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Janesville City Council delays decision on parks' summertime dogs ban

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Marcia Nelesen
April 10, 2013

— One Janesville woman said she thought it was a joke when she moved here and others told her it was illegal to walk her dogs in parks in the summer.

Council members Kathy Voskuil and Matt Kealy suggested changing the current ordinance that allows owners to bring dogs in parks and on trails from September 15 through May 15 but bars the animals from the facilities through the summer.

The ordinance requires a leash of 6 feet or less and that owners remove dog droppings.

A public hearing and decision had been scheduled Monday, but the hearing was continued to Monday, April 22.

Kathy Snyder, 2416 River View Drive, told council members she moved here from Alaska and was thrilled to find a home near Rockport Park. She said she enjoyed walking her dogs on the park’s trails.

When somebody told her she couldn’t from May through September, “I thought that person was joking,” Snyder said.

Snyder believes allowing dogs to walk with their owners would increase the number of people using parks and limit criminal activity. The dogs make her feel safer, she said.

Janesville’s dog parks are great, but some dogs do not socialize well and do better on leashes, Snyder said.

She urged the council to repeal what she considers an “outdated” ordinance.

But Jim Chesmore, 538 S. Main St., said the problem is the many irresponsible dog owners.

Chesmore said he has volunteered in the past to maintain the city’s downtown parks. He said he has picked up a lot of dog droppings all year long.

He noted disease issues and also safety issues if dogs lunge and knock children off bikes, for example.

Al Lembrich, 541 Miller Ave., agreed and said allowing dogs near bikes is a “disaster waiting to happen.” The city already has three park areas dedicated to dogs, he said.

“Why turn the parks into dog toilets and sanitation hazards?” Lembrich asked. “Why introduce such a danger and hazard? A leash does not prevent a dog from jumping into a child’s face and causing a disturbance. Passing this ordinance will surely drive away many park users.”

City staff said in a memo that they also had concerns about dogs on the bike trails.



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