City urges residents who bring off-leash dogs to parks to use dog park

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 1, 2016

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EASTPOINTE — City officials are urging pet owners who let their dogs run off-leash in city parks to instead use the MiDog dog park, citing safety concerns.

Department of Public Works Director Mary Van Haaren said that while she has yet to get resident complaints about dogs off-leash in city parks like Spindler or Kennedy personally, one of the park attendants in the summer months had brought it up.

“She said people will often come (with pets), and she will see people with dogs off-leash,” Van Haaren said. “She will gently remind them that dogs have to be on-leash, but I think that’s not an uncommon thing.”

Deputy Police Chief Eric Kaiser said letting a dog run around off-leash is a public safety hazard.

“It creates a liability for the person, in that their dog could bite a person or another dog, or the dog could run into traffic,” Kaiser said.

“Animals do all kinds of things that we wouldn’t expect them to. It also makes other parkgoers feel unsafe, as even if the owner has never had an incident, they are still animals that can act in unexpected ways.”

Since letting dogs run around in public spaces without a leash is against city ordinance, Kaiser said any residents concerned can call the Police Department and have the animal control officer sent out. He added that there is a fine associated with having a dog off-leash; the 38th District Court has listed “animal at large” as a $175 fine.

Instead, Van Haaren recommended that dog owners who would prefer to let their dogs stretch their legs off leashes look into the Michigan Dog Owners Group, or MiDog, dog park located at Memorial Park. The dog park opened about a year ago, she said, and was created specifically for that purpose.

To use the dog park, pet owners need to go through the Recreation Authority of Roseville & Eastpointe’s scheduled etiquette classes.

Eastpointe City Councilman John Marion said at a council meeting Feb. 16 that dog owners do not need to bring their pets with them to the class.

Once the class is complete, the owner can fill out an application and get a key fob that grants access to the dog park. The cost is $25 for a resident of Roseville or Eastpointe, and $35 for nonresidents. Dog park users also need to provide a copy of their dogs’ licenses and vaccination expirations. The application and etiquette class schedules are online at www.mi
dog.org, and people can register for a class by calling (586) 445-5480.

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