacceptable.

    A large white poodle acted aggressively towards our dog and my wife’s friend. My wife asked the owner of the large white poodle to kindly leash her dog and she responded “If you don’t want to deal with an off leash dog, don’t come to the park in the winter”.

    Incredulous at the response, I’ve called the animal control shelter to advise them of the situation, and knowing this type of attitude, the dog will be at the park, off leash next weekend, and hopefully animal control will teach her a lesson by writing her a ticket accompanied by a hefty fine. The dogs don’t need to be punished, they did nothing wrong, it’s always the owners.

    • I do not agree with either of you and the fact that your knee jerk reaction is to “have the number of Animal Control, and I’m not afraid to use it” and hope “animal control will teach her a lesson by writing her a ticket accompanied by a hefty fine” is cruel. As dog owners, one would think you enjoy seeing the happiness of your dog enjoying him or herself because that brings you joy. Owners who walk their dogs at the 2nd beach in the winter or King’s park to play fetch just want to intake on that joy too. I am sorry if your dogs are not well behaved enough to be off a leash but those owners who have taken the time to train their dog to be good off the leash companions should be able to let their dog run in the water or fetch a tennis ball without the worry of someone calling the police to slap them with a fine that might not let be able to buy groceries that week. Its not like they were selling drugs on the corner to children, they were just walking their dog and minding their own business and maybe both of should too.

      • Well said. This blogger is an ignorant self-righteous dog hater. Walking, or even running with your dog on leash doesn’t give them the kind of exercise they need. Ticketing owners of well-behaved, friendly dogs who aren’t bothering anyone is the tactic employed by Animal Control and dog-phobic people like this blogger. Why don’t you call the police on some jaywalkers while you’re at it? Animal control should be worried about addressing animals who are actually out of control (which is incredibly rare). Let the rest of us give our dogs the exercise they need by harmlessly throwing a tennis ball or a frisbee for them. And off-leash dog parks are few and nothing like a real park or a beach. The blogger should try to visit one of these off-leash parks and spend her recreation efforts there, see how she likes it.

      • I’m not a dog hater actually. Like many people, I’m a bit afraid of dogs — because of bad experiences. One that has stuck with me was when I was about five-years-old and my dad was bit by an unleashed dog. He came back to the car, and I can still picture his bloody hand. I actually have no problem with the idea of dogs getting exercise, just not at the expense of the safety of the rest of us.

        By the way, your analogy makes no sense. Jay walkers typically don’t bite.

      • Well said. Dogs are harmless and deserve to roam and explore- dogs mimic their owners and at times are not behaving ideally however being a dog owner and lover conclude that if a person wants to be outside hiking on a trail or roaming at a park or Beach should accept all forms of life including wildlife and pets etc. I’m not saying deal with dog shit I’m saying deal with dogs around them’ share the earth we are all entitled to or stay inside and keep ur opinions to urself.

      • The law is the law. It’s not subjective ie I’m just providing my dog ‘joy’ or my particular dog is gentle (something presumably most dog owners thought just before they bit someone). Furthermore, I’m a non-dog owner who is uninterested in dogs barking at me, or chasing me while I’m going for a run, and therefore grateful for leash laws, and not ‘shy’ about using the animal control # when someone is ignorant enough to break the law.

      • The law is the law just like any other law. Get a backyard that is fenced and play with your dog. Just like the people that don’t pick up waste after there dogs. RI could be a clean state but the ignorance of some people make it look dumpy.

      • I agree with you. Ms. Meek must not have anything better to do with her time! Pretty pathetic actually. She’s part of the reason this state is such a mess. An unleashed dog is what gets her upset? Not drunk drivers. Not abused children. Not corrupt politicians. Not corrupt judges. Sad. Truly sad. I hope she finds a life soon.

      • Actually I advocate on lots of issues, Jenn. Most recently, I’ve helped spearhead a group to advocate for some improvements in the Providence Public School District. So you are a bit misinformed. In fact, I’m not terribly interested in leash law issues, and other than this post have spent zero effort working towards punishing those with unleashed dogs (although it does bug me when I see it). Anyway, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but do please at least get your facts straight.

