Leashed or unleashed, dogs will no longer be allowed on playgrounds in Raleigh’s public parks.
Councilors voted Tuesday to ban dogs from playgrounds, following months of debate about the issue.
Despite a law already on the books that prohibits unleashed dogs on public property, a number of dog owners use athletic fields to exercise their pets. Parks staff received a number of complaints stemming from dog waste being left on soccer and baseball fields.
Parks staff originally suggested banning dogs from all playgrounds, athletic courts and ball fields, but the recommendation sparked outrage from dog owners across the city, who complained that the city’s three public dog parks don’t meet their needs.
Councilors held off voting on the athletic courts and ball fields part of the ban, and asked that the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board include those areas in its work plan.
Staff also recommended banning the use of retractable leashes in parks and greenways, but that ban wasn’t well received by the public or Councilors.
“I think retractable leashes should be allowed because a lot of responsible people use them,” said Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who is adamantly opposed to a retractable leash ban.
Councilor John Odom wanted to continue to study the leash law as a safety issue because runners and people riding bicycles could be snagged by long leashes.
Councilor Russ Stephenson has said that he’s in favor of banning retractable leashes from greenways, where walkers, bicyclists and joggers are in close quarters, but favored them in larger open areas.
The playground ban takes effect immediately.