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Commission backs off leash law for county park

August 27, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Dogs in at least one county park can continue to stay off the hook - or off the leash - for now.

Berkeley County Animal Control Chief Brad Sheppard said Thursday he has received complaints about unleashed dogs approaching people and restrained dogs inside parks, but a Parks & Recreation official asked the Berkeley County Commission not to take action yet.

Steve Catlett, executive director of Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation, said Poor House Farm Park may be the only place some dogs can stretch their legs and run off a leash.

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Sheppard had asked the commissioners to put up signs in all city and county parks demanding that dogs be on leashes.

Catlett agreed that dogs at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg should be on leashes because it is a popular park. Plus, he said, the city has a leash law in place.

At Poor House Farm Park, which is outside the city in a rural area, it might be a good idea to allow dogs to be taken off their leashes, Catlett said.

One idea would be to create a special area only for dogs off leashes, he said. He suggested the east side of Tuscarora Creek be such a spot.

Catlett asked the commissioners to withhold making any kind of decision about the matter until after he speaks to the Parks & Recreation board. The commissioners agreed.

The bigger problem with dogs in parks is the "dog dump" left behind, Catlett said.

For a trial period, clean-up bags will be offered at War Memorial Park. If people use them, they will be made available in other parks, Catlett said.

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