[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of LaGrange 7-14-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Animals — See Ch. 69.
This chapter applies to municipal dog parks, and it does not supersede the obligations of dog owners or handlers under either Chapter 69 of the Town Code or under Article 7 of this state's Agriculture and Markets Law. With the exception of the fact that dogs are allowed to be off leash within the fenced area of a dog park, these other provisions of state statute and Town Code regarding animal behavior and dog owner responsibility are applicable to all users of dog parks. The behavior of a dog as a dangerous dog within the meaning of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, and the enforcement and remedies pertaining thereto, shall be equally applicable to the behavior of unleashed or leashed dogs within a dog park.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADULT DOG
- A dog over 12 months of age.
- DANGEROUS DOG
- A dog which, without justification, attacks a person, companion animal or farm animal and causes physical injury or death or behaves in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to one or more persons, companion animals, farm animals or domestic animals or, without justification, attacks a service dog, guide dog or hearing dog and causes physical injury or death. It is the intent of this definition that a dangerous dog for purposes of this chapter shall be the same as defined within Article 7 of this state's Agriculture and Markets Law, and that the terms "physical injury" or "serious physical injury" shall have the same meaning as set forth in that statute.
- DOG PARK
- A fenced and enclosed area, either existing independently or forming a part of a Town park, that has been designated by the Town for use as an off-leash dog area for the exclusive use of dogs and their handlers.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Town's Recreation Director, a police officer or an Animal Control Officer.
- The person who accompanies a dog for the purpose of its supervision. The handler shall either be the owner of the dog or a responsible person permitted by the owner to bring the dog to the dog park. Any liability of the handler under this chapter shall not be forgiven or excused because the handler did not, in reality, possess the consent of the dog's owner.
- OFF-LEASH AREA
- The fenced, secured section of a dog park where the dog is allowed to exercise without a leash and under the supervision of a handler.
- ON-LEASH AREA
- Any portion of the dog park not included within the fenced and secured off-leash area.
- A. A dog meeting any of the following standards:
- (1) An American pit bull terrier;
- (2) A Staffordshire bull terrier;
- (3) An American Staffordshire terrier;
- (4) An American bulldog; or
- (5) Any other purebred or mixed-breed dog whose appearance and physical characteristics are predominately those of any of the dogs listed above or is a combination of any of the dogs listed above.
- B. Inclusion of this definition is not equivalent to a breed-specific designation of pit bulls as a "dangerous dog" within the meaning of Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. Instead, this definition is provided merely in connection with the regulation of access of certain dogs to an off-leash area of an enclosed dog park where human anxiety and fear of an unleashed type of breed can be expected to discourage and chill the use and enjoyment of the facility by many residents and contribute to heightened and more frequent incidents of unstable behavior among dogs and handlers within a confined area where incidents of instability involving this particular breed may engage the significant strength and destructive power characterizing the breed's anatomy.
- A dog between birth and 12 months of age.
- SHARED-USE OR MULTI-USE PARK
- A park that has playground equipment, an athletic playing field(s) or any other use that attracts children and which facility includes a designated dog park.
The Town Board may designate, establish and improve dog parks as recreational amenities. In so doing, the Town Board shall segregate and secure a separate area as an off-leash area for dogs and their handlers, and the Town Board may exercise that function either through the establishment of property for exclusive use as a dog park or by the segregation and setting aside of an area for a dog park within lands devoted to other municipal uses, recreational or otherwise.
In establishing dog parks for the exclusive use of dogs and their handlers, the Town Board shall consider the property's size, location and frequency of use by members of the public, the primary, actual or designed use of each parcel of land prior to the establishment of a dog park, and the character and proximity of neighboring uses of land.
The Recreation Director shall post signs that notify the public of the separation between off-leash and on-leash areas for dogs.
Off-leash areas shall be securely and appropriately fenced to avoid the escaping of an unleashed dog from the control of its handler and the exiting of the off-leash area.
If practical and funds are made available, the Recreation Director may designate a separate, fenced and secured section within a dog park to accommodate dogs that weigh 20 pounds or less, but this is not an essential standard or goal.
The Recreation Director may designate, if feasible and funds are available, a play and training section for the protection of puppies that shall be segregated and secured from other areas of the dog park, although this is not an essential standard or goal.
The Town Board may adopt by resolution more specific rules and regulations pertaining to the use of dog parks. The failure of the Town Board to adopt regulations shall not render ineffective the provisions of this chapter.
Activities within the dog park shall be limited to the exercise of dogs accompanied by handlers and others, and there shall be no other allowable recreational activities such as ballplaying or other recreational activities.
The maximum hours of usage of a dog park shall be from dawn to dusk unless otherwise fixed by regulations adopted by Town Board resolution.
Handlers shall be responsible for all actions and behavior of their dogs and shall be responsible and liable for all injuries or damage caused by their dogs while on Town property.
Handlers shall be responsible for removing any feces, vomit or other waste material produced by their dogs and depositing such materials in an appropriate container.
Handlers shall keep their dogs on a leash no longer than six feet in length when entering the dog park facility and before moving the dogs into the off-leash area.
While dogs are in the off-leash area, handlers shall control their dogs by sound or voice command.
Handlers shall closely supervise minor children who accompany them to the dog park.
The Town of LaGrange, and its officers and employees, shall not be liable for any injury or harm to any person or dog incurred or caused by any person or dog entering or remaining in the on-leash or off-leash areas of a dog park. Persons who make use of, or register to use, dog park facilities of the Town shall be required to sign a waiver and release of liability on behalf of the Town for such injury or harm. Failure to be presented, or to sign, a waiver and release shall not in any way limit the Town's, and its officers' and employees', exemption from liability under this subsection.
