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Council weighs in on city-wide leash law for pets

September 06, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown City Council members on Tuesday debated the merits of approving a citywide leash law for pets and how the regulation would be enforced if adopted.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said she thinks pets in the city should be kept on leashes while in public.

A task force formed by the Humane Society of Washington County in 2004 to review the county's animal control ordinance recommended that a leash law be created in the county, but the County Commissioners haven't taken any action.

The city has already adopted the county's animal control ordinance.

Humane Society Executive Director Paul Miller said the County Attorney's Office was looking at the task force's report.

"The right person has not been attacked yet, and when it happens, things will be changed," Nigh said.

Nigh said she wanted the city to find out the county's status on the leash law, "but certainly, nothing's going to happen until after the election."

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The Humane Society is under contract with the commissioners to provide animal control services in the county.

If the commissioners add a county leash law to the Animal Control Ordinance, the city could then also adopt those changes and expect enforcement from the Humane Society.

Or, the city could adopt its own law, but the Humane Society would be under no obligation to enforce it or impound animals, according to information provided by the city.

The city already has a leash law just for its parks, Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the question was how to enforce the rule.

Hagerstown Police Chief Art Smith said he would have Mark Boyer, a city attorney, iron out the details for enforcing it.

Metzner also suggested keeping mechanized vehicles, such as motorized skateboards, out of the city's parks.

Smith said the city could make it a misdemeanor to violate park regulations.

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