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North Hills

Proposal could open more Ross parks to dogs on leashes

Tony LaRussa
| Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, 10:54 a.m.
Ross commissioners are considering a proposal to amend the law that prohibits dogs in all but one of the township's 23 parks and playgrounds.
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Ross commissioners are considering a proposal to amend the law that prohibits dogs in all but one of the township's 23 parks and playgrounds.

Ross officials have proposed a change to a township law that, if approved, would give commissioners the authority to decide within which parks dog owners can walk their leashed pets.

The only park in the township where dogs currently are allowed to be walked is the trail behind the fields at the municipal building.

But for the past several months, commissioners have been considering allowing dogs in the newly created Short Line Hollow Park off Cemetery Lane near the border with West View.

“This (ordinance change) would give us the mechanism to allow dogs in other parks,” said commission President Jeremy Shaffer, who first broached the idea of opening up Short Line Hollow Park to leashed dogs.

The 53-acre park near the township's public works building was specifically designed to exclude traditional recreation features such as picnic pavilions, playgrounds and ball fields.

Instead, the park, which is still being developed by volunteers, features hiking trails that snake through the property following the natural contours of the land.

Before the township allows residents to walk their dogs in the park, a kiosk with plastic bags used to dispose of animal waste as well as signs outlining the rules pet owners must follow will be installed.

While there have not been any formal discussions about whether dogs will be permitted in any of the township's other 21 parks and playgrounds, Commissioner Pat Mullin said he would like to see the restriction loosened on a case-by-case basis.

“I regularly take my dog for a walk in North Park and in the parks in surrounding communities and there rarely are problems,” he said. “The people I see keep their dogs on a leash and clean up after them.”

Mullin said while some parks in Ross might be too small or overly crowded with people participating in activities, others, such as Denny Park in his ward, would be good candidates for allowing dogs on leases.

He said not having places for people to walk their dogs also can place them in danger.

“There's a lot of places in Ross that don't have sidewalks,” Mullin said. “That means people are forced to walk their dogs along the road while cars are zipping by.” Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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