Panel shaping survey on possible dog restrictions

Posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Capital Kennel Club of Juneau opposes dog-free areas or any other increased regulations, club representative Sue McGregor told the Dog Task Force on Monday. The kennel club's position comes as the task force is working on a survey to the community about how to solve dog and open space issues.

The majority of kennel club members use trails with their dogs regularly and should have that autonomy, McGregor said.

"You need valid reasons before you restrict people's use of community property resources," McGregor said in an interview after the meeting.

As part of the survey, the task force may ask questions about whether the public favors some areas designated for dogs and other areas that restrict dogs.

McGregor understands having an off-limits area for migratory purposes, such as nesting terns. But the club opposes restrictions prohibiting dogs from being in an area certain hours or days of the week, she said.

The task force has not decided whether the survey will be conducted via telephone or mail and when it may be conducted, said Parks and Recreation Director Kim Kiefer, who heads the meetings. A sample community size also has not been determined, but the task force will likely do a "test" survey of the questions before sending it out to the public, Kiefer said. Volunteers will conduct the survey and do the statistical work, she said.

Karla Hart, program coordinator at the state Department of Fish and Game, created a draft survey the task force began discussing Monday. If Juneau decides to create off-leash areas, James King of Trail Mix Inc. suggested they be spread throughout the city. The task force also decided not to restrict survey questions to trails, but to include open spaces where people take their dogs.

The draft survey asks what trails people use, how often, and if they walk a dog and use a leash. The survey also asks if people consider wildlife when deciding to walk their dogs and if they are familiar with migratory bird stop-overs.

The task force met for the first time in October to address dog-related concerns, including the increasing number of dog bites in Juneau. Anchorage, which also faces dog-related issues, established off-leash dog areas on a trial basis through September 2004.

The next meeting is at 12:15 p.m. Dec. 15 in the downtown library meeting room.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at tara.sidor@juneauempire.com



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