  2. A new dog park is opening in Fall River at Silva Park, located at corner of Locust & North Quarry Streets on June 1, 2011.

    The Bristol Park is taking FOREVER to open….what’s up with that…and where is it supposed to be located?

    I’ve also gone to Barrington (a relatively long distance for me) and due to winter weather with parking areas “iced” over, I was unable to find … someplace near the ballfield? Where, I wonder, does one park?

    While providing dog parks (which is wonderful), could authorities also erect some “signage” indicating where the dog park is…at least Newport is near Playhouse, so park can be located by getting directions for Playhouse.

  3. There is a great new (as of Summer 2010) dog park in South Kingstown/Wakefield behind the South County YMCA. Very nice, separate fenced areas for large & small dogs, and it is grass for dogs that don’t like sand. Public restrooms as well (and they are clean!) as the town’s baseball fields are there, so you can fill up your water bowls.

    • I’m not sure who you mean by “you” — one of the previous reviewers or me? Anyway, I’m happy to see I’ve inspired some ire — when my sister first read this post (she has a dog) she told me I should remove it. But then I was pleasantly surprised at the response. But it seems like I’ve reached a different category of dog owner now…

      • Statistically, you are more likely to be hit by a car yourself than be bit by a dog off a leash. You are also insiuating that people who play fetch with thier dogs or let thier dogs run are sadistic people who just want to scare you. When in all reality these people are just fun outdoors loving people just trying to spend time with a beloved pet.

  4. Kate – Are we forgetting here the small fact of the *law*? It is illegal in most places to have a dog off leash. I’m sure a quick google search could give you an indication of why — dogs, as beloved as they may be, can be unpredictable. When I was a kid an unleashed dog bit my dad, and I’ve personally experienced several times where a loose dog has wandered into my yard in Newport and growled at us or chased us down the block. Even my sister’s dog has snapped at my daughter. In fact even my sister has had the experience of an unleashed dog attacking her leashed dog which, again, wouldn’t happen if the owner had followed the law. So, no I do not think that their owners are “sadistic people” who want to “scare” me, as you said. What I think is that they are incredibly selfish and irresponsible people who neither follow the law nor respect the rights of other people or pets in the community. If you want to play fetch with your beloved pet, do it in your fenced yard or in a dog park. That’s the law.

    • Ummmmm really ? Why exactly are hating on precious forms of life?dogs do not complain or lie like you do. Dogs dont attack unless provoked. Therefore ur reasoning is false and misleading. Animals rather stay away from people than attack so get your facts straight.

  5. I completely agree! This bothers me all the time, especially when I see dogs off the leash on a heavily traveled street like Wickenden in Providence. It’s unsafe for the dogs! If you want your dog to be exercised off leash… go to a dog park.

  6. I always have my beloved Lab leashed, or off-leash only when I am with him in areas where that is permitted. However, twice in his long life he has roamed away from home because either a child or a guest has negligently left a door open, etc. Thank God he wears a pet ID with our cell number, and also has an ID chip. We spent frantic hours not knowing where he was, or whether he was hit by a car, etc. One time, we were called by animal control officer who picked him up after someone reported him walking down a sidewalk. The other time, someone called us after seeing our phone number on his collar tag. Both times, we were very grateful and relieved beyond belief. No one should assume that the owners of a dog walking around loose have intentionally just let him out to roam around. If you are uncomfortable approaching the dog to read it’s collar tag, please call animal control and let them know where the dog is, and the direction he’s heading. Perhaps you could put some water out, or food, to try to keep the dog there until animal control arrives.

  7. I just got a chihuhua last month from the shelter.First dog I’ve had since I was a kid many moons ago.She is always on leash when ever we go out for walks.She is a good dog,but I dont let kids pet her to often because I know she’s nervous and I wound’t want someone to get hurt.Thats why I have her on leash all the time. When dogs run freely you never know whats going to spark them off.Even a good dog has its moments.I got bit by a BIG dog while he was chained across the street while I was getting into a car. He broke the chain and bit me behind the leg very hard and I had to jump on my roof of the car.I do still have issues with dogs biting even when not provoked to.I believe that all dogs should be on leashes and handlers should maintain control of their dogs on leashes(I have seen 2 people let their dogs go when they couldnt control them on their leashes).

  8. Your a real douche bag some dogs do escape from.houses or even fron leash and collar y dont u juzt get a freakn life ur prob some ol man wit.nothing better to do

  9. My neighbors allow their dog to roam out of their yard unleashed and unattended to do his business in several other yards, mine included. Why do some dog owners think this is ok? I – and at least one other neighbor – have made several calls to Tiverton animal control and nothing has been done. At times I’ve had to leave a message, asking for a return call, and I don’t even get that courtesy. I just can’t believe these neighbors lack any respect for their many neighbors. If animal control won’t help, what’s my next step? And no, it is not to talk to them – an elderly neighbor asked them to keep their dog out of her nicely-kept yard, and the husband was very rude to her (the husband told my husband about the confrontation, so this isn’t a rumor). Also, I am not a dog hater, and I am not bashing all dog owners – just the one’s next door who’s pooch poop I shouldn’t have to pick up out my yard.

    • I believe is a law in other places about pooping.on other properties not sure about RI. Take a picture and make them pay a fine.

  10. I am from RI but live in Vegas and I agree with the person who wrote this post. Leash your dog! If you want to let your dog run free get a fenced yard. That is what they do here. No tolerating unleashed dogs here. If a unleash vicious dog comes near my little dog I will send it flying.

    • how about training your dog…i have a purebred rottweiler that is trained in personal protection who is frequently off leash in my area, and behaves better than 100% of leashed animals. Now on that note, I am not an ignorant owner, and when I am outside I ALWAYS have a leash with me, and my dog ALWAYS wears a static collar for that just in case moment (god forbid). I amn not encouraging people do ignore the laws in their area (as there arent any in my paticular area) but more to be more responsible as owners regardless.

      • Well as far as I know there is a leash law in RI. I have a cop friend and will ask him. Unfortunately my dog loves to run and play ball but I can not do that unless it is a restricted area. Trained or not you never know what could happen.

  11. Ok so I didn’t read all of the posts…. so this might have been answered already, but when is the bristol dog park opening?! I didn’t know of dog parks. I just got my first dog in May and now that we know about the parks he is LOVING IT! But seeing that I live in Bristol it would be sooo nice to have a park here! Thanks for the info in advance 🙂

  12. Hi Michele,

    I have a dog that needs a lot of exercise. We have a fenced yard but I also take him for off the leash walks about every day. Sometimes we travel, sometimes we stay local. I choose to ignore or break the law. There are lots of laws that are stupid, that sometimes even get changed. There are also some laws that are probably unnecessary. Fortunately for you, I don’t think the leash laws will be changed so you can keep indulging yourself in your petty complaints and advocacy. The dog that bit your dad many years ago was one dog among millions. I clean up after my dog when necessary. He has never bitten or chased anyone, and he doesn’t bark when he is off the leash. I may be moving to Newport in the near future – see you round! But I will probably be able to spot you from a distance by your freaked out behavior, and my dog and I will go in a different direction.


    • Well, I do agree that there are certainly many laws that are stupid! I don’t happen to think the leash law is one of them, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just hope you are able to keep your dog and the other dogs/people around you safe when you have your dog off-leash.

      BTW I really don’t dislike dogs the way many of you seem to think – I actually love them when I know them to be gentle. But I have had numerous situations with dogs that were not gentle, and my mom’s favorite dog got killed by a car when the dog was off-leash, so I have learned through experience it’s better to be safe than sorry for both the dogs and the people.

  13. It is all well and good for dogs to be leashed some times. What do you do when you have large dogs. Too big for most dog parks who consider large dogs 50 lbs. When you have dogs near 100 lbs. They play rough and nobody understands that they need to play and exercise too. They need to be off leash to do so. Hepl!,,,,

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