De facto dog park outside library endorsed, caution signs will be posted |

De facto dog park outside library endorsed, caution signs will be posted

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City leaders on Thursday essentially endorsed the de facto dog park in the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center, but they also signaled they want signs posted at the site cautioning people of the illicit nature of letting dogs off their leashes in a public place.

The mayor and Park City Council discussed the library field, one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in Old Town and a popular place for people to take their dogs to play fetch or frolic with the other canines.

The City Council requested City Hall staffers post signs with two messages at the site. The messages:

" Summit County Ordinance all dogs must be leashed, owners that allow their dogs to run unleashed may be subject to fines."

"Please be a responsible dog owner and pick up your dog’s waste."

The signs also will guide people to the Quinn’s Junction dog park, where dogs are allowed to be off leash. There are no signs at the site now, according to a report submitted to the elected officials in anticipation of the Thursday meeting.

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Ken Fisher, who manages recreation programs, said he expects the signs to be posted at the library field by the spring. City Hall also plans to put up more dispensers with bags for people to pick up dog waste. There are two there now, Fisher’s report indicated.

The decision was made after City Councilors weighed four options, with others including to put up a fence around a section of the field to create an official dog park and create a designated off-leash area at the site. The elected officials mentioned topics like ensuring schoolchildren at the Library and Education Center are safe. The discussion on Thursday also included members of the Recreation Advisory Board, a City Hall panel that helps craft policies for parks.

The library field has long drawn pet owners, with many of them saying they prefer the location to the dog park at Quinn’s Junction. The field outside the library has more grass, is level and is more convenient for many people than the Quinn’s Junction dog park. While there are frequently crowds of people with their dogs at the library field, there are rarely many people at the dog park at Quinn’s Junction.

But leash laws are in effect in public places throughout Summit County, and the people who let their dogs off their leashes at the library field are doing so in violation of the law. The authorities typically do not enforce the law at the location, however, and there have only been sporadic complaints about the dogs being off leash.

The decision to post the signs came as winter approaches and at a time when the number of people and dogs at the field outside the library typically starts to dwindle. Dog owners who take their pets to the field have said there is camaraderie between themselves, and their dogs make friends as well. As many as 40 dogs might be at the field at some times, one of the dog owners has said.