Parks and Rec commission approves dog leash regulations
Dog leash rules will take effect in October
The Parks and Recreation Commission approved the regulations outlined in June for leashing dogs in parks Wednesday night.
The new regulations, which would take effect on Oct. 1, establish rules for when and where dogs can be off-leash and where they are required to be leashed. The new regulations were outlined during a public hearing in June and the commission agreed to meet again Wednesday night in order to approve the regulations after they were written in a legal format.
The only concern with the regulations was voiced by Commission member Susan Daly who wanted to add in a requirement that dogs not be allowed to be in any of the playgrounds at the parks.
"I've seen some big dogs on the playgrounds on a long lead and I'm worried that a leash won't necessarily prevent them from biting someone," Daly said.
The commission agreed to add the regulation that dogs not be allowed in the playground areas before voting to repeal the current regulations which would expire on Sept. 30, before the new regulations take effect Oct. 1.
An area between the Darien Nature Center and Brookside Road would be designated as an off-leash area, year round, from dawn until dusk. All dogs must be leashed when walking to and from the parking lot; no dogs are allowed on the playing fields, playgrounds or community gardens. During off-peak hours from Sept. 1 to May 31, dogs are allowed off-leash in the designated area, and from dawn until 10:30 a.m. in the rest of the park.
Dogs are not allowed off-leash anywhere except the designated area on weekends; during peak hours from June 1 until Aug. 31 dogs are only allowed off-leash in the designated area. The commission voted unanimously for the conditions. Cherry Lawn Park would be subject to a review six months after the rules go into effect. At Tilly Pond Park, dogs would be allowed off-leash from dawn until 10:30 a.m. on weekdays except for special events.
Woodland Park and Selleck's Woods would require dogs to be on-leash at all times. A proposal was put forward to allow off-leash on a designated trail but it was rejected after commission members referred to a report from the police department saying it would be impossible to enforce the rules if certain trails were off-leash and others required dogs to be leashed.
Stony Brook and the Diller property was designated as off-leash from dawn until dusk, seven days a week. Town Hall, McGuane Park, Holohan Field and Baker Field would require dogs to be leashed at all times.