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Clifton Park reins in leash law

Since May, Clifton Park has been reviewing the pros and cons of revising the town's leash law to impose stricter regulations for dogs that are out and about. According to Town Supervisor Philip Barrett, the discussion will be drawing to a close in the very near future.

The public had the opportunity to comment on the drafted legislation at the Monday, Aug. 18, Town Board meeting. The proposed law would allow dog owners to exercise their pets without a leash at Kinns Road Park in addition to Mary Jane Row Park, where there is a fenced-in area designated for dog exercise. Dogs would have to be leashed and under the control of their owners in the rest of the town.

Town Attorney Thomas McCarthy announced a few changes to the proposed legislation. A 25-foot maximum length for leashes was removed and language clarifying that dogs must be under the owner's control was added. The changes are available at the town clerk's office and should be posted on the town Web site soon.

McCarthy said the town would be able to revise the rules at the parks themselves at any time.

Those who bring their dogs to Mary Jane Row are required to pay at $30 fee and register with the town. Part of that process is to ensure the dogs are licensed, which means they have the proper vaccinations.

There was talk of extending the permit to Kinns Road Park. Owners could be issued brightly colored tags for their dogs to make enforcement easier.

Unlike the Mary Jane Row Dog Park, where use is restricted to Clifton Park residents, Kinns Road is a county park and the town can't keep visitors from using it. Plus, the town doesn't want to see either park fall into disuse because residents would rather use the other for free.

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