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Police begin education effort at Parleys park

By Jared Page | Posted - Jan. 12, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Regular visitors of Parleys Historic Nature Park will find the area more crowded than usual over the next 90 days.

The Unified Police Department kicked off the Care and Share initiative Tuesday to educate park visitors about existing laws and rules of the park, as well as changes being discussed by government officials.

Parleys Historic Nature Park Rules
  • Handler must accompany dogs at all times and be in possession of a dog leash no longer than 6 feet.
  • All dogs must be visible and under voice control of the handler at all times.
  • If a dog becomes hostile or out of control, it must be removed from the park. Dogs and owners creating problems must leave.
  • Dog owners are required by law to pick up their pet's feces and dispose of it in designated trashcans.
  • All dogs using the area must be wearing tags to prove they've been licensed and vaccinated for rabies.
  • Puppies under 4 months old are not allowed in the park.
  • Handlers are responsible and liable for the actions and behavior of their dogs at all times.
  • Dog handlers must take precautions to ensure their dogs do not disturb wildlife and sensitive environmental areas such as streams, ponds and historical areas.
  • No digging is allowed. Dog handlers must fill holes created by dogs.
  • Owners must quiet dogs that bark, howl or whine excessively.
  • Dogs in heat are not allowed in the park. Users are encouraged to be responsible pet owners by spaying or neutering their dogs.
  • Dogs with communicable diseases are not allowed in the park at any time.
  • No more than two dogs per handler are allowed off leash at any time.
  • Permits are required for organized activities.

Source: Unified Police Department

Officers will be issuing warning notices -- not citations -- for visitors who fail to obey park rules, such as not cleaning up after their dogs.

"The objective we are seeking here today is to get people to understand what the rules are now and what the rules may be in the future," Sheriff Jim Winder said during a news conference Wednesday.

About 50 officers patrolled the 63-acre park and surrounding homes Wednesday, passing out cards to park users and hanging fliers on roughly 3,500 doors to direct people to the Care and Share website,

In the coming weeks, officers will be in the area on a regular basis, visiting with park users, explaining park rules and issuing notices of violation when appropriate, Winder said.

Information gathered throughout the process will be passed on to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council to assist city officials as they work toward finalizing a management plan for Parleys Historic Nature Park.

Proposed changes to what for the past two years has been an off-leash dog park throughout has become a heated issue among dog owners and others who want to use the park.

In December, Becker vetoed the City Council's management plan for the park, saying it didn't adequately limit dogs' access to Parleys Creek and areas that need to be rehabilitated. The council's plan also allowed dogs to continue to be off-leash throughout the park, an action Becker said alienates those who want to use the park without interference from dogs.

The City Council and mayor's office have committed to work together in the coming months to come up with a new management plan. If that doesn't happen, a revised plan the mayor's office presented to the council last month will take effect.

That plan sets aside areas of the park where dogs would not be allowed, specifically the south side of the park. It also would limit dogs' access to Parleys Creek to two points.

David Everitt, Becker's chief of staff, said he believes information collected by the Unified Police Department will be an asset to city officials in revising the management plan.

Winder said money is being shifted from the department's overtime reserves to fund the education effort.

"It's quite a herculean effort to help resolve what has become a very sticky problem," he said.


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