by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — City Council has scheduled a special vote by Australian ballot on June 20 to tackle the topics of the school district merger (Montpelier with Roxbury), new school board election (should the merger go through), tax stabilization and a dog leash law (advisory only) for Hubbard Park. Early voting starts May 29. Polls will open June 20 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Asked which of the four ballot items have elicited the most interest, City Clerk John Odum replied by email to The Bridge: “Article 4 (Dog Leash law) has generated a steady stream of comments, conversations and emails. The other 3 have generated very little.”
And which topic has riled people up on the Montpelier and East Montpelier Front Porch Forum? Again, the proposal of a leash law in Hubbard Park. (There are other parks, such as the North Branch River Park, that require dogs to be leashed.)
Bronwyn Fryer posted on Front Porch Forum in support of allowing dogs off leash in Hubbard Park: “To the people who want dogs leashed in Hubbard Park: we’ve been taking our dog there for years and haven’t witnessed trouble. Every dog we’ve seen is well behaved and under control. Dogs should certainly be leashed in town and on streets, but they also need to run and play. The virulence of the attacks on dogs and their owners is worse than any attacks by the dogs themselves. Just for fun, here is a link to a video of our dog at “work” at Botanica Florals. http://www.wcax.com/story/28104523/meet-the-dog-capturing-hearts-at-a-montpelier-flower-shop.”
Matt Swenson of East Montpelier posted against allowing dogs off leash, “The City Council has been completely ineffective in doing anything about this. Someone should start a class action suit against the City for mismanaging the park. I no longer use the park or live in Montpelier. When I used the park I was attacked by a dog completely unprovoked. With the unreasonable cost of living in Montpelier due to high taxes and unnecessary fees, people should not feel unsafe or threatened to use public areas dogs are also a major threat to the ecology In the park. Common sense would say that just having a designated fenced area for dogs to run free if they chose to eat each other that would be the owner’s responsibility.”
The current canine code of conduct in Hubbard Park welcomes dogs, allows them off leash, but only if the owner can keep the dog under voice control at all times. Otherwise dogs must be leashed. Owners are also responsible for preventing the dog from unwanted interaction with others, having a current rabies vaