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Tag: commissioners

Get off your butt, Butte

butte

A proposal that would have allowed leashed dogs — leashed dogs! — at all public parks in Butte appears all but dead.

While Butte-Silver Bow County commissioners endorsed the idea of looking at a second dog park, they didn’t budge Wednesday night when it came to a proposal to alter the local law that bans dogs — even those on leashes — in all of the other parks in Butte.

Because, as one commissioner said, “dogs don’t belong in parks.”

Even in a town as stuck in the past as Butte — the “richest hill on earth,” the home of our good friend, the Auditor — that kind of thinking can only be described as medieval.

The council endorsed a measure 7-4 Wednesday night that would open the door for future designated dog park areas, like the one that exists at Skyline Park on Butte’s east side, but the local law that bans all dogs in all other parks appears likely to stay in place for now, the Montana Standard reported today.

Commissioners recently approved an “emergency ordinance” allowing leashed dogs in Skyline.

But it hasn’t acted on a broader proposal to allow leashed dogs in all parks, on public trails and in open spaces.

Commissioner John Sorich moved that the council reject that proposal but leave open the possibility of having other designated dog areas.

“I too love dogs,” Sorich said. “I have a 10-week-old puppy I’m trying to train, but I don’t believe they belong in parks. I don’t have a problem with walking trails.”

Other commissioners backing the ban say many dogs are mean, and leave messes behind them.

“We spent a long time getting dogs out of parks in Butte-Silver Bow County, and a large majority (of people) don’t want to go back,” Commissioner Jim Fisher said. “I’m a messenger for the people, and they are telling me no dogs in parks.”

Ordinances ban dogs from all parks in the county, but not from public trails.

Commissioner Bill Andersen said dogs are an important part of many people’s lives and should be allowed in more parks.

“I like my dog better than most people,” he said.

Kelley Christensen, the county’s special events coordinator, also spoke in favor of the proposal to open parks up to dogs, saying many people have dogs and they should be welcome in more parks.

“We feel this is giving our community a way to walk out in nature with their pets,” she said.

Opening parks in the county to leashed dogs was part of a proposal put forth by Parks Director E. Jay Ellington. He said the ban and large “no dogs allowed” posted at parks signs sent an unwelcome message about Butte.

Ellington recently announced he was leaving Butte to take a parks job in Texas.

(Photo: Walter Hinick / Montana Standard)

A shore thing: Wildwood may get dog beach, and just in time for Memorial Day

wildwood

Don’t know what took them so long, but Wildwood, N.J., officials appear headed to allowing some unrestricted beach access to dogs — unleashed and year-round.

Like many New Jersey beach towns, Wildwood has long had numerous rules when it comes to dogs on the beach, limiting them to winter months, off hours and requiring they be on leashes.

But two weeks ago the Wildwood City Commission — in an effort to boost tourism — voted unanimously to amend the city’s ordinance banningunleashed dogs from the beach and from cross over pathways on the boardwalk in the summer.

If the amendment is approved in a final vote scheduled for Wednesday, dogs would have year-round access — starting this Memorial Day — to a block and a half long, 190-yard-wide piece of beach in the city’s north end, probably around Poplar Avenue, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

It would be South Jersey’s first official year-round dog beach.

The designated dog beach in Wildwood would have water stations, poop bag stations and signs reminding owners to clean up after their pets.

“I’m going to bet that at the end of the summer, the public works crews will report that they had far less issues with doggie messes than they had with finding dirty disposable diapers left all over the beach,” said Peter Byron, a city commissioner, father of seven children and dog owner.

Some local motels — generally the already dog-friendly ones — are looking forward to the change.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing that the city is opening a dog beach,” said Bob Ferguson, who estimates 70 percent of the guests at his motel, the Rus Mar on Ocean Avenue, show up with dogs.

“It just says Wildwood is dog-friendly, which is a good thing for business.”

“Wildwood is not a fly-to, it’s a drive-to place. And people really want to be able to travel with the pets these days,” Commissioner Byron noted. “We think this will be a huge boost for tourism because visitors will have the chance to do that if they come to Wildwood.”

(Photo: By Tom Gralish / Philadelphia Inquirer)

Maryland county votes down barking fines

Worcester County Commissioners voted down a bill that would have established fines for owners of barking dogs, leading at least one citizen who supported the measure to howl.

Jack Davis, a Bishopville resident, made barking noises as he left the commissioners Tuesday night meeting in Snow Hill — in an attempt to show just how annoying the sound can be, according to DelmarvaNow.com.

“It’s really rough when you retire and you want to sit on your porch and in your yard, and hear dogs barking all day long,” Davis said.

In a 4-3 vote, the commissioners nixed legislation that would have levied fines on dog owners for uncontrolled barking and howling in the Maryland county.

“At what point do you start legislating cats and frogs and everything else?” said Commissioner Virgil Shockley.

