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Clifton Park reins in leash law

"The idea was to try and keep both parks alive and well," said McCarthy.

No one who rose to speak at the public hearing objected to the fee. There was concern, however that other park users could be harassed by off leash dogs.

"I'd venture to say that 95 percent of users with dogs are rational and respectful of the unique park we have," said resident Eric Hamilton. "It's the other five percent that's the problem."

Unruly behavior was the impetus for the leash law.

"We have had issues there where the dogs aren't under control," said Councilman Thomas Paolucci, adding, "I feel this legislation goes toward solving the issue."

Hamilton, who is affiliated with the Shenendehowa Nordic Club " a group of cross country skiers " said that Kinns Road Park is a bigger, much more open area than Mary Jane Row, and the influx of dog owners could change its use dramatically.

"I have a problem with Kinns Road Park being perceived as a dog park, thereby restricting the use for recreational purposes," he said.

Clifton Park resident Kelly McCarthy said she lives right next to Kinns Road Park, and that it is "a privilege" to be able to exercise her three black labs off their leashes. She can see problems emerging, though.

"Recently, the population of Clifton Park has definitely increased," said McCarthy. "More people are disrupting the delicate balance between people and dog owners."

She recommended that the five percent causing problems should be better policed using the funds from permit fees.

Other residents suggested that a course like the Canine Good Citizen Test must be passed by dog and owner before issuance of a permit.

The law should be ready for a vote sometime in September. Written comments will be accepted and considered until the next board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2.""

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