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Danbury looking into possible ban on dogs in parks

A committee of the Danbury City Council is looking into possibly banning dogs from certain parks.


Councilman Peter Nero has proposed an ordinance to prohibit certain dog breeds from public parks.  State legislation prohibits breed-specific laws.  Nero then proposed prohibiting dogs from Tarrywile Park.  The Executive Director of Tarrywile Park called for better enforcement of leash laws.  Nero said there are people who just don't want to play by the rules, especially in playgrounds. 


Ordinance 12-3, "dogs at large", is the City's leash law.  It says dogs must be on a leash in public places, except at the new off-leash dog park being built near the airport.  The fine for having a dog off leash is $50.


City Attorney Robin Edwards says Danbury also has a Vicious Dog Ordinance.  If a dog is declared vicious, it must be fenced in at all times.  The law is enforced by Dog Warden or Animal Control Officer.


The Ad Hoc committee discussed possibly having more signage about the leash law.  Another possibility discussed is not allowing dogs in the fenced area of the ball fields.  The Committee also may consider a recommendation adding people authorized to write summons.  Parks and Rec Director Nick Kaplanis says the park workers see violations all the time, but aren't authorized to issue fines.


Kaplanis says the last time he checked, there were 1,800 registered dogs in Danbury.  He's hoping the off leash dog park, once its built, will alleviate some of these issues.  Besides attacks by dogs, Kaplanis cited another issue for prohibiting dogs from parks.  When a dog does its business in the mulch area of a playground, it becomes unsanitary. 


Ad Hoc Committee member Fred Visconti said unfortunately signs are signs, people either don't read them or disregard them.


The group decided to continue the meeting to a future date for further discussion.

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Rich Valdes

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