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Leash dogs, authorities urge

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Brass from the Park City Police Department and Summit County Animal Control have agreed to more tightly enforce leash laws, a decision that comes amid continuing tension between dog owners and people who are worried about unleashed dogs.

Police Chief Wade Carpenter, Sheriff Dave Edmunds and other top-ranking lawmen recently met in an effort to better coordinate the enforcement. Animal Control is under the command of the Sheriff’s Office, but officers from Animal Control respond to cases inside the city limits, where the Police Department is the chief agency.

According to Carpenter, the Police Department will continue to rely on Animal Control, but the two agencies will boost their communications capabilities. Carpenter said the Police Department will regain radio access to Animal Control, which had been interrupted. It is unclear how long the police did not have the direct communication with Animal Control.

Animal Control, however, will remain the primary agency to enforce the leash laws.

"I think it’s going to be tough to change years of habit," Carpenter said, describing his prediction of how Parkites will respond. "It’s going to create a problem for a while, for sure."

The Police Department and Animal Control also plan to talk to dog owners about leash laws in an effort to make them more aware of the rules. Leash laws are in effect on public property in Park City and in surrounding Summit County.

Carpenter said the Police Department and Animal Control are aware Parkites frequently gather with their dogs in the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center, but it is unclear whether the two agencies will step up patrols at the location.

The police chief said he hopes Parkites will abandon the library field once a dog park opens at Quinn’s Junction, which is expected at the end of August, and as the officers step up their efforts.

The Police Department in the last week responded to several dog cases, including a report of a loose dog on the 2400 block of Holiday Ranch Loop Road on July 30. The police contacted Animal Control in that case. Meanwhile, the police warned a person after seeing a dog off a leash on the 1300 block of Park Avenue that day. The police sometimes hand out leashes to owners when they see dogs off leash.

Leash laws, long polarizing in Park City, have been especially divisive this year, with a Park City man, Bob Berube, twice spraying off-leash dogs with pepper spray. The two episodes have drawn widespread attention to leash laws, with some people supporting Berube and others being outraged.

Carpenter, who owns two dogs — a boxer and a Boston terrier — declined to answer whether he keeps his dogs on leashes.

"I will plead the Fifth," Carpenter said.


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