Last Tuesday, me and a few other dog advocates attended the Salt Lake City Council meeting where almost 2 hours were spent by the Council discussing off-leash dog parks in Salt Lake City. It was a very productive meeting, and I left the meeting feeling very hopeful about the progress towards more off-leash areas. Yay!
The Council met with members of Salt Lake City Parks who presented a proposal based on their research and the needs of the community. The proposal included a pilot program in which 7 existing parks throughout Salt Lake City would have designated off-leash sections at certain times of the day for dog owners to enjoy.
The Council really emphasized the need for the community to get involved in taking ownership of their dog parks and participate in managing, maintaining, educating others and enforcing proper behavior. The community would work in conjuntion with an appointed city Board to unsure the success of the off-leash areas. The proposed pilot program would be a test period that could be shut down at anytime if it were to become a problem to the rest of the community, so it would really depend on everyone utilizing the space well, obeying the rules and cleaning up after their dogs to keep it going!
What you can do.....If you live in SLC proper, contact your District Rep and let him or her know that you are in favor of the pilot program and are willing to assist in any way to maintain it! Everyone on the Council was very much in favor of developing new off-leash areas in the City, as most of them are dog owners as well. Some that are particularly in support of it are Erin Mendenhall, Charles Luke, Stan Penford and Luke Garrott. You can find their contact info here:
The Council also discussed allocating money to build new, fenced in dog parks by 2017. This is great, but in the meantime, I was pleased to hear that they are willing to explore the pilot program in existing parks, so our dogs can enjoy more off-leash time sooner than later!
According to my understanding, a similar proposal will be coming in front of the Salt Lake County mayor and council within the next month with the intention of adding off-leash areas to parks throughout the County! Please contact mayor Ben McAdams and express your approval for this project. I am excited that we are starting to see some action by the City and County. Let's get involved and let them know we are on board!