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05-13-03: Dog days of summer arrive early at St. Marys park
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 under control.
    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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