Below are a few good reasons to keep your pet leashed when visiting the parks, no matter how well-behaved your dog is. Keeping dogs on leashes protects our waterways, the natural environment, park users and the dogs themselves.
1. Pick-up the Poop! No one likes hiking on trails and having to avoid stepping in what someone else’s four-legged friend left behind! When dogs are leashed, it is easier for owners to find and remove their dog’s waste, which, when left in parks, can be washed into streams and waterways.
2. Not Everyone is a Dog-Person A leash will keep your dog from running up and greeting every person he sees. Leashing your dog is the polite thing to do as some people may be afraid of dogs. Many people want to enjoy a visit to the park without a dog bothering or frightening them. Even a friendly dog can injure elderly or very young park users if allowed to jump and run freely.
3. Can’t Get Lost On a leash your dog is less likely to chase after something. A dog on a leash can’t go very far if he sees a squirrel or bird. A loose dog could chase after them and get lost or hurt. Dogs who accompany their people on leashes are less likely to get lost.
4. All Dogs are Not Friendly Just because your dog is friendly, doesn’t mean the other dogs he is going to encounter will be. It’s best to keep your dog near you on leash rather than risk him going up to greet the “wrong dog.” If there’s a hint of aggression, you can quickly pull your dog away and defuse the situation.
5. Protect the Habitat and Wildlife Keeping pets leashed when walking in the county parks also helps protect the habitats. Dogs running off the trails damage plants and can destroy habitat available to wildlife, especially ground-nesting birds.
6. It’s a St. Joseph County Ordinance!: County Ordinance 131-33
Thank you for keeping your dog on a leash and allowing the parks to be a stress free place to visit!