From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 38 - September 20, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Early: Add pickups to leash law

by Jennie Oemig

With Animal Control Officer Julie Early pushing the Town of Pinedale to amend the wording on the ordinance regarding restraint, as well as a Town Council member’s suggestion that it apply to the whole town, residents may soon have to keep their dogs on leashes at all times.

According to the proposed ordinance, “to be under control, a dog must be confined to the property of the owner, keeper or harborer of said dog; provided dogs may be taken off the property of the owner, keeper or harborer when on a leash, no longer than 10 feet in length, and under the control of a responsible person.”

The size of the dog, as well as its temperament, will be taken into consideration when it comes to determining if the person is responsible, according to the provision. As the proposed ordinance reads now, residents who regularly take their pets with them in their vehicles will be exempt. “This provision shall not apply to dogs confined in a vehicle, cage or similar enclosure or the bed of a pickup truck,” the ordinance states.

Though exempt from the ordinance for now, Early said she will be looking into getting the ball rolling on applying it to dogs in pickups as well.

“I’m going to work on that,” she said, adding that she will be talking with Town Attorney Ed Wood about working on such an ordinance.

“I never thought of that [when amending the ordinance],” she said, adding that she has walked by dogs in pickup beds, nearly being bitten. “There are some not-so-nice dogs in the backs of pickups.”

Council member Gary Heuck said he didn’t think much about including dogs in vehicles in the provision either, but thinks it is an issue that needs attention. “It’s going to have to be discussed,” he said.

Before this revision, Early said the ordinance only pertained to dogs restrained on private property and when walking their dogs in town, the pet owner had to have verbal control over the pet.

“Lots of times, people who think they have their dogs under verbal control, but they really don’t have their dog under verbal control,” Early said of one of the reasons she suggested the alteration of the ordinance. The main purpose behind Early’s recommendation

to amend the provision is to make sure people, as well as animals, are safe when they travel along Pine Street, she said.

Acknowledging that elderly people often walk down the sidewalks and that many dog owners don’t have their dogs under complete control, Early said having the pets on leashes would make the sidewalks safer for everyone. “It’s mostly for the elderly people,” she said. “I don’t want them to be attacked or knocked over.”

Traffic along Pine Street is also one of the concerns Early said she has regarding pets not being on leashes.

“A dog running in front [of a kid on a bike] might see another dog across the street and run out into traffic and get hit,” she said.

At the Aug. 27 Town Council meeting, Early approached the council about a concern she had regarding dogs not being on leashes along Pine Street. She asked that the ordinance be amended to require dogs to be put on leashes when being walked along the main thoroughfare in Pinedale.

Early also said she wants dog owners to be responsible for their pets when they go inside local businesse.

“I want those dogs on leashes,” she said. Heuck then recommended that if the leash law would be applied to one section of town, it might as well be enforced everywhere in the town limits.

“It’d be too hard to separate,” Heuck said of his reasoning behind applying a leash law to dogs all over town. “You can’t hardly make a law for one part of town and not another.”

Early said she didn’t intend to have the ordinance pertain to the entire town, but it was up to the council to make its recommendation and approve the provision.

“I don’t care about the side streets,” she said, adding that her main concern was Pine Street. “ … But I have to go along with the council’s decision.”

With the leash law possibly taking effect next month after the Oct. 8 Town Council meeting, Early said she expects a lot of reaction from citizens regarding this matter. “I’ve had several conversations with people already,” she said. “They know what I was trying to do.”

Pinedale resident Wendi Schwartz said she is not in complete agreement with the proposed leash law and thinks the council needs to address several things before the ordinance goes into effect.

“They need to discuss a what-if,” she said in reference to dogs in pickups possibly biting people.

Schwartz said that aside from leashes, radio control collars should be an option for pet owners. She also suggested the town look into providing a special location in which pet owners can take their dogs.

“They should consider a dog park if they’re going to confine dogs,” she said. Expecting people to have a lot to say about the possible leash law, Schwartz said citizens should come to the next Town Council meeting to voice their opinions.

“I think some people will be up in arms,” she said. “And other people will go with the flow.”

Heuck said he expects mixed comments on the issue, with some people, pet owners in particular, upset and others pleased. “I’ve had comments both ways already,” he said.

Expressing her understanding as to why some people whose dogs have a very calm temperament might be upset by the revision, Early said it’s because of the people who can’t control their pets that Pinedale needs such an ordinance.

“I don’t have a problem with dogs under control,” she said.

The ordinance will go into effect once the Town Council reads and passes the provision three times at its regular meetings. The council passed the ordinance on the first reading at the Sept. 10 meeting and will have the second reading at its meeting Monday.

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