Worcester County Animal Control would have been responsible for enforcement of the law,  charging owners with a civil infraction, and up to a $500 fine, if their dogs barked for more than an hour.

Of the half-dozen residents who spoke at a public hearing on the issue, all were in favor of the law.

Animal Control Officer Susan Rantz said the county commissioners would be better off looking at the county’s chained dog law. ”I don’t understand how a fine is going to stop the dogs from barking,” Rantz said. ”There are reasons the dogs bark, and I think it’s because they are on
chains.”

Hooray for Hollywood (Florida, that is)

 

City officials in Hollywood (the one in Florida) are considering overturning a ban on dogs along the city’s oceanside Broadwalk (that’s not a typo, that’s what they call it).

Under a proposal from Commissioner Patty Asseff, dogs could be allowed to walk on the two-mile-long promenade — and even eat in beachside cafes.

What’s behind the possible change in policy? Clue: It starts with M and ends with Y. Some city officials see it as a way to bring more business to the shops and restaurants by the sea, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Three years ago, the city experimented with allowing dogs on the beach between Pershing and Custer streets during certain hours for a few hours a day. The experiment was such a success that it became permanent. As for the Broadwalk, though, dogs — unlike bicycles, roller skaters and rollerbladers — are banned.

Asseff announced her Broadwalk proposal at a town hall meeting last month as a way to compete with other cities that already allow dogs on the beach and to dine at beachside restaurants. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the April 21st city commission meeting.

Don’t hit the Broadwalk just yet, though. A $50 fine for strolling down the promenade with your dog is still in effect.

New dog park planned in Bucks County

County commissioners in Bucks County, Pa., are unanimously in favor of  establishing a dog park at Core Creek Park in Middletown — but  not in agreement over how much it should cost.

While all county commissioners support the concept, one is concerned by the estimated cost, set at $350,000 by county Parks and Recreation director Bill Mitchell.

“That’s way too much money,” said Commissioner Diane Marseglia. “I hope in the future we can have talks about scaling it back. I am completely confused about that cost estimate because the last price I thought I heard was about $100,000 and I thought that was too much.”

The 2.6-acre dog park is planned for near the Tollgate Road entrance of Core Creek Park, next to the 24-hour fishing spot on Lake Luxembourg, according to Phillyburbs.com.

Mitchell said the commissioners could vote to send the project out for bids by mid-September and that it could be finished by the end of the year.

Mitchell said dog park users will have to register and pay a yearly membership fee. The park will include a 2-acre fenced-in area for larger dogs (more than 25 pounds) and a 0.6-acre area for smaller dogs (25 pounds or less).

“When I was young, you could take a dog to an open field and let it run, but with all the development, those open fields are less and less,” said Newtown Township resident Patrick Flanigan, who has helped collect about 1,000 signatures on petitions in support of the dog park.

County looks at giving dogs a second chance

Dogs that attack or threaten people or other pets in Washington County, Maryland, would get 18 months to improve their behavior before being labeled “vicious and dangerous” under changes to the animal control ordinance proposed Tuesday.

Currently, animals can be labeled “vicious and dangerous” after only one attack, which has led to protests from owners who say their pets were otherwise well-behaved, said Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, which enforces the ordinance.

The Washington County Commissioners discussed the proposal at their meeting Tuesday, according to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

The proposed change creates a separate designation for “potentially vicious and dangerous animal,” under which first-time offenders could take steps to get the label lifted.

Once designated “potentially vicious and dangerous,” an animal would have to be kept confined and would have to complete an approved training course, if ordered. The owner could also be ordered to take a “good citizenship” course. If there were no additional attacks within 18 months, the label would be lifted.

“Vicious and dangerous” animals must be kept confined and muzzled, and animal control officers may impound them if they are in violation. If the owner does not appeal within a specified time period, the impounded animal may be disposed of, the ordinance says.

Cecil County SPCA faces mounting allegations

The president of the SPCA in Cecil County says she has called for an investigation into the treatment of animals at the facility near Chesapeake City in light of allegations raised by the public, former volunteers and state Delegate Michael Smigiel.

Nancy Schwerzler, president of the SPCA board, called Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office requesting a formal investigation of the abuse claims, according to the Cecil Whig.

“We are requesting an outside, impartial investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Schwerzler said.

Delegate Smigiel posted the allegations on his blog, including the claims of two former employees who described in affidavits abuse of dogs and cats that included shooting them with a .22 caliber rifle.

A large crowd was expected at the county commissioners meeting last night, including some of those citizens who have been picketing the facility.

Smigiel says he has received one or two complaints a week about the facility in the six years he has served as delegate.

They include animals dying during spay/neuter surgery, a high rate of euthanasia, little or no screening of adopters, unclean conditions, inadequate medical care, and the shelter’s director using the facility to provide grooming, boarding and treatment of her own dogs.

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