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Grosse Pointe Shores dogs no longer allowed off-leash

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 10, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Dog owners in Grosse Pointe Shores are no longer allowed to let their pooches run free in Osius Park during the winter — or any other time.

The Shores City Council voted 6-1 Feb. 18 in favor of mandating that all dogs be kept on a leash when not on their own property. City Councilman Matthew Seely cast the dissenting vote.

“I was just hoping we could come up with a compromise,” Seely said after the meeting.

City Councilman John Seago made the motion for the leash requirement, saying it was in keeping with state law. City Councilwoman Danielle Gehlert seconded his motion.

“I’m a dog owner,” Gehlert said. “I love my dog. He’s always on a leash. I’ve had dogs that aren’t on a leash go after my dog.”

Circa 2012, the Shores began allowing residents to bring their dogs to Osius Park during the winter, which is a time when park usage plummets. Initially, dogs at the park needed to be kept on leashes, but then the city began allowing dogs to run in the park unleashed.

There is support in the community to allow the off-leash policy to continue — Mayor Ted Kedzierski said last fall that the city received a petition signed by 60 residents who wanted to see at least some allowance for dogs to be able to run free at Osius Park, perhaps during specific times.

However, there also were a number of residents who expressed concerns about dogs being off-leash on public property, and some city officials worried that it might open up the city to liability if a dog bit or injured someone while running free in the park.

The vote means that Trace — a Dalmatian owned by Shores resident and dog trainer Fran Bachmann, the wife of former City Councilman Bruce Bisballe — will no longer be allowed to chase Canada geese at Osius Park to discourage them from congregating — and defecating. Trace was sworn in as a K-9 officer and given a badge in May 2018, and has been on goose patrol ever since, reducing the presence of geese — as well as seagulls — in the waterfront park.

Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte asked the council whether the vote pertains to all dogs, including the goose dog, and Kedzierski confirmed that it does.

“(There are) no exceptions at this point,” Kedzierski said. “If that happens in the future, we’ll have to (vote on it).”

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