After getting complaints about dogs running free in city parks, Perrysburg officials on Tuesday night updated two ordinances, one that makes it illegal to use electronic tethers in parks and a second that requires pet owners to use up to a 25-foot leash on sidewalks and in parks.
The changes gives authorities more control in dealing with animal complaints. It also eliminates the fear for some park-goers who perceive a dog — like a large German shepherd — as running wild even though it has an electronic tether on, said animal control officer Jeff Studer.
“The guidelines are a little more clear,” Officer Studer said.
Violating the ordinance is a minor misdemeanor punishable by a fine of about $150, Officer Studer said.
But the two council members who voted against the changes at last night’s meeting argued the city was micromanaging pet owners.
“Playing fetch with your dog is suddenly a violation and you get a ticket. Really?” said Councilman Mike Olmstead. “The issue for me is pets need to be under control.”
Councilman J. Todd Grayson said he was concerned about the 25-foot leash wording.
It didn’t make sense that a pet owner was not allowed to play fetch early in the morning with a dog off leash at an empty Woodlands Park, but could bring a dog on a 25-foot leash down Louisiana Avenue during the crowded farmers market, he argued.
“Does anybody here think this is a good idea?” he asked.
But Officer Studer argued the ordinance gives police the ability to make a judgment call on what is appropriate leash length.
“In other words, that’s up to the officer’s discretion,” he said, pointing out the policy sets 25 feet as the maximum length.
If a dog is on a 25-foot leash at the farmers market, “It’s going to be touching people who don’t want to be touched,” he said. “That’s what we’re guarding against at least.”
— Gabrielle Russon