City to Discuss Possible Code Change Allowing Dogs in Parks

 

By Bryan Boggiano

Rules to allow dogs in parks might change, but what about goats?

City staff will discuss changes to the current ordinance which does not allow dogs in neighborhood parks,  meeting for a Commission Workshop on Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. at City Hall to discuss this and other issues. 

The current code states that no dogs or domesticated animals in somebody’s control are allowed in a park. The only exceptions are for service animals and on-duty police canines. 

During COVID, the city changed its approach. Neither staff nor police removed dogs from parks, but they had to be on leashes no more than 10 feet long, owners had to clean up after them, and they were not allowed on courts, fields, bleachers, or playgrounds. 

Tamarac and Coconut Creek similarly relaxed their enforcement. Since then, the City of Coral Springs reports more canines in parks with fewer problems. 

Between May 2020 and July 2021, the city received six complaints about pets in neighborhood parks. These included unleashed dogs at Fern Glen Park, Cypress Park East, Lakeview Park, and Betti Stradling Park. 

Someone also walked their dog on the path at North Community Park, according to a city document.

But the most unusual complaint came from Mullins Park, where somebody brought his pet goat.

According to Robert Hunter, Parks and Recreation director, a park-goer brought his pet goat in a golf cart to the soccer fields to graze. He spotted the cart and goat and asked the gentleman what was going on. Hunter stated that carts and goats are not allowed in the park. The park-goer apologized and said that he did not know that.

“I called my rangers to come out and handle the situation. The gentleman left peacefully,” Hunter said. “It was pretty entertaining.”

According to the city, keeping dogs out of 49 parks is hard, and calling the police department to enforce the code and remove defiant park goers presents several obstacles.

Continuing with the current code would not prevent owners from bringing dogs. But, by amending the code, staff could manage dogs in parks more effectively by making sure owners clean up, addressing aggressive dogs, and paying attention to disruptive owners and dogs, according to the city. 

Additionally, the city would have fewer issues enforcing ADA challenges with emotional support and service animals.

As a result, city officials proposed an updated code. That proposal says that no person in a neighborhood park shall permit dogs on athletic fields, courts, playgrounds, parks and recreation buildings, bodies of water, or bleachers. 

The proposed code also states that on-duty police dogs and those assisting people with disabilities will be exceptions to the rules. 

But the most significant change in the proposal is that dogs would be allowed in parks, with conditions. Owners would have to keep them non-retractable leash that is 6 feet long or less. 

The updated code would still exclude goats, and other domesticated animals, from parks.

The goat could not be reached for comment. 

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