On Tuesday, November 30, the Berlin Town Council will receive public input at a 7pm hearing regarding changes being proposed for its animal ordinance. The town’s ordinance committee presented a draft to the Town Council on October 19, that would amend the rules on leash and restraint requirements for dogs, by amending the definitions for “at large,” “designated public property,” and “public nuisance”.
As presented, the changes would prohibit an owner or keeper from allowing a dog off leash unless:
- The leash or lead is 7 feet or less on school or other non-designated public property;
- The leash or lead is 10 feet or less on designated public property (reduced from 20 feet); and
- “Until such time as the Town Council acts to permit, with those conditions, limitations, and/or restrictions it deems appropriate for off-leash areas”.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) believes that owning a dog is a rewarding experience that brings great joy and happiness to any household. With dog ownership comes long-term emotional and financial commitment and a variety of responsibilities, such as exercise.
AKC GR recommends amending the text to guarantee an owner or keeper has reasonable opportunities and space to allow a dog off leash or lead for purposes of exercise. In addition, exceptions to the restrictions ought to be included not only for “dogs owned or controlled by law enforcement agencies in the course of their official duties,” but for other working dogs as well. There are legitimate instances when a dog may be appropriately off the owner’s/keeper’s property without a leash, for example:
- During hunting, field and training activities and agility, obedience, rally dog events;
- When a handler’s disability prevents use of a harness, leash, or lead on a service dog; or
- When a dog is a working farm dog protecting domestic animals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Anyone wishing to submit comments to the Town Council members can click here for the email address; or
- Plan to speak at the public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, November 30, at 7pm at the Berlin Town Hall, 240 Kensington Road, Berlin, CT 06037. Town Council meeting agendas are here.
AKC GR will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.