Raleigh City Councilors are considering a change that could ban dogs from places such as city ball fields, playgrounds and tennis courts.
If approved, leashed dogs would still be allowed on greenways and other open spaces managed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Councilor and dog owner Mary-Ann Baldwin said she has received a lot of feedback on the issue — particularly from people who live downtown — and asked that it be placed in the Public Works Committee for continued discussion. She also asked that the committee look at the issue of dangerous dogs and how they relate to dog parks.
Councilor Wayne Maiorano agreed the issue needs further review.
“This seems to be a pretty significant restriction for what I don’t know is an extreme or systemic problem,” he said.
The proposed changes stem from complaints about owners who let their dogs roam freely \and neglect to clean up after them. Dogs are required to be on a leash at all times when in public areas.
“We have received complaints about dogs off leash in general park areas and [received] concerns that these free-ranging animals get beyond the immediate control of their owners and might negatively interact with other patrons,” Raleigh Park Superintendent Wayne Schindler wrote in an email to the Record.
Raleigh has three public dog parks that allow dogs off leash: Millbrook Dog Park, Carolina Pines Dog Park and Oakwood Dog Park.
As Raleigh continues to become more urbanized and people move to areas with less open space, the need for additional dog-friendly areas is becoming more apparent.
“We’re approving a lot of high-density projects with little or no open space and we’re going to have a lot of dog owners,” said Councilor Thomas Crowder.
Crowder said if the city isn’t going to require that developers include recreational open space, it’s up to the city to make sure it’s available.
Parks and Rec staff will also look into additional locations for dog parks and dog areas, as well as considering increasing the fine for violating the current laws.