Committee Considers Dog Ban in Some Park Facilities

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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.

7 thoughts on “Committee Considers Dog Ban in Some Park Facilities

  1. First of all, I love dogs. What is needed are responsible dog owners that will collect their respective dog’s poop, especially on the Greenways. I often cycle on the Neuse river greenway and can tell you, there is dog poop on the paved area at least every 20-25 feet, for miles and miles. It is just gross. And if you remind owners to collect their dog’s poop they usually give you the “lizard” look…

  2. I share this concern about unleashed dogs and the waste dogs leave behind in public spaces. I would not feel comfortable walking a cat on a leash in Raleigh.

    If you live in a city where short sighted development plans favor developers (not people) and you don’t have property to walk a dog or let it roam then simply don’t get a dog! Your not entitled to own a dog.

    And can you imagine the smell of those off leash dog parks after a summer rain shower? I would not want to live anywhere near that filth.

  3. “Responsible” dog owner is the key word here. I always clean up after my dog no matter where I am, and I know plenty of other responsible dog owners who also care about having poop-free parks. Let’s figure out a way to fine or punish the offenders instead of making the entire community suffer. And let’s not forget about the service dogs that make it possible for certain people to enjoy the out doors. We need more Park Rangers out there issuing fines. I’m sure it would generate a lot of money to help maintain these parks!

  4. I am so tired of being penalized because of other neglectful people and/or our elected officials not wanting to do their jobs. If there are regulations/laws that state dogs must be on leashes, then have an enforcement clause that allows for ticketing the offenders at some graduated level (example: 1st offense $25.00, 2nd $100, 3rd offense loss of pet and $500 fine). If we have regulations that state dog owners must pick up after their dogs then attach to that regulation a fine large enough that owners would never dare NOT pick up after their pets, for starters isn’t there a $250 fine for littering in most states? If law enforcement and judges don’t want to do their jobs and enforce the laws that are on the books it’s not the problem of legit, law abiding citizens… Law abiding citizens shouldn’t have to constantly go to war to protect their rights no matter what the situation is. Fine the guilty parties and quit blaming the general population for neglecting to enforce the rules/laws. And stop taking privileges away from the general population just because you do not want to enforce the rules.

  5. I agree with many of the other comments- why punish the masses for the wrongs of a few? Fines are a great idea but they of course need to be enforced and cost enough to really make people think twice before leaving waste behind on the grass.

  6. There is a huge difference between responsible dog owners and those who are irresponsible, not only toward their dogs but to other people. If leashed dogs are banned from playgrounds and ball fields, this will harm families who have dogs and children, families who are responsible.

    Personally, I am unhappy about unleashed dogs anywhere but in the dog parks. When I walk mine, I fear the unleashed dog may attack my dog. Who knows whether the free dog is friendly or will take advantage of a leashed dog? And if I am scared when a dog–of any size–runs over, surely my dog will react to my fear even if the unleashed dog is friendly.

    I have never allowed my dogs to be unleashed in areas where they may chase a rabbit or squirrel and dash into the street and get hit by a car. I don’t even trust an old dog who usually cannot out-run me, because a spike of adrenalin can get them moving fast enough to chase that rabbit right into the path of a car.

  7. We may need more open spaces around high-density development AND we certainly need responsible dog owners picking up after their pets. But there is absolutely no reason to over-regulate our parks with no-dog-zones. My small neighborhood park is a great example…the walkways adjoin a small area for toddlers to play, but most often there are no toddlers playing. There’s also a central field that may or may not be used at any given time for ball, frisbee or just lazing around in the sun — if all of this is to be off-limits for dogs, than the majority of the park’s patrons — who are in fact dog-walkers — will be unfairly banned from an important public resource with no alternatives. If a small portion of parents want their toddlers to grow up to be caninophobes let them stay home, or better yet, move to Cary.