Raleigh considering pet ban in certain areas of city's parks
Posted May 16, 2013 10:50 a.m. EDT
Updated May 16, 2013 6:00 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.