Forks Township discusses allowing dogs in parks

Posted: 10:16 PM EDT May 16, 2013

The Forks Township Board of Supervisors approved creating an ordinance focused on permitting dogs in the Township park system at their meeting on Thursday night. Currently, dogs are prohibited at any park throughout the Township.

The ordinance will address where dogs will be permitted throughout the Township parks and any restrictions that are appropriate for the dog and their owner.

According to the proposed ordinance, dogs will be allowed in any park in the Township on paved or improved walkways and trails only.  Dogs will not be allowed to run freely on any Township property and will also be prohibited from all athletic fields. All owners will be responsible for keeping their dogs under control and will also be responsible for picking up and disposing of all waste.

A suggestion was made to discourage dog owners from bringing their dogs to the parks during “peak hours”, when athletic games are going on, or during heavily trafficked hours, but was immediately removed from the ordinance.

“It’s just too gray,” stated Supervisor Dan Martyak.

Another suggestion was made to prohibit dogs from being allowed in the parks during the Township Community Days or during other heavily populated events. After thorough discussion, Supervisor Chairman Erik Chuss asked the opinion of several Boy Scouts present at the meeting. The Boy Scouts were in agreement that dogs can be allowed at Community Days as long as they are under control.

The final proposed ordinance did not address the idea of prohibiting dogs on certain days throughout the Township park system.

The Supervisors, along with Police Chief Greg Dorney, were in favor of posting signage throughout the Township parks stating “No Dogs Beyond This Point” to help keep dogs off of the athletic fields and away from certain areas in the parks.

“I like the idea of signage in certain areas,” stated Dorney.

The proposed ordinance was passed by a 3-1 vote, with Supervisor David Billings voting against. A final vote will be made on the proposed ordinance after the Township Solicitor addresses any legal issues appropriate.