Assembly lets dog owners opt for 'voice control'

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dogs must be on a leash or under competent voice control in most of Juneau's parks and trail, the Juneau Assembly decided Monday.

The Assembly adopted the Dog Task Force's recommendations on which city trails dogs should be on-leash or off-leash. The new dog rules will take effect in seven days.

The task force has been meeting with dog owners and residents to come up with the proposal since October of 2003.

Chava Lee, executive director of Gastineau Humane Society, said complaints about dogs have been decreasing since the task force started meeting.

"Dog owners have become more aware of the actions of their dogs," Lee said.

The city requires that dogs be on leash all the time at the paved trail of Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei (Brotherhood Bridge), Rainforest Trail between May 1 and Sept. 30, Mount Roberts Trail from the tram terminal to the intersection of Gold Ridge and Gastineau Peak and the paved path along Twin Lakes.

The city will ban dogs at Auke Lake Trail, Police Station Pond, the East Pond Spur trail of Fish Creek and Adair-Kennedy artificial turf field.

Dogs can run off-leash at fenced sports fields for exercise and dog training purposes with the exception of the artificial field at Adair-Kennedy Park.

Between March 15 and October 15, dogs can use the fields on weekdays after school and Sundays. Saturdays are closed due to high sports use. Dogs can use the fields the rest of the year except during school hours.

Dogs should be on a leash or under competent voice control in areas that are not mentioned in the regulations.

Parks and Recreation Department officials say "competent voice control" means the dog must be within the owner's sight and under verbal control at all times, regardless of distractions such as wildlife, other dogs, food or other park visitors. If a dog jumps on, barks at, or acts aggressively toward people or other dogs and fails to return to the owner upon command, the dog must be on a leash.

Assembly member Randy Wanamaker asked Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly Kiefer how the city would enforce the rules.

"The focus is on education," Kiefer said. "Parks and Recreation has been working with Gastineau Humane Society, Grateful Dogs of Juneau and Capital Kennel Club of Juneau to educate dog owners."

Lee said dog owners and those without dogs should learn how to share trails.

"We all need to get along," Lee said.

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