With the recent colder temperatures, and smaller crowds in the park, we have seen an increase in dog owners walking their dogs off-leash. Maybe these dogs have made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, but The Parklands rules state plainly, “Dogs must be leashed at all times except in the Bark Park.” These park rules are located on the trailhead signs as well as on each of the doggie bag dispensers throughout the park. But the leash regulations are not just a Parklands rule, they’re the law in Louisville, so visitors not abiding by the rules are showing negligence.
Almost every time I come across an off-leash dog on my rounds in the park, the owner seems to have their leash handy and is willing to comply with the rule when asked to. I challenge you to make that decision before you’re asked. Rules are rules for a reason, and it’s not just to spoil your fun. Many of us are “dog people” and completely understand the urge to let your dog run, but here are a few things to consider before you give in to that urge:
- It’s the law. The Louisville/ Jefferson County Metro Government, Code of Ordinances Chapter 91, under RESTRAINT, states specifically that, “If off the premises of the owner where permission has not been granted, the animal must be restrained by a lead or leash and under the control of a reasonable person physically able to control the dog…”
- Not everyone likes dogs. A dog on a leash shows that you are in control of your dog and that you respect those who wish to keep their distance from your dog.
- People can be injured by loose dogs. Whether intentional or not your dog could bite, knock over, or injure someone (and you could be liable).
- Leashes promote your pet’s safety, keeping them out of the way of cyclists and cars, or wildlife that might see them as a threat.
- Dogs that run off designated trails may destroy plants, leave feces, cause stress to small mammals, and otherwise disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem we work so hard to protect.
If you still want to give your dog a chance to run free, we have a wonderful option in The Parklands. As stated in our park rules the exception to the leash rule/law is the area designated as “The Barklands of Beckley Creek Park”. Our dog park is run by The Louisville Dog Run Association, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to operating off-leash dog parks in Louisville. A membership with the LDRA entitles members to utilize any of these dog parks around town for a small annual contribution, and if you already frequent Beckley Creek Park, The Barklands are a convenient option.
Please do your fellow park users, The Parklands staff, and your dog a favor by obeying the park rules—we’ll all thank you for it!