Dog Owners Can Now Legally Let Their Pets Off Leash

Dog Owners Can Now Legally Let Their Pets Off Leash

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Jed Boal ReportingDog owners in Salt Lake can now legally let their pets off leash at a favorite park. Parley's Historic Nature Park becomes a designated "off-leash" area tomorrow. But the dog owners have responsibilities to live up to.

The signs went up today-- off-leash, a one-year trial. Some people in the neighborhood oppose the idea, but dog owners are determined to make it permanent.

For years, Parley's Historic Nature Park has been a favorite among dog owners, and not exactly a secret either.

Eric Holmes, Dog Owner: "It's doggy heaven. They get to run around down there, a creek, lot's of fun smells for them to cruise around with."

And for years dog owners pushed to let their dogs off-leash here legally. Mill Creek Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Space, or Mill Creek Fidos, petitioned the city for the off-leash designation.

Linda Heymering, Dog Owner: "It isn't creating issues with the neighborhood. They're not on people's lawns. They're not in people faces, they're down here having fun."

But the designation requires the dog lovers group to organize education and clean-up in Parley's Historic Nature Park. Many users pick up after their dogs, others pick up more than their share.

Linda Heymering: "I think we do a pretty good job of policing ourselves. I think that will be evident as the year goes on."

Eric Holmes: "The dogs get a better place to play than the neighborhoods and the streets."

It's a multi-use park, not just for the dogs, and the city will watch closely through the year.

Sheila Yorkin, Dept. of Public Services: “They do need to be with their owners, and the owners will pick up any excrement the dogs leave behind."

Owners must also keep their dogs on leash in Tanner Park at the entrance to the nature park. The dog owners say most are responsible, but not all are. They hope to get everyone walking in the same direction.

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