Town mulls canine code

New Scotland to review policies regarding dogs in town parks

— Man’s best friend has spurred a debate amongst neighbors about what rules or regulations should govern canines in one town’s parks.

The New Scotland Town Board heard from residents concerned about what rules do or don’t apply to dogs in the town’s Stephen P. Wallace Park off Swift Road at a Wednesday, June 12, meeting.

There are disputes over interpretation of the town’s “Dog Control Law.” The Parks and Recreation regulations have left town officials enforcing some form of a leash policy, but this isn’t clearly stated in the town code. Officials are looking to end the debate and clarify the rules.

Mimi Weber, who lives off Swift Road, said she enjoys jogging through Wallace Park, but over the last several months she has been “approached significantly” by dogs that are not leashed that make her feel unsafe. Weber said the owners of the dogs “don’t take it seriously” and she has felt harassed by some dog owners.

“Your own rules state that dogs aren’t allowed in the recreational part of the park, so I am only asking you to enforce your own rules,” Weber said. “It is a big situation and I think it is only going to get worse.”

Weber said the incidents with dogs primarily occur on the trails throughout the park.

“It is a beautiful place to be,” she said, “but unfortunately the only people who can enjoy those trails now are dog owners with their unleashed dogs because it is unsafe for everyone else.”

The town’s local law states dogs cannot “run at large” unless leashed or “accompanied by its owner or responsible person,” and must be “under full control.” The regulations for town parks state animals cannot be in a park’s “recreational areas.”

Resident Saul Abrams said he has walked his dog in the town park for more than 10 years and he has “never seen a dog aggressively approach” joggers. He also claims to have only seen Weber in the park once while he was at it.

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