Poll: Should Rochester make it mandatory for dogs to be on a leash?
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The Rochester City Council is reevaluating its pet leash ordinance in response to concerns from some members of the community that the current rules are to lax.
The council discussed the possibility of a stricter ordinance at a meeting on Monday. Unlike most cities in Minnesota, Rochester does not require dogs to be on a leash when off private property.
"The animal just needs to be under the control of the owner, which means by command or leash, chain, or cable," said Brent Svenby, senior planner at the Rochester/Olmsted Planning Department, in a recent memo to the council. "The animal must also be within six feet of its owner at all times."
The only exceptions to the six-foot rule are when the dog is on the owner's property or fetching and playing on public property. In those cases, the dog must be visible to the owner and within 30 feet of the individual at all times.
The dog must always return to the owner within two verbal commands, the ordinance states. Any dog declared dangerous must never be off its leash.
ordinances in other Minnesota cities:
The council appears poised to adopt some sort of new regulation that would limit where dogs could be off a leash. Members said at Monday's meeting that it's a matter of keeping the community safe.
"Not everybody has the same comfort level with dogs as others," said council member Ed Hruska, according to the Post-Bulletin. "What we're trying to do here is to look at it and create the safest environment possible."
However, there could be some wiggle room. KTTC-TV notes that the council voiced support for creating "leashed" and "unleashed" zones. The latter would allow K-9s to continue roaming public places like dog parks.
There are still plenty of details to be worked out before there is any change in the ordinance. City council president Randy Staver said in a radio interview on Tuesday that the council still needs to evaluate whether a stricter leash law is even practical at this point.
"If we're going to enact an ordinance then I want to make sure we're really going to have the resources available to enforce it," Staver said. "Are we really going to track down dogs and tag people if the animal isn't on a leash?"
The Rochester Park Board will discuss the ordinance at its meeting next Tuesday. The council will then hold a public comment period on April 20.
Click here to learn more about Rochester's two dog parks.