Raleigh woman starts online petition to let dogs off-leash in parks

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Raleigh woman was ticketed for having her dog off a leash at a park. Now, she's fighting to get dogs more freedom in local parks, and she's asking for your help.

In the city of Raleigh, it's against the law for dogs to bee "off-leash." That's why Laurie Meilleur was ticketed for letting her dog, Raleigh, run around.

"It'd be nice to have something where it's a little freer and a little more dog-friendly," Meilleur said.

Meilleur started an online petition to let dogs be off-leash in city parks. On September 1, she's taking her request to city council.

"There can be mechanisms drafted to ensure the public is going to be safe, other dogs are going to be safe, and that the city is not going to incur additional liability," Meilleur explained. "We're not asking for unfettered access or anything like that."

She points to other cities around the country with programs that let dogs be off-leash at designated times and places within a park. Owners also have to get a permit.

"I wanted to have some sort of class or assessment to make sure the dogs were responsible to their dog owners," Meilleur said.

She used to make friends at a field above Fred Fletcher Park, but animal control stopped that.

So why not just go to a dog park?

"People there think that just because it's fenced in, they can bring their dog," said Mushaun Coates. "And their dog isn't necessarily good being off-leash."

The goal, for now, is to get enough support and signatures that City Council will see some dogs are okay off-leash in an open park.

ABC11 spoke with several parents who seemed skeptical about dogs running free in the same area their kids play. Meilleur says, though, the city can require certain times and places for off-leash dogs.

To see Meilleur's petition, click here.

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