Pets could be banned from Raleigh parks

A Raleigh City Council committee will consider banning dogs from sections of public parks Tuesday.
January 27, 2014 6:00:56 AM PST
A Raleigh City Council committee will consider banning dogs from sections of public parks Tuesday.

The move comes after residents complained about dogs not being on leashes and animal waste that was left on athletic fields.

Michael Marino and his friends have been coming out to Fred Fletcher Park in Raleigh to play flag football for years. Unfortunately, dog waste on the field has become a regular occurrence.

"Almost every week, and sometimes it's found out the hard way," Marino said.

As a result, he and his teammates are in favor of dog owners cleaning up their acts, although he does not think an all out ban is necessary.

"I think if it's policed better, I don't think they need to go that far because I think 95 percent of people who play out here are really good with their dogs. They just need to police it if they see it and have stiff fines," Marino said.

In most city parks there are signs warning pet owners that they are responsible for picking up after their pet. They even make it easy by providing plastic baggies. The problem is, not everyone is following through.

Specifically, a proposed ban would prohibit dogs and other pets from playground areas, athletic fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and other areas. However, that seems a bit excessive to dog owner Lara Atchison.

"I feel like it's really crazy and unfair because they're judging all pet owners by those that don't pick up after their dogs, and most people I know are very responsible," Atchison said.

Plus, a part of the ban would potentially include restricting dogs to a six foot leash and would prohibit the use of retractable leashes, which Atchison prefers for her pup.

"The retractable leash is a great balance between having a short leash and letting your dog off leash. Given the option, I feel it's more responsible to have the retractable leash then to let her off leash and have her run off and not come back," she said.

Yet, the Parks and Recreation board apparently disagreed since they recommended the ban following a series of public meetings and committee hearings. The next meeting will be Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the council chamber of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex on West Hargett Street.

In Raleigh, it is a misdemeanor to have a dog off-leash or to not pick up your pet's waste. Penalties range from a $50 fine for the first offense, to $150 and $200 for each additional incident.

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