Love It and Leash It campaign
SEDONA, Ariz. – The Sedona Parks and Recreation and Police departments have kicked off an educational campaign designed to help keep all park users happy, safe, and in compliance with city code.
“We have a multitude of people who use the parks for a variety of reasons. We hope that their experience at our parks is a positive one,” says Rachel Murdoch, parks manager. “While park rules have not changed, unfortunately some pet-owning park users are not aware of the rules that require dogs to be on a leash. We love dogs and are happy to have them enjoying the grass at the park, but we need to keep it as clean and safe as possible for all park users.”
Murdoch says too many pets are being permitted off-leash, resulting in unsafe and unsanitary conditions for the many children and adult users who also enjoy the grass area. When dogs are off leash and a good distance away from their owner, the owner is less likely to notice when the animal has gone to the bathroom and therefore it doesn’t get picked up. This problem is a concern at Posse Grounds Park, and a significant problem at Sunset Park on Sunset Drive.
City code requires dogs to be kept on a leash at all times within park boundaries and the city has been receiving complaints weekly from park users who witness violations.
During the first three weeks of October the Parks Department will begin the education process by posting signs at the park and sharing information via social media. The Police Department will patrol Sunset Park daily making sure all dog owners are aware of park rules.
“Our officers will join in the education effort,” says Police Cmdr. Ron Bayne, “and will give warnings during the education period. Our goal is to make sure that park users with pets are aware of the law.”
Beginning Oct. 22, citations will be issued to anyone at the park with a dog that is off-leash. The fine for a violation is determined at the judge’s discretion but could run to several hundred dollars.
Sedona residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of a city program that does allow pets to run off-leash, Yappy Hour, which is held at Posse Grounds Park each Sunday and Thursday morning from 8 to 9 a.m. The Sedona Dog Park will also be a beautiful option for off-leash play once renovations are complete; the renovated Dog Park is set to reopen on Nov. 12.