Opinions Unleashed On Proposed Rules For Dogs

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A proposed leash law was discussed but no formal action was taken at Thursday's Payson Town Council meeting.

Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said there has been a groundswell of sentiment toward enacting a law that requires dogs to be on leashes when not on their owners' property. The current ordinance requires dogs to be on leashes only in public parks and on school grounds. In all other areas, the dog is to be under the owner's control.

No proposals have been made to change current rules which allow dogs to be unrestrained on their owner's property.

Proponents of the new leash law say the current ordinance is subjective and ambiguous.

The ordinance, which Gartner described as "a simple policy decision," got some opposition from council members Jack Monschein and Ken Murphy.

Murphy objected to the ordinance including animals other than dogs, and Monschein noted that the Town of Payson is open range.

"I will not support (the proposal) if you use the word 'livestock' -- it just doesn't make sense," he said.

Town Attorney Sam Streichman told Monschein that the law could be limited to dogs.

But Monschein also has other concerns, among them the fact that police officers will be required to spend time away from their other duties enforcing the new ordinance.

"I went to a police academy and I didn't learn to attach a tag to a dog," he said. He said he would not have a problem with the new ordinance if the town hired more animal control officers.

Council member Hoby Herron said he supports the ordinance, that laws are not made for responsible people. "I think this will give police a better handle on it," he said.

Several people from Alpine Village voiced their support of the ordinance.

"We walk for health," said Tom Huffman. "I am tired, I am absolutely tired of having to be afraid of dogs."

Petition in favor of leash law
Huffman told the council that he had a petition with 800 signatures from people who favored the proposed leash law.

"Bad dogs create folks who are fearful to go out to get the mail," he said. "Another person's expression of freedom ends when it imposes on the freedom of another."

The council directed the town attorney to rewrite the proposal to pertain to dogs only.

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