The Recreation Director, or his or her designee, shall have the right to deny any person or dog access to any or all dog parks of the Town for breach of the policies and regulations set forth in this chapter or of separate regulations adopted by resolution of the Town Board.
The actual owner of any dog, if different than the handler, shall be responsible and liable vicariously for the actions and conduct of the dog or handler which results in injury or damage in cases where the owner consented to the handler's possession and supervision of the dog.
Possession or consumption of alcohol or drugs is prohibited in dog parks at all times. All handlers shall be free from the influence of alcohol or drugs while escorting, transiting, training or accompanying a dog in a dog park.
No food, including dog food or treats, shall be allowed in the off-leash area of a dog park.
In order to promote the ability of each handler to keep a dog under voice and sound control within the dog park, the use of any noise-producing devices, including radios, television sets, musical instruments, boom boxes, or equipment driven by motors or engines, is prohibited in a dog park.
This section shall not prohibit the use of law enforcement equipment, equipment for custodial maintenance, or mobility-enhancing devices for disabled individuals.
Before entering a dog park, each dog shall have the current vaccinations required by law, and each handler shall be prepared to provide documentation to enforcement officers of the current vaccinations upon request. Suitable documentation shall consist of veterinary records, vaccine certificates and/or receipts identifying vaccinations issued by a licensed veterinarian. Dogs shall be free of internal parasites upon entering a dog park. Dogs shall have been treated, within the 30 days preceding entry, for control of fleas, ticks or other external parasites.
Required vaccinations shall include distemper virus, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvo virus, together with any other vaccinations required by state or county law which are not included among the aforesaid. Unless required by state or county law, it is recommended, but not required, that dogs have current vaccinations for parainfluenza and bordetella.
Any dog transited to or from the handler's vehicle, or outside of a designated off-leash area, shall be on a leash no longer than six feet.
Handlers shall carry a leash no longer than six feet for each dog in the handler's care in the off-leash area.
A handler shall not bring more than two dogs into the off-leash area at any time.
To prevent injury, a handler shall remove pinch or choke collars from a dog before entry to the off-leash area.
A handler shall not bring a puppy under the age of 16 weeks into any dog park.
Female dogs in estrus (commonly referred to as "in heat") shall be prohibited from entering any portion of a dog park, either on-leash or off-leash areas.
When the handler's dog is in the off-leash area, the handler shall remain within the off-leash area, and the handler shall keep dogs within view and under verbal, sound or signal control at all times.
Each handler in the off-leash area shall be at least 18 years of age. Minor children entering the off-leash area must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Children six years of age and under are not allowed in the off-leash area.
All dogs shall have valid dog license tags attached to them.
Handlers shall comply with all other dog park rules. Rules shall be posted by the Recreation Director in an easily visible location of each dog park.
Handlers shall insure that dogs demonstrate safe behavior and social interaction at all times toward people and other dogs.
Dogs displaying aggressive behavior toward people or other dogs shall be immediately leashed and removed from the off-leash area, after which they shall directly leave the Town park.
Local or state regulations pertaining to dangerous dogs are applicable to all dogs and handlers entering a dog park. Those state or local regulations are not suspended while a dog or handler is within an off-leash area.
The Recreation Director, his or her designee, or any enforcement officer may issue a written notice against trespass barring future entry of any handler or dog in situations where a dog has displayed aggressive, dangerous or vicious behavior towards any other dog or person within a dog park. Causation of actual physical injury is not a prerequisite to issuance of the notice. Persons receiving such a trespass notice shall be liable to prosecution for trespass under this state's Penal Law in the event of disobedience or violation of that notice.
Each dog entering a dog park shall have a current dog license and tag issued pursuant to Article 7 of the state's Agriculture and Markets Law. The dog license tag shall be attached to the dog's collar, and such collar shall remain on the dog at all times while in the dog park or moving to or from the dog park.
Each dog entering a dog park shall wear an individual dog park entry tag indicating that the annual dog park entry fee has been paid to the Town. Payment of the annual dog park entry fee entitles the handler to a single, colorized dog park entry tag applicable to the dog to which it was issued. Entry tags shall be issued on a calendar-year basis. The dog park entry tag shall be colored to denote the calendar year for which it is valid. There shall be a one-month grace period (January) during which time a dog may still have the dog park entry tag for the previous calendar year. The dog park entry tag allows the authorized dog to enter any Town dog park unless a handler or owner of the dog has been issued a trespass notice relating to that dog's behavior. Applications for an initial dog park entry tag shall be made to the Recreation Director or such other person as designated by the Town Board by resolution. Initial applications shall include photographs of both side profiles of the animal's full body and a photograph of the face of the dog facing forward. Applications shall be accompanied by proof of the vaccinations required by this chapter. Applications shall identify the breed, or mixed breeding, of each dog. Any misrepresentation on the application for dog park entry tags shall be a violation of this chapter and may additionally expose the applicant to liability for the filing of a false instrument under this state's Penal Law.
Dog park entry tag fees:
Residents of municipalities other than those listed above shall not be entitled to entry to a dog park, based on the resource limitations of the Town with respect to such facilities.
If the ownership of the dog changes, the new owner shall complete an application, provide a new dog picture, and pay the administrative fee to the Town to transfer ownership of the dog and its dog park entry tag.
All fees paid to the Town of LaGrange will be deposited in the general fund of the Town of LaGrange.
Fees charged in this section may be amended by resolution of the Town Board. The Town Board may establish higher fees for dog owners residing outside the Town.
Dog park entry tags shall not be available for pit bulls as defined in this chapter.
Each separate violation of the provisions of this chapter is a violation and, upon conviction, shall, for a first offense, be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days. Maximum fines shall be $750 for a second offense and $1,500 for a third or greater offense.
If any provision of this chapter is held invalid for any reason by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this chapter.