The City of Roswell’s Parks and Recreation Committee met Monday night. One of the topics under discussion was park safety and dogs in the parks, following two incidents in local parks. In the first that took place on May 19, an American Staffordshire terrier (pit bull) attacked and killed a Pomeranian at a soccer game in Cielo Grande Park. The second incident occurred when an 85-year-old woman was rushed by a pit bull.
“We will not be banning dogs from parks,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Edwards.
These incidents at the parks followed a week of attacks on people by pit bulls. City Councilor (Ward I) and Parks and Recreation Chairman Dusty Huckabee said that people should not pick on a single breed because of bad owners. “You can have bad poodles, too…. Just because you have one bad dog, you can’t punish all dogs.”
City Councilor Juan Oropesa (Ward I) said the topic came up because he had received inquiries from people who wanted to know if they could ban dogs at sporting events. It was decided that each organization can determine if it wants to allow dogs at games. “The short answer is yes. An organization has the authority. It can prevent animals from coming to sporting events.”
He said that to ban dogs from parks would require a change in ordinance and vote of the entire City Council.
“The law states that the dog is supposed to be on a leash,” said Huckabee.
The ordinance in question, (City Ordinance 4-36) requires domestic pets to be controlled either by leash, cord, or chain, not more than 10 feet in length in public spaces. The ordinance is not specific to dogs, much less any specific breed of dog.
Fouling the walk ways is another concern. “People just don’t pick up after their animals. We’re getting close to opening our dog park. It all goes back to people being responsible.”
Keep Roswell Beautiful Coordinator Reneé Roach said in a prepared statement, “During summer months, it is common and becomes more frequent for citizens with domestic pets to take them on walks. Although the city encourages outdoor recreation especially with domestic pets, it is unlawful for any owner, possessor or keeper of any domestic pet in the city of Roswell to permit the pet to run at large within the city.”
A pet is considered “running at large” when off or away from the premises of the owner. Dogs who are found loose on the streets are picked up by Animal Control and the owner will have to pay a $40 fee in order to have it released. Furthermore, the owner must agree to have the animal neutered within a specified period of time.
Owners who violate this ordinance may receive a citation including fines up to $150 plus court case costs.
For more information or to report a domestic pet running at large, please contact Joseph Pacheco, Animal Control supervisor at 624-6722.