Park City readies to unleash two places for dogs to run free |

Park City readies to unleash two places for dogs to run free

Park City leaders on Thursday could unleash two new places where dogs are allowed to run free.

Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council are scheduled to discuss whether to make a large swath of Round Valley, approximately 1,400 acres, and the field outside the Park City Library off-leash areas.

It would substantially increase the amount of land inside the Park City limits where dogs would be allowed to be off leashes. Dogs are currently required to be on leashes in public places inside Park City. Round Valley and the field outside the library have long been popular places for people to bring their dogs off leashes even though the practice is prohibited.

The meeting on Thursday is scheduled shortly after a well-attended discussion in December centered on the possibility of creating a large off-leash area for dogs. There was significant public support at that City Council meeting. Speakers told the elected officials there are numerous benefits to a large off-leash area, including making it easier to enjoy the trails with pets. The City Council at the time wanted options explored in Round Valley and said the library field could also be considered.

A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday indicates a portion of Round Valley would not be covered by a decision to create an off-leash area. Some of the land that would not be included is situated outside the Park City limits while another piece of ground in Round Valley is privately held.

City Hall staffers are in talks with Summit County about the land outside the city limits while the owner of the privately held land the Osguthorpe family — did not want the land to be included, the report says.

The report, drafted by Heinrich Deters, the trails and open space manager at City Hall, outlines the definition of an off-leash area. A dog in such a space "must be in voice and sight control of the owner at all times," the report says. It also says other laws regulating dogs, such as those prohibiting dog attacks and requiring people to clean up dog waste, "will be strictly enforced." Dogs will not be allowed to be aggressive, such as charging or chasing people, other dogs or wildlife, the report says. Dogs will be required to return and stay with the owner "immediately upon command," according to the report.

Other rules in an off-leash area include that the dog owner must have a leash of a maximum six feet in length and that one person is allowed to have up to four dogs off leash at once.

The elected officials are also expected to update City Hall’s laws regarding animal control to reflect recent changes by Summit County. One of the key changes is the ability to use electronic collars.

The discussion and vote are scheduled at a meeting that is set to start at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building. A public hearing is planned.

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