More city parks may open to dogs - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

More city parks may open to dogs

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 MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison's Parks Commission Board plans to look at whether the city's ban on dogs in the majority of Madison's more than two hundred parks makes sense.

"I definitely think it's time to re-look at the policy," board chairman David Wallner says. "I think more and more people own dogs. I think the number of dogs has increased in the city."

Madison has several fenced, off-leash dog parks, where dogs can run free. Wallner says the parks are popular.

"There's a lot of pressure that's been building. We've added dog parks, four new spaces in two years," Wallner says.

The ban on dogs in the majority of city parks includes even dogs on-leash. But some dog owners tell 27 News they believe a continued ban in those parks may be appropriate.

"There are people who just don't want to be near dogs," dog owner Phyllis Sanfilippo says. "To know that you're safe is a critical thing."

At Vilas Park - one of the parks with a ban on dogs - parent Courtney Redepenning says she's more comfortable pushing her two young children in a stroller on the park's walkways with the knowledge she will not encounter dogs. "Even if the dog has a good temperament normally, you never know if they could decide to bite."

Wallner says he believes the majority of dog owners in the city are conscientious, but says complaints over dogs running loose in city parks are some of the most frequent complaints received by the parks department.

Wallner says he anticipates discussion of relaxing policies that bar dogs from most parks to intensify in the fall.






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