LOGAN – In good news for pet-owners, the Logan City Council signaled April 21 that six city parks will remain dog-friendly.
The Logan Parts and Recreation Department reported to council members that a year-long study of its Dog Friendly Parks (Off-Leash) Pilot Program had yielded largely positive results.
Department director Russ Akina said the study was based on analysis of public feedback, a survey conducted over the past three months and a review of data collected by Logan Police during the pilot program.
Under the pilot program that began last spring, seven city parks were provisionally opened to dogs off-leash when under the control of their owners. They were Jens Johansen Park at 850 East 100 North, Jones Neighborhood Park at 400 West 625 North, Kilowatt Park at 331 South 300 West, Logan Meadows Park at 350 South 600 West, Pioneer Parkway at 165 East Poplar St., Ray Hugie Hydro Park on the north side of US 89 at Canyon Rd., and the east lawn area of the Logan Service Center at 810 West 600 North.
“Twelve months and a few days later,” Akina said, “here we are … With the exception of one park location, public feedback indicated that the pilot program was working as intended … So, the Parks and Recreation staff recommends that the city should make the pilot program permanent in six of the seven park locations.”
The single location excluded from the parks department’s recommendation is Logan Meadows Park, Akina noted, where the park’s physical configuration caused problems during the pilot program.
“(Logan Meadows) is surrounded by homes which have backyards that directly connect to the park, meaning they have no fences,” he explained. “Many neighbors there submitted feedback with concerns including dogs entering their open backyards, fear of dogs approaching people unsolicited, concern for children and dogs not under owner’s control.”
Over the past year, normal city ordinances remained in effect regarding animals in Logan parks not included in the pilot program. Dogs were prohibited in those locations, except for leashed animals with their owners walking on designed city trails or sidewalks through the parks.
During that period, Akina said, city parks staff members continued to observe problems with dogs both on- and off-leash in Logan parks not included in the pilot program. Those problems included dog droppings along trail shoulders and in parks, dogs off-leash and not under owners’ control, plus dog droppings in bags not placed in provided trash cans.
The Logan City Police Department also reported issuing 22 citations and 107 warning to dog owners in parks not included in the pilot program over the past year.
But dog owners were more responsible in the pilot program parks, according to Akina.
“We observed dog owners in those locations,“ he said, “picking up after their dogs. We also received requests from them to refill our dispensers for droppings bags and suggestions for biodegradable bags. We have received many e-mail messages of appreciation from responsible dog owners who are very happy to have some legal parks to play in with their dogs off-leash.”
More than 800 city residents also responded to an online survey about the pilot program, with nearly 83 percent of their responses favoring some city parks being dog-friendly.
Logan Mayor Holly Daines added that making six neighbor parks dog friendly is expected to reduce illegal use of other parks by pet-owners.
The members of the city council concurred with the Parks and Recreation recommendation and directed city staff to take steps to make the dog-friendly parks permanent.
Council Vice Chair Tom Jensen also suggested that Logan police should focus on issuing citations rather than warnings to irresponsible dog owners in parks that are not designed as dog-friendly.