Dog policy

Supervisors voted Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 2) to specify certain areas in which dogs can run off-leash at Pleasant Grove Park, but did so with the stated desire to revisit the issue in another few months.

The new policy reads, “Dogs must remain on-leash at all times while in county parks, except in designated off-leash areas or at special events during prescribed times.”

Under the new policy, dogs are not allowed at all in horse trailer parking, on playgrounds, or at ball fields except as spectators.  If they are in the ball field area they must be on-leash and may never actually go onto the fields.

On the flip side, dogs are always allowed off-leash at the dog park, which Parks and Recreation Director Jason Smith said will double in size this fall.  Dogs may also always run off-leash at two dog run fields near the entrance to the park.  Dogs may also be off-leash at Sandy Beach at certain times.

Whether dogs are allowed off-leash on the various trails at Pleasant Grove has been a touchy subject, with the county recommending against it and much of the dog-owning public pushing for it.  In fact, the last time the dogs off-leash policy came up for a vote on July 1, supervisors deferred a decision until more off-leash options for trails were available.

So when Smith suggested four off-leash trail options but reiterated the county’s recommendation that dogs not be permitted off-leash on trails, Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch expressed frustration.  “If I ran a company and my subordinates came back to me with the same recommendation that I told them wasn’t a good recommendation…I’d have a little bit of a problem with that,” he said.

County Administrator Steve Nichols disagreed.  “You didn’t ask us to come back with a different recommendation,” he said.  “You asked us to come back with options – a broader array of options.  And that’s precisely what we came back with.”

Ultimately Ullenbruch made a motion to accept the parts of the policy that stated where dogs are not allowed and where dogs may run free – facets of the policy on which supervisors agreed – but also moved to allow dogs off-leash on trails east of the ball fields if owners carry leashes in their hands.  Supervisor Tony O’Brien agreed, but voting stalled with the other supervisors.

“If we deem it necessary we could come back and review this in three months,” Supervisor Mike Sheridan said as he decided to vote for the motion.  “It would be nice to have an update down the road.”

Supervisor Don Weaver then agreed as well, reiterating that supervisors could revisit the policy at a later date.

The motion passed 4-1 with Chairperson Mozell Booker dissenting.

Though the new policy doesn’t carry the same weight as a leash law or ordinance, those who fail to comply may be asked to leave the park.  People expelled from the park who refuse to leave or who come back inside the park become trespassers.


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