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Town mulls canine code

New Scotland to review policies regarding dogs in town parks

— “Obviously, if the owners are not taking you seriously that is a problem, but most of the people that walk their dogs in the park are doing it at a time of day when there are no joggers,” Abrams said. “I know of no dogs that I have ever walked with that have aggressively approached people.”

Abrams said the town law only requires dogs to be under control while in the park, which doesn’t necessarily mean on a leash. He said he walks his dog without a leash along the trails in the park.

He also contested recreational areas only apply to designated activity spots like baseball fields.

“The purpose of having a natural park is to allow dogs to run free. Dogs need exercise. They need to be able to walk through the woods and smell the trees and bushes,” Abrams said. “There has to be an accommodation for both the joggers and the dog walkers.”

Joe Flynn, who said he has raised and bred show dogs, said he never allows a dog to run unleashed. Flynn said there are several reasons for keeping a dog leashed, such as protecting a dog from animals with rabies or stopping it from chasing a deer.

“Allowing a dog off a leash is just something that is going to come back and bite you,” Flynn said.

Town Justice Margaret Adkins attended the meeting and said several years ago there was a sign that said no dogs where allowed, but then the sign was removed and “there was an assumption that dogs where allowed in the park.”

Adkins said she believed there was a sign stating dogs must be on a leash, which Abrams confirmed, but Abrams pointed back to the town code saying dogs must be under control.

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said there is “some confusion” over what the law means.

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