Several dozen community members attended a public meeting Tuesday night at the Logan City Hall council chambers to discuss the future of allowing off-leash dogs in city parks.
The purpose of the meeting was to gain public input on options for a possible one-year pilot program to allow dogs in as many as 10 different parks.
“It’s an issue that raises a lot of feelings on both sides of the issue,” said Logan City Mayor Holly Daines.
The Mayor said she has heard from many people who are fearful of dogs.
“On the other hand, I hear from so many people that own pets,” she said. “They say, ‘I’m a tax payer too, can’t I use the parks?’”
One of the options being proposed for the pilot program would designate “dog friendly” parks across the city. Another option would allow off-leash dogs during certain posted hours in selected areas of designated parks.
“We’ve been waiting for this for 18 years,” said David James, who attended the meeting and said he is willing to do whatever it takes to get this program up and running. “This is our chance. We need to go above and beyond anything to know our dogs, to be prepared, to have doggy bags, to have leashes, to stay in bounds, to obey the law and to do what we can to improve our community.”
If the pilot program moves forward, James and other pet owners will be expected to be aware of the following rules:
- Reduction of dog waste from parks and trails.
- Dog waste bagged and disposed in appropriate trash cans.
- Carry dog waste bag for immediate removal.
- Dogs over the age of four months wear a current license.
- Dogs on leash on public sidewalks, trails, periphery of dog run areas (when not in a pilot program site).
- Dogs must be under voice control.
- Dogs shall not harass humans, other dogs, or wildlife.
- Dogs shall not be unattended.
- Dogs in heat or not neutered shall be a nuisance.
- Pinch, spike, or choke collars and halters must be removed before entering a pilot program site for everyone’s safety.
Sherrie Petty is a pet owner who said animals can have a positive influence in our community. During Tuesday’s meeting she said, “When we think about having dogs out in our community, think about how it can actually improve our community and help us to be more friendly with each other.”
A number of residents expressed concerns about potential dog attacks and having to deal with dog waste issues.
In addition to public comments, those attending the meeting were asked to view displayed maps of the proposed parks and offer feedback. They were also encouraged to submit written suggestions to city leaders.
“Our intent is to gather information and be able to have a recommendation based on what we’ve received thus far,” according to Russ Akina, Logan Parks and Recreation Director.
Akina said his department will come up with a proposal to submit to the City Council in February. A public hearing will take place, then a final vote from city council members.
“If the proposal moves in the direction of a pilot program, then our staff will begin preparing the sites,” said Akina.
The program will be evaluated after one year to determine whether or not to adopt it on a permanent basis.