TRAILS — Spokane County officials announced today they will begin addressing the issue of unleashed dogs — a long-simmering aggravation that's been been stoked in recent years by the purchase of county conservation lands, which many pet owners wrongly assume to be dog parks.
An emphasis patrol to enforce dog leash laws on 12,000 acres of Spokane County park and conservation lands is being launched later this week. The effort is fueled by a $140,000 grant.
Patrols are scheduled for six weeks. The funding also provides for additional patrols by off-duty County Sheriffs officers to deal with issues such as off-leash dogs, shooting and off-road vehicles through June 30, 2013, said Paul Knowles, Spokane Count Parks planner.
The project will start this weekend at Antoine Peak Conservation Area just north of East Valley High School.
Spokane County Park Ranger Bryant Robinson said dogs running off leash is the top complaint from the public, ahead of the No. 2 complaint of off-road vehicles going onto park land.
The breaking point may have come recently when Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard endured the abuse that's been fetching more and more complaints throughout the county.
During a commission briefing today, Richard said his dogs were attacked by three off-leash dogs and when he confronted the owner of the off-leash dogs, he was threatened himself.
“Some people don't take kindly to telling them how to manage their pets,” noted Nicole Montano, animal protection manager for SCRAPS.
S-R reporter Mike Prager was at the briefing and filed this detailed report on the enforcement effort.
Other emphasis patrols currently scheduled include:
During the leash emphasis, authorities will be issuing citations for other violations, including not having a license, which carries a $200 fine, or going onto park land with a motorized vehicle.
Violations of letting a dog run at large, failure to have a current rabies vaccination or having a threatening dog all carry $87 fines.
The $140,000 in funding is coming from a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office NOVA Education and Enforcement grant.