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Clifton Park law reins in off-leash behavior for dogs

The Clifton Park Town Board approved a new leash law for the town at its Monday, Sept. 15, meeting. Long in the works, the law requires dog owners to leash their pets anywhere in town except for their own property and two of the town's parks.

The law will go into effect on Oct. 30, at which time dog owners will need a $30 permit to let their dogs off leash at either Mary Jane Row Dog Park (where the fee was already required) or Kinns Road Park. The former will still be for town residents only, while applications for Kinns Road will be accepted from all over the county.

The law has been controversial ever since it was proposed months ago, with proponents arguing the law provides safe opportunities to dog owners and detractors saying they don't want Kinns Road overrun by roaming dogs.

Town Board members say that the law strikes a balance between those positions though, and that potential unruly behavior or unauthorized use by canines can be controlled by putting the user fees toward the animal control office.

All those fees that come from this are going to go into our animal control office, said Councilman Scott Hughes.

Supervisor Philip Barrett called the fee "moderate and appropriate" in light of efforts to keep town taxes at a minimum.

"The changes are not only for the betterment but also for the safety and enjoyment of all residents who use Kinns Road Park and all parks in town," said Barrett.

The board noted that the town has other parks available for residents who don't care for the off-leash environment, and more are on the way with the upcoming Route 146 Park.

The board will revisit the leash law in six month to make sure it works properly in Kinns Road.

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