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Bite Prompts New Castle To Review Park Dog Rules

MILLWOOD, N.Y. – An incident in which an unleashed dog bit a town employee has prompted Parks and Recreation chief Robert Snyder to seek more aggressive enforcement of New Castle's dog regulations.

In a letter to the Town Board, Snyder said dog owners are consistently breaking leash and health laws and making the town’s parks unsafe and unsanitary. The straw that broke the camel’s back came on Aug. 1 in Gedney Park when a town employee was bitten by an unleashed dog.

“It has become increasingly apparent to me that the current dog regulations as they relate to the parks are not working,” Snyder wrote. “This is the third time in the last five years that a town employee was bitten by an unleashed dog.”

Snyder said he has witnessed dogs running without leashes, owners walking more than the maximum of three dogs, dogs diggings holes in park ball fields, dogs drinking from public water fountains and bathroom sinks and other infractions.

“At the very least, our next first step should be to re-educate the residents with information on the current rules and aggressively issue tickets to folks that disregard them,” Snyder wrote. “If this does not work we would need to consider not allowing dogs in the parks at all.”

Town Clerk Jill Shapiro agreed that some dog owners have ignored the rules, which are posted throughout Gedney Park, but said the missing component is enforcement.

“I would propose we ask the Police Chief to post our part-time dog warden in Gedney Park at random times to patrol and enforce our park rules with respect to dogs,” Shapiro wrote.

The parks’ dog rules will be discussed by town officials Wednesday during a Town Board work session.

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