What do you think of the rules being proposed by the Parks Division concerning dogs in County parks?
On July 9, the Parks & Recreation Board held a public "listening" meeting to gather feedback about rules that have been drafted governing County Parks and dogs in the parks (or on athletic fields). The draft rules were prepared by staff in the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division. They will be adopted by the Board at their August 13 meeting (5:30 p.m. at the Aquatic Center - Training Room.) Residents have until Monday, July 27 at noon to comment on the rules, which can be downloaded here. The rules relate to the authority given to the Parks Division in Section 6-4(g) under the Animal Control Ordinance ("the Ordinance") in the County's Municipal Code for use of County Parks. The rules are being brought forward for Board consideration in an effort to reconcile concerns raised recently among park and athletic field users, which include:
• dogs off leash in parks, trails and open space and owners not complying with the Ordinance’s definition of the dog being under Voice and Sight Control;
• a request for fencing for tot lots to separate children from dogs in some County parks;
• a request for heightened public outreach to encourage dog owners to use existing dog parks created and maintained for off leash activities instead of general County park areas;
• a request for better signage for reinforcing and enforcing through the Police Department the containment of dogs within designated and signed Voice & Sight Control areas (as mapped and included in the Animal Control Ordinance);
• consideration of adding more dog parks or more Voice & Sight Control areas, which would require a change to the Animal Control Ordinance and Council adoption, as well as funding to create and maintain more dog parks; and
• documented activities allowing organized dog club events on County athletic fields, such as Search and Rescue training, which allows dogs to be off leash if scheduled as an event through the Parks Division and limited to Dara Jones Field in White Rock. This practice currently exists but has not been documented, and will become one of the new Parks rules.
Rules specific to the two dog parks at East Park and Overlook Park already exist and are posted at the dog parks, but will also be reviewed with the public for possible additions, edits to language or deletions, since the parks have been in use for several years without an opportunity for formal public feedback. Some users of the dog parks have voiced concerns about the responsibilities of dog owners inside the parks, such as a lack of control over a dog, owners failing to pick up after dogs, or unattended dogs.
What do you think? The Board desires to find a balance in the rules that respects the rights of dog owners but also the rights of those using the parks or fields. The most challenging situation with dogs and parks currently exists at Community Center Park (north of Central Park Square), which has prompted this comprehensive review of the Ordinance and all County parks, and the desire of the Parks Division to create the rules.
Outcome: Parks & Rec Bd endorsed proposed rules at Aug. 13 meetingRead More
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