Park City man: ‘no safe place’ from dogs
February 27, 2016
A Park Meadows man on Thursday told Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council the pilot program allowing dogs off leashes in two locations should be ended, describing a tense encounter and other problems.
Bill Humbert addressed the elected officials during an unscheduled appearance at the Marsac Building. Humbert recounted an episode involving his daughter and her 16-month-old child in the vicinity of the North 40 field along the S.R. 248 entryway. The field is not one of the places where dogs are allowed to be off leashes.
He said there were three dogs one on a leash and two off leashes. One of the off-leash dogs was a German shepherd. The German shepherd ran toward Humbert’s daughter and her child, he said, describing that the dog stopped before reaching them. The owner "had no control whatsoever," Humbert said.
"There is no safe place in Park City for somebody who wants to walk without the fear of running into off-leash dogs," he said, adding that he has not observed any authorities patrolling for dogs off leashes.
Dogs are required to be on leashes in public places other than the designated off-leash areas outside the Park City Library and Round Valley as well as the dog park at Quinn’s Junction.
The elected officials recently created the off-leash areas at the library and Round Valley. There was significant support for the creation of the off-leash areas, but there was also scattered concern about safety. The officials plan to review the off-leash areas later in the year.
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Humbert, though, contended there are numerous irresponsible dog owners who reflect poorly on the ones who are responsible. He said educational efforts meant to explain the off-leash areas are "failing, failing, failing."
Humbert recalled an encounter with a dog off a leash on Swede Alley and the owner.
"They intimidate to stop anybody from questioning them," he said.
Humbert said he wants City Hall to create an animal-control department to enforce laws regulating dogs. The municipal government typically contacts Summit County Animal Control to respond to issues when there is not an immediate danger.
The elected officials did not respond to Humbert in any depth.
The City Council on Thursday, meanwhile, appointed a task force that will study issues regarding the off-leash areas. The elected officials signaled their intention to create the task force as the off-leash areas were approved. The task force will study issues like the potential for additional places for dog parks or off-leash areas, places where dogs could be prohibited, the prospects of establishing what City Hall refers to as high-enforcement areas and other policies. The task force is expected to assist as the off-leash areas in Round Valley and outside the library are evaluated.
The task force includes representatives from City Hall’s Recreation Advisory Board, Mountain Trails Foundation, the Summit Land Conservancy, Summit County Animal Control, the Park City Police Department, the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and Utah Open Lands. Five Park City residents were also appointed: Tod Frohnen, Barbara Maw, Alison Child, Becky Burns and Ed Parigian. City Councilor Becca Gerber was selected to attend task force meetings on behalf of the rest of the elected officials.
Heinrich Deters, City Hall’s trails and open space manager, responding to a question from City Councilor Nann Worel, said four out of the five Park City residents appointed to the task force are dog owners.
The first meeting is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. on Monday in the City Council chambers in the Marsac Building.
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