Off-leash area at issue in Salt Lake park

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    By CHARLES ROMERIL

    Dog owners of Salt Lake City are fighting for an area where their dogs can run free.

    Residents in the avenues, a neighborhood east of the state capitol building, disagree about local leash laws at the neighborhood park.

    The Salt Lake City Council has approved a six-month trial off-leash area at Lindsey Gardens on 9th East and Main Street. Dog owners hope it will become permanent.

    Wynde Klauer, a dog owner who lives across the street from the park, said she is excited about the new area.

    “I feel really good about the trial period. I think dog owners are responsible, probably 99 percent of them,” Klauer said.

    Barbara Gilmour, another dog owner, said she has worked for about six months trying to get an off-leash area.

    “As of last week, we got the area. It is a trial period, and hopefully it will become permanent,” Gilmour said.

    She said the dispute started about six months ago when complaints came from neighbors about the dogs. People started to request that dog owners put their dogs on a leash.

    Gilmour said the area has always been designated as on-leash, but no one ever complained.

    “We weren’t abiding by the law, so we really had to comply, and we have been for the last six months,” she said.

    Some people are concerned about the off-leash area.

    Lisa Bruns, who also lives across the street from the park, said there were many times when children would be playing and the dogs would come and take away their Frisbee or interfere with their games.

    “I was concerned about having the whole park as an off-leash area. It concerns me when the kids are out playing in the park and dog owners are not taking responsibility for their own dogs,” Bruns said.

    Jaynie Brown said it would be dangerous to let dogs run off-leash in Lindsey Gardens. She wants to be sure the dogs are kept away from the playground.

    LeighAnne Boy, a dog owner who uses the park frequently, said before the complaints there were a lot of people who used the park.

    “There was a wonderful neighborhood group here. The dogs would tear around with each other and we would play Frisbee and throw balls with them,” Boy said.

    She said the dogs are nervous around people now.

    “Before the complaints they were really friendly dogs and were used to people. They are not used to seeing people anymore,” Boy said.

    She said there has never been any problems with dogs attacking people, and the owners have always cleaned up after the dogs.

    “We would have loved a larger area for at least a couple hours during the evening, but we feel really happy that we do have a place to be legal,” Boy said.

    The issue will be revisited at the end of the six-month trial.

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