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Sun City dog club seeks indoor facility

Trainers need space out of heat

Posted 3/4/24

The Best Friends Dog Club petitioned the Recreation Centers of Sun City board of directors for an indoor facility during its general meeting Feb. 29.

Steve Collins, board member, advanced the …

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Sun City dog club seeks indoor facility

Trainers need space out of heat


The Best Friends Dog Club petitioned the Recreation Centers of Sun City for an indoor facility during the board of directors' general meeting Feb. 29.

RCSC board member Steve Collins, bo advanced the request with a motion requesting $1.5 million be allocated to search for the best location and to acquire cost estimates for a new facility. The club suffered during the renovation of the Fairway Recreation Center when they went from a 10,000-square-foot area on the west side to a 3,200-square-foot space on the east side.

“This would give them their own location,” Collins said. “They have surpassed lawn bowling in members. They now have 350 members.”

The club offers an extensive program of dog and people training classes, from basic to advanced obedience, trick, agility, rally and more. Classes are held in the training yard and meetings are held in the Arizona Room at Fairway.

The club's social activities include dog walks in parks and shaded neighborhoods, brunch with dogs and Yappy Hour, where members meet on a restaurant patio with their well-trained pooches and have dinner. It also hosts an annual holiday party for people only and a seasonal picnic, “Bark in the Park,” with the dogs.

Club President Cheri Sargent requested the board revisit its request. It was added to the Preservation and Improvement Fund list two years ago, but unfunded. It continues to be carried on the PIF list, but since it’s unfunded has a low priority.

Matthew D’Luzansky, RCSC general manager, said being unfunded does not mean it has not been considered. He has scouted several possible locations for the facility, but is waiting on the completion of the five-year plan currently being developed to move forward. That plan will prioritize PIF projects based on several factors, including need and cost, among others.

Sargent gave a number of reasons the project should be allowed to progress now, including a growing membership, loss of space in the Fairway renovation, the need for an indoor, climate-controlled space not only for the members but also for the longevity of equipment and so that the club could operate year-round and the dog owner population is growing.

RCSC board member Jim Rough said he was in favor of a facility for the club, but expressed concern about circumventing existing projects to move it forward.

“I vehemently disagree with putting placeholders on our budget,” he said. He added it would be best to wait for the five-year plan to prevent smaller projects being moved forward from interfering with potential larger projects that may have higher priority.

RCSC board member John Fast agreed, saying it would be premature to vote on the motion until the five-year plan was completed.

There was some discussion of using an existing building at Mountain View Recreation Center, but the board agreed because of availability and sharing the space with others in season it would not be suitable.

A motion to postpone the vote until the next meeting to give D’Luzansky time to provide more information failed 3-6 and the board passed the first reading of the motion on a 5-4 vote.

In a separate request, the board passed a motion to allow the club’s American Kennel Club-trained and -certified dogs to operate inside RCSC facilities with its prior permission to allow members to have their dogs with them at certain events and activities. The club was already allowed to have their dogs at its sanctioned event, but the motion expands that to include any event. The dogs must have passed certain training requirements to be eligible.

During the discussion, a question arose about sanctioned events. D’Luzansky said it was an internal term used in the board’s policies to describe each club’s allotted free use of a space for an event. Each club is allowed one free use, but must rent the space for additional events. The board voted unanimously to amend the policies to remove the term to allow the clubs more freedom to schedule events.