By Chris Bavender
With warmer weather having finally arrived, the Town of Zionsville and the Zionsville Police Dept. are reminding residents of leash laws.
A town ordinance mandates all animals in the “urban district” must be under reasonable control of the owner, with no more than a 6-foot leash held by the person with the dog.
“It’s just a reminder to help people enjoy their summer and exercise, and it’s important to exercise dogs as well. And if you do it properly, then everyone has a better time,” ZPD Capt. Robert Musgrave said. “Certainly, I think it gives everyone guidelines as to what they should do and see other people doing when out enjoying the parks.”
If a dog isn’t leashed, the owner could be issued a citation or fined.
“We usually issue a written warning for the first violation,” Musgrave said. “Then, the fine is $25 for each violation progressing up to $75 based in a calendar year. It can always go up, especially if an animal is injured and it is the responsibility of the owner to take care of the animal or whoever it bit as far as their medical bills.”
Musgrave said police often receive complaints about unleashed dogs.
“We receive multiple complaints every year, especially of people running up and down the trails with dogs off-leash,” he said. “Sometimes, they get aggressive and attack and injure other dogs, and then the owner tries to get their dog away and they get bit.”
Matt Dickey, Supt. of Parks and Recreation for Zionsville, said his dept. has taken a few calls at park offices related to dogs off-leash on public property.
“But they have been more of reports of the owner/walker is letting them off-leash and they are running around near the owner rather than anything more,” he said.
In addition to leash laws, town officials also remind residents that bicycles are permitted on paved trails only and aren’t permitted on non-paved park trails, such as those in Starkey Park and other locations.