S.P.A.R.K. to host Halloween for hounds

It’s time for Austin dog owners to doll up their canines in their best Halloween costumes.

S.P.A.R.K. (Start a Park for Austin’s Respectable K9s) is holding a canine costume contest at the recently-approved dog park location on Saturday as a fundraising kickoff.

“It’s a big kickoff event, so we want to make everybody aware of the dog park,” said Mike Schatz, S.P.A.R.K. co-founder. “We’re hoping we get some donations as well.”

The park will be located at the south end of the 500 block of Second Street SE, near the Veteran’s Pavilion. Park and Recreation Director Kim Underwood has said the location is ideal because dog owners can walk to the pavilion for water and bathroom access.

Schatz said the city will be offering free dog licensing Saturday as part of the kickoff. The city requires all dogs to be licensed, and owners just need to bring proof of their dogs’ vaccinations.

There will also be games available for dogs to play and prizes for the costume contest.

S.P.A.R.K.’s main hope for Saturday is that people will check out the park location.

“It’s right along the river and along the bike path,” Schatz said. “It’s going to be pretty great.”

S.P.A.R.K. plans to raise about $25,000 to help cover costs of the park, including fencing. Schatz said donations from community members would be very appreciated, especially because many communities charge membership fees for dog parks and Austin’s is going to be free to the public.

While the kick-off event Saturday is a fundraiser, Schatz said S.P.A.R.K. members will be turning more attention to fundraising once the community is more aware of the park and its location.

Donations to the group are tax deductible, according to Megan Burroughs, S.P.A.R.K.’s other co-founder.

Saturday’s event will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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