Hagerstown could tighten leash laws

October 03, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - It could become illegal to walk an unleashed dog in the City of Hagerstown.

On Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council discussed passing an ordinance that would prohibit people from walking dogs without a leash on public streets, sidewalks and other thoroughfares.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the council should pass the ordinance as soon as possible, but he doubted whether enough personnel would be available to enforce the law.

To make enforcement easier, Police Chief Arthur Smith said the ordinance would give Hagerstown police and Code Enforcement officers the authority to issue citations.


The citations then would be turned over to county officials for processing, he said.

The fine amount for violating the proposed leash law was not included in the ordinance's language.

Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, suggested in August that the amount of the fines could be $25 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $250 for the third offense.

Miller also said in August that neither the city nor county has a leash law that covers all dogs.

Leash laws apply to animals who have been deemed vicious and dangerous after biting a human being or another animal without provocation, he said.

As it stands, people are considered to be in control of their unleashed pets as long as the animal responds to voice commands, Miller said.

The council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance Oct. 23, according to city documents.

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