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|05-13-03: Dog days of summer arrive early at St. Marys
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
ST. MARYS - Has K.C. Geiger Park gone to the dogs?
St. Marys City Council member Ron Ginter, acting on a citizen
complaint, asked council to consider a stricter leash law not only in the city's parks but
throughout town. Council members agreed to look into the issue, at least within city
parks, and handed the matter over to the parks committee.
Ginter told council members he heard a complaint about a dog running
free at the K.C. Geiger park and said he has personally witnessed similar activity. But
other city officials said existing laws don't necessarily require a dog to be on a leash
and said there are no park regulations regarding dogs.
The city's existing ordinance bans dogs from "running at
large." A dog owner allowing a well-trained pet to accompany them without a leash
probably meets the ordinance's standard of keeping a dog "under control,"
Safety-Service Director Mike Weadock said.
Ginter said at least one citizen contacted the police department to
complain about a dog and was told that nothing could be done because there is no sign
posted at the park forbidding unleashed dogs.
"That's a bad answer if someone told you that," Weadock told
Ginter, reiterating that an unleashed dog is not in violation of the law if the animal is
But Ginter persisted, calling for a citywide ban on unleashed dogs.
"They should bring a doggie bag, too," he said.
"If it is a problem, bring it to a committee," Mayor Greg
Freewalt said, adding that city officials should look at leash laws in other communities
for comparison purposes.
Weadock reminded council members that any changes to the law would
apply to all dogs in all cases. The ordinance could not be selectively enforced, he said.
Other council members seemed to think the city can solve any dog
problems through something less than new legislation.
"It's a park. People have to use common sense," council
member Michael Kleinhenz said.
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