DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Dogs and other pets will be banned from Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Duke University’s campus beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the university announced Friday.
The school said that such policies have “long been standard in botanic gardens nationwide” and that Duke Gardens “had been a rare exception since it opened in 1939.”
Bill LeFevre, the gardens’ executive director, said that due to the growth of the university, the expansion of the gardens’ specialized collections and Durham itself, it has become very challenging to protect the plants and wildlife within the gardens, while still being able to provide a great experience for visitors.
“As the director of the gardens and a dog-lover and dog owner myself, I understand this policy will make some people unhappy,” LeFevre said of the change.
“However, as a living museum for plants, visited by more than 350,000 people per year, with curated collections of plants and wildlife, our policies must change to align more with those of a botanic garden and not those of a public park,” he said. “We have prohibited sporting equipment in recent years, and now we must ask visitors to leave their pets at home as well.”
Two specialized gardens within Duke Gardens, the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden and the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, were already off-limits to dogs.
The new no-pet policy will not apply to service dogs trained to help people with a disability.