Having your dog off the leash in Dorothea Dix Park could cost you hundreds

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Dorothea Dix Park near downtown Raleigh is a popular place for people to enjoy being outdoors and pet owners say it's a great space for dogs to get fresh air.

But if you're walking your dog at the park, ignoring one city rule could cost you hundreds of dollars.

Kaitlyn Emery was running laps at a fenced-in baseball field with her two dogs, a Chihuahua mix and a Great Dane, and her mother's dog, when she says she got an unpleasant surprise.

A Raleigh animal control officer told her she was violating city ordinances.

"He immediately just said you're getting a $300 ticket," Kaitlyn said. She was fined $100 for each of the dogs being off leash, plus $300 for not having proof of the dogs' rabies vaccines.

"I was really upset. I certainly don't have $600 lying around," she said.

Kaitlyn isn't the only one who may be unknowingly violating Raleigh's Leash Law. We found several people at Dix Park letting their dogs roam freely.

Over the last year, animal control officers have issued more than 120 tickets: 75 citations for failure to provide proof of current rabies inoculation, 47 citations for allowing a dog to run at large and 2 citations for owning, keeping or harboring a dog without having a current rabies inoculation tag attached.

Kaitlyn's ticket was reduced to $500 since she did not own her mom's dog. She paid the amount to avoid more serious charges.

"A criminal summons would have been issued if I did not pay it," she said. Kaitlyn doesn't plan on taking her dogs back to Dix Park and she's warning other pet owners to be aware of the rules.

Under a Raleigh City Ordinance dogs must be on a physical leash any time they are on public property unless it is a designated dog park.

Dorothea Dix Park does not have a permanent dog area, but the city holds pop up events for dogs throughout the year. For example, a Pop PupAlooza Dog Park event is scheduled to be held at Dix Park Saturday, April 27 from 11a.m. - 4 p.m.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.