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Berlin continues to discuss new leash law

Berlin continues to discuss new leash law

reporter photo

BERLIN — A leash law requiring an electronic collar or a leash on public property, with some exceptions for parks, is being considered by the Town Council’s ordinance committee.

The initiative was prompted by two lawsuits against the town stemming from dog bites. It is designed to make sure dogs are kept under tighter control in neighborhoods and sidewalks. The sticking point is whether to carve out exceptions for some town parks.

The town currently uses the state requirement that dogs be under the control of the owner when in public, which has been interpreted to include an owner being able to give verbal commands to an unleashed dog.

At a recent ordinance committee meeting, discussion focused on park exceptions and requiring leashes and electronic collars. Most of the focus was on Bicentennial Park, which is popular with dog owners.

According to the minutes of the May 14 commission meeting, panel member Joann Angelico-Stetson was in favor of requiring leashes at Bicentennial Park.

“I'm a dog owner too, have been since I was a kid – but I believe a dog has to be leashed for a variety of reasons," she said.

The committee largely ruled out creating a fenced in area at Bicentennial Park where dogs could be kept off-leash after some dog owners said they feel some people don’t watch their pets as closely once they are in an enclosed area.

“As soon as you fence in an area, it’s a whole different dynamic,” said Lori Odischoo, one of a group of dog owners that attended the May 14 meeting.
Twitter: @leith_yessian