April 24 - Proposed changes to leash/scoop laws

Changes are coming to the City's leash/scoop laws. See below for information from Ali Ryan, Dog Off-Leash Program Coordinator for Portland Parks and Recreation. Ms. Ryan is available to answer questions or speak with neighbors if need be.

Parks are valued by all Portlanders. To keep our parks safe, clean, and enjoyable for all visitors, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) encourages leash/scoop law compliance through outreach and education, enforcement of leash and scoop laws, and providing legal off-leash areas throughout the city.

Though many dog owners are respectful park visitors, disregard for leash/scoop laws has become common. Currently, Portland City Code allows PP&R to issue warnings and exclusions for leash/scoop violations, with criminal trespass charges as the penalty after a repeat offender has received a warning and an exclusion.  

Rising complaints from park users indicate that this strategy of warning, exclusion and trespass has limited effectiveness in encouraging some individuals to comply with leash/scoop laws. To increase our effectiveness, PP&R is proposing a change to city code that would decriminalize leash/scoop law violations. A citation and fine, rather than criminal charges, would be the penalty. PP&R would then have warnings, exclusions, and citations available as a full range of tools to encourage compliance. 

The proposed code change was supported by PP&R’s Off-Leash Advisory Group, which recommended more effective enforcement tools, ongoing education efforts, and continuous dog park improvements as the best ways to increase compliance.

The code change must be approved by Portland City Council, and is expected to be heard at the April 24 council meeting.

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