Guest editorial: Leash law enforcement is discriminatory
June 2, 2015
We have owned a home and lived in Park City for over 10 years now. Since our arrival we have seen the city’s leash law consistently abused and enforced on a discriminatory and inconsistent manner. Until recently the feeling of the dog walkers/owners I know in Park City was that if you had your leash with you and you were off by yourself, not around other people, our Officers and Animal Control Enforcers would ask you to be mindful and leash up as soon as you start moving to a populated area.
It is also our opinion that dog owners that are residents of Park City are very mindful about their animals and are considerate about others around them when their dogs are in tow. I don’t have the statistics but I would assume that most of the dogs that ever get caught for biting, chasing and defecating without being cleaned up in the city parks are from non-residents who come here to enjoy the town’s unfounded dog-friendly reputation.
There has long been an understanding on where and when dogs were able to play off leash by our residences in this city. However, as of this spring, if your dog is let off leash to simply do their business and then put back on leash, Animal Control, hiding behind bleachers, trees and bathrooms will jump out run over and ticket you, no warning, no conditions consideration. It has also been well known that the City sets up sting operations to catch spring dog owners who live in the city while giving tourists, partiers, softballers, skaters, parade goers, etc. (from out of the area) leniency, making the law discriminatory and ultimately an extra expense for the dog owning taxpayers who live here.
Don’t misunderstand my intensions here, I believe there are two sides to the story, I just feel that Park City dog owners have been silenced by those who feel they have no responsibility to take a look at their surroundings and where they plan to go before evaluating their kids’ ages, environment, and possible event issues before they make good insightful decisions on when and where they choose to go to enjoy our town and its opportunities to play and relax.
The bar has now been pushed severely to the right and a reasonable understanding of the situation would go a long way to helping us all enjoy the city we live in together. Either use the law and enforce it unilaterally without discrimination or have our officers and Animal Control enforcers do as they have been doing over the years. Use their best judgment to examine the circumstances and apply the law when people are abusing the privilege and not controlling their animals.