Leash law public hearing Wednesday
May 17, 2013
The public will be able to sound off on Wednesday afternoon on an issue that has divided the county: the Summit County leash law.
Summit County Council Chair Claudia McMullin called it "the most anticipated meeting of the year," suggesting the council hold the meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, located at 6505 Landmark Drive.
"Urge people to come out and make sure they are aware of it. Everybody in this room has got a dog in this fight," Summit County Councilmember Roger Armstrong said.
McMullin said she envisions first hearing from the community on how they should amend the leash law ordinance: whether it should be kept the same or be modeled after another jurisdiction’s leash law.
"I’d like to hear from the community on how they think we should handle it, and then I’d like to decide as a body if we should create some kind of community-based work group with stakeholders, such as Mountain Trails, to look into it in a more in-depth manner," she said.
Councilmember Chris Robinson echoed the work group idea.
"I think we should delegate after we’ve vetted it, by getting a group of stakeholders together to take it further and have them come back to us with something," he said.
McMullin added that the county will enforce the current law in the meantime.
The law stipulates that dogs be kept on-leash at all times, unless they are in a recognized dog park or on the owner’s property.
Despite the law, many let their dogs run off-leash in parks and on trails, resulting in reports of dog bites, dogs jumping on runners, and dogs running through playgrounds and playing fields, according to Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District Parks and Recreation Manager Brian Hanton.
Ann Turner recently left a comment on The Park Record’s Facebook page that a dog had charged her, while another dog that was off-leash was nearly hit by a car as it chased the other dog.
"Keep your dogs contained in their yard or on a leash," she said. "Why is this so difficult?"
Glenn Herzberg said that while he loves to have his dogs off-leash, he is also sensitive to the needs of those who are uncomfortable around dogs.
"I would be happy to have an odd/even schedule on certain trails if it meant my puppy could be off-leash," he said. "As for parks, when I visit any park in the area there will most likely be more dog owners than not, with most of their dogs off leash. It would be nice to have a dog park where people actually live, where people could visit without getting in your car and driving 20 minutes. Maybe even something larger than a postage stamp. Instead of whining, maybe we could work together on this so that both parties can be happy and build a better town."
A public meeting to discuss the leash law will be held at 4 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, located at 6505 Landmark Drive.