Cops want dogs leashed
Even in the snow that still covers Park City, Fido is not allowed to run free.
The Park City Police Department last week stepped up its enforcement of leash laws, warning at least nine people for letting their dogs run free.
In past years, the police sometimes would take similar action. Usually, the loose dogs are not problematic until later in the spring, when warmer temperatures bring people and their pets out to frolic.
The weather was good last week, but the police say that the crackdown was a response to recent complaints.
"There’s a reason for leash laws. The primary reason is to protect other people from getting bitten by somebody else’s dog that is not under control," said police Lt. Phil Kirk.
He said officers have noticed that dog owners are not abiding by leash laws.
"We’ve seen a number of people out there, on patrol, violating," the laws, Kirk said.
Kirk said most are given at least one warning before they are ticketed for having a dog off a leash.
Summit County Animal Control is the primary agency that handles loose dogs but the Police Department also tickets people violating the leash laws.
Kirk said the police are finding loose dogs at City Park and on the Rail Trail. He said they have been seen on bicycle trails as well.
Officers on the city’s ATV are patrolling for loose dogs as they search for people violating other laws. Kirk expects that the number of patrols will increase as the weather gets better.
The officers sometimes give dog owners leashes and information about the law.
Last week, the police found loose dogs in several neighborhoods.
On Sunday afternoon, someone was warned about leash laws at the intersection of American Saddler Drive and Lucky John Drive, in Park Meadows. Another person was warned on Friday in Prospector, at the intersection of Wyatt Earp Way and Annie Oakley Drive.
Others were warned at City Park, on the 1900 block of Sidewinder Drive, on Kearns Boulevard and on the Rail Trail.
Kirk said he planned to meet with Animal Control and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office this week in an effort to convince the agencies to conduct more dog patrols in Park City.
Sheriff Dave Edmunds said the authorities must teach people about the leash laws and enforce the rules.
"It’s always an issue with the number of dogs we have here in town," Edmunds said.
He said more loose dogs are found in Park City and the Snyderville Basin than they are in North Summit and South Summit.
Even though leash laws sometimes generate controversy in Park City, loose dogs are not a priority for the Sheriff’s Office. He rates loose dogs lower than crimes that endanger the safety of children.
"It’s certainly not the paramount issue, the foremost issue," Edmunds said.
In Park City in 2004, the most recent year for which data is available, the Police Department recorded 11 reports of dogs being a nuisance, five reports of stray dogs or cats, three dog bites and 46 general animal problems. The numbers were up from 2001, when five dog disturbances were reported.
For more information about leash laws, call Summit County Animal Control at 615-3985 or the Park City Police Department at 615-5500.
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