Council Votes to Update Leash Law, Allow Dogs in Dimmick Park

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If you have already been taking your dog to Dimmick Park in Hellertown, the good news is soon you’ll be able to do so legally.

Hellertown Borough Council voted 6-1 Monday to update the borough’s leash law to require that dogs be allowed in all borough parks and on borough trails so long as they are leashed at all times. Councilman James Hill voted against the change, which means the signs at the park that prohibit dogs in it will soon be coming down.

Historically, dogs have been allowed in parks other than Dimmick Park, although council members have conceded that the dog prohibition there has been seldom enforced in recent years.

“They (bring them there) anyway,” council president Tom Rieger said, noting that there were four or five dogs brought to a recent Music in the Park concert at Dimmick Park.

“I’m all for this,” he said. “Pets are just like family members.”

Mayor David Heintzelman said he also approves of the update, which comes after a borough resident complained recently that the existing leash law wasn’t being enforced.

In response to that, borough police chief Robert Shupp–who was absent from Monday’s meeting–said his department would step up the law’s enforcement.

The only place where dogs may be unleashed in the borough is on private property, however even unleashed they must be under an owner’s control at all times.

“They are very dangerous if they’re not leashed,” Heintzelman said of some dogs.

He also took advantage of the discussion about dogs to make council aware of what he said he has observed is a growing (and smelly) problem along the borough’s portion of the Saucon Rail Trail: discarded “poop bags” that are sometimes simply thrown along the side of the trail.

“I just don’t get it,” Heintzelman said.

The borough provides waste bags and garbage receptacles along the trail where dog-walkers can responsibly dispose of their pets’ waste.

“If a community as a whole wants a nice park system, we all need to do a better job keeping it (clean),” Rieger said.

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