About The Paw Park

Located at 550 Smith Rd. Amherst, NY. ( Near New Rd.). The park boasts separate fenced in areas for small and large dogs.

The Amherst Paw Park Association (APPA), is an all-volunteer non-profit, 501(c)3 organization funded entirely by donations from park supporters like you, who want a safe, legal off-leash dog area in the Town of Amherst. Dedicated volunteers and generous park sponsors have worked together to establish our first dog park. 

We want to thank all of the folks who made financial contributions to help us meet our goals to build the park. We continue to need donations to keep our park well maintained & attractive. Learn about park sponsorship opportunities and the benefits here. Please keep in mind that the Town of Amherst has not allocated any funding for park improvements or maintenance (other than parking lot improvements) so we depend on supportive business owners and dedicated dog owners like you, to ensure continued park operations. We pride ourselves on providing a safe, clean, and well-maintained park.

Amherst Paw Park in the News

Brief History

The Amherst Paw Park Association (APPA) was dedicated to providing an Off Leash Recreation Area (OLRA) for canine companions in the Town of Amherst. In 2002 a small group of volunteers gathered signatures on a petition to get the process started.

Fast forward to late 2009 and thanks to the Town of Amherst, we have approval to convert a portion of “the old NIKE Missile Base” into what is a growing phenomenon in the United States. Dog parks are designed to give dogs the exercise they need -- off leash -- in a controlled setting. The parks are particularly appealing to senior citizens and the disabled who otherwise do not have a place to exercise their beloved pets. Our vision for the Amherst Paw Park includes a fenced-in, dedicated area that allows dogs to run and socialize while not infringing on the activities of joggers, cyclists, and other park users. The park encourages positive interactions between dog owners and provides a setting to meet others with similar interests. We hope you share our enthusiasm for this exciting new WNY venue!

Time Line

The Smith Road Municipal Complex located at 550 Smith Rd. is presently an unused, cleared area located near the Amherst compost facility. UPDATE: 9/6/10 The Amherst Parks Foundation has secured fencing and other hard goods for the park. Additionally, we have received a generous offer of free labor to install drainage and to clear weeds and hydro-seed the site. The aforementioned work will begin this week and we will have a sign up at the site in the coming weeks.

The completed area will provide one acre of play area for dogs and their owners.

The Park will include the following:

  • Fenced-in area with dual gated entry/exit
  • Small and Large dog divisions
  • Benches and shade trees
  • Natural groundcover

  • Development Timeline:

  • Town Board Approval: December 2009
  • Fundraising: Winter/Spring 2010
  • Park Construction: Spring/Summer 2010
  • Park Opening: December 2010

  • Estimated Total Cost of $30,000 to include:

  • Grading
  • Fencing
  • Phase I Amenities
  • Signage
  • FAQ

    Who will manage the park?
    A: The park will be self-regulated by the dog owners. The Town Highway Department will provide general maintenance, assisted by the Paw Park Association.
    What about liability? 
    A: The Town Attorney has determined there is no increase in liability; it is the same as any other park area.
    How will you control the dogs? 
    A: These areas are considered ‘neutral’ territories by dogs, encouraging socialization.
    This is clearly evidenced by over 600 “Off Leash Recreation Areas” around the country.
    Why can't I bring my puppy to the park?
    A: The 4-month age limit has been established to minimize the risk of disease, physical injury, and emotional trauma. Please see a professional trainer for puppy classes that involve puppy socialization for dogs 2-6 months old. It's important that your puppy have lots of great experiences with other dogs and learns good social skills BEFORE you bring him to an off leash park.
    Is there a fee to use the park?
    A: We hope to provide the park free of charge to all registered dog owners.
    I don’t live in Amherst. Can my dog still play? 
    A: Absolutely! All licensed dogs are invited.