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City Clarifies Rules Regarding Dogs in Birmingham Parks

Dogs are allowed, an updated set of rules says, as long they're on a leash.

Have you ever wondered whether Fido or Spot were actually allowed at city parks?

Now you don't have to worry: at the April 23 meeting of the Birmingham City Commission, commissioners voted to clarify the rules regarding dogs in parks, noting all dogs are allowed in public parks (with a few exceptions) as long as they're on a leash.

Under the revised rules, dogs need to be restrained by a leash or chain that can be, at max, six feet long. The dog must also be under "reasonable control" and everyone — including dogs and their walkers — must comply with city ordinances.

Keeping some restrictions in place, however, was important, director Lauren Wood noted. The updated rules also include a list of areas where dogs are not allowed, including:

  • Areas under or immediately adjacent to play structures and play equipment
  • Sandboxes
  • The playing surface of ball fields
  • Soccer fields
  • Tennis courts
  • Outdoor ice rinks
  • Golf courses
  • Sledding hills
  • Fountains
  • Pavilions and stages (when such areas are in use)
  • Areas designated by the city during special events

All restricted areas will be designated by the Department of Public Services, Wood noted.

The rules, updated by the city's Parks and Recreation committee, will now be distributed to the various homeowners' associations. Should things get out of hand — such as if dogs are found without a leash — Mayor Mark Nickita was quick to note the city will adjust if necessary.

"When other people have their dogs off leash, it's a problem," he said. "We're going to have to regulate and monitor this. If people obey the guidelines and rules, we won't have problems."

"We want to make sure the rules are simple and understandable and enforceable," Wood added.

Paul Reagan May 02, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Reasonable policy. Will work if we want it to.
Dennis T May 04, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Can't tell you how many times I have observed dog owners letting their dogs defaecate in Shayne Park only to walk away and leave it there. There is a dog poop scooper station at Pierce ans Merrill. Perhaps we need another at the Park. My grandchildren and many other children play in that park, and sometimes people sit on the grass. What are the consequences of a dog owner allowing this to happen?
Racer Boy May 07, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Unfortunately, most dog owners feel their individual pets are "special"...come when you call them...never chased anyone or anything...never bit or nipped a person...don't really need to be on a leash...leashes are cruel or confining. So, don't look for any real compliance here. And you can rest assured there will be little or no enforcement like so many other of the City's various ordinances.

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