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Raleigh considering pet ban in certain areas of city's parks

Posted May 16, 2013

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— The City of Raleigh said Thursday that it's considering banning dogs and other domestic pets from playgrounds, athletic courts and sports fields in the city's parks.

Wayne Schindler, superintendent of Raleigh's Parks and Recreation Department, said he's handled about a dozen complaints from residents and from his staff about people who take their dogs off the leash and let them run, especially within fenced playgrounds, athletic fields and court areas. City staff have also reported animal waste left on athletic fields. 

Schindler said residents of the Oakwood neighborhood complained about unleashed dogs in Oakwood Common, a mini-park and playground with a small fenced area.

It is a misdemeanor to allow an unleashed dog within the City of Raleigh. A first offense incurs a fine of $50, with fines of $150 and $200 for subsequent charges. The city's "pooper scooper" law carries the same penalties.

Asked why the city would not simply focus on enforcing those laws, Schindler said patrolling parks is not high on the priority list of an animal control staff stretched across the city. 

Schindler said the city is worried about "adverse interactions between dogs and children." There are about 60 reports of dog bites in any given month on public and private property, he said. Those calls and reports of wild animals threatening people are the focus of the city's 10 animal control officers.

Schindler said it was too early to say how any new rules would be enforced, or what the fines for those might be. Any new legislation would not change the rules for Raleigh's three designated dog parks, on Brookside Drive, Spring Forest Road and Carolina Pines Avenue, he said.

The Greenway and Urban Tree Committee, part of the Parks Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board, will hear public input on the proposal before making a recommendation to the full board. They will also consider what other cities do to combat similar problems.

Citizens can comment on the proposal May 22 at 6 p.m. inside the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex at 222 W. Hargett St.

224 Comments

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  • here2defend May 20, 2013

    Dogs aren't the problem; Careless dog owners are.

  • here2defend May 20, 2013

    Why not do as expected by all

    State/County Public parks ==> "Pets

    must be kept on a 6 foot leash at

    all times for your safety".

    Otherwise you may as well have an

    uncontrolled and therefore unsafe

    environment for children and

    visitors Which prevails today as

    stated by the complaints. Allowing

    unlimited leash length is almost as

    bad as unleashed and uncontrolled

    dog park. Just limit the leash

    length to 6 foot as required by

    State/County park regulators. If

    leash length is a safety issue for

    State/County parks then it must be

    an issue elsewhere such as City

    Parks. Why don't city parks just

    comply with State/County Park

    Rules? eg.
    see pet rules at Lake Crabtree,

    Umstead, Lake Jordan etc..

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 20, 2013

    @wraluser, this story is about you. Since it mentions the illegality of exactly what you were doing (letting your dog run off leash in a fenced ball field/park area)...and an officer wrote you a ticket for doing so...I’m very interested in seeing you provide us with the link that proves what you assert, that “There is a provision in the laws that states pets can be off leash if separated by a fence (look it up) in the parks”.

    In actuality, it appears that you know what you did is wrong and you’re just mad at someone else (animal control) because you got caught. IMO, you should pay the fine and try to learn something from this.

  • 5Rs May 17, 2013

    Raise the fine for failing to clean up after the pet and for marauding on the sports fields to $500 first offense and enforce it.

  • nufsaid May 17, 2013

    "I don't get it. It is already against park rules to let your dogs run lose inside the softball fields (for example) but people do it anyway. How is this going to change anything.

    And Soulcandy, using your logic, I guess the nanny state should eliminate laws against robbing banks and rely of people's integrity and sense of personal responsibility? Don't hide behind that personal responsibility nonsense. We have laws because people won't behave responsibly to begin with.
    jcthai"

    I could be wrong, but I interpreted the post by soulcandy to mean he/she was against banning all dogs and not just the irresponsible dog owners that are already banned from letting their dogs run loose and don't clean up after their pooches.

  • jcthai May 17, 2013

    I don't get it. It is already against park rules to let your dogs run lose inside the softball fields (for example) but people do it anyway. How is this going to change anything.

    And Soulcandy, using your logic, I guess the nanny state should eliminate laws against robbing banks and rely of people's integrity and sense of personal responsibility? Don't hide behind that personal responsibility nonsense. We have laws because people won't behave responsibly to begin with.

  • driverkid3 May 17, 2013

    When I take my dog outside, I have paper towels and newspaper with me. It's only courtesy to clean up after your dog. I don't agree with dogs being banned from everywhere IF they are on a leash. Mine ALWAYS has his on when outside, simply because I don't want to lose him.

  • nufsaid May 17, 2013

    "Why does the solution always have to be more babysitting by the local/state/federal gov't? Is it too much to ask for people to act responsible for anything?..soulcandy"

    It seems personal responsibility is no longer encouraged by many in power at all levels of government.

  • nufsaid May 17, 2013

    "I would think an outright ban would be easier to enforce. Unless a cop sees the dog running loose or leaving a present, how can he give a ticket after the fact, even if the owner was reported?
    However, if a person is reported with a dog in the park, it is much easier to cite them because the animal is present in the park.
    immaannoid"

    Are you saying that we should have a system where any citizen can "report" another citizen and have the one reported on be punished? Could this possibly open the door for some that may have a grudge against someone else.

  • sctech May 17, 2013

    Give the animal control officers part of the fine money, like a bonus or commission. It might change the priority. fishon

    Worst idea ever posted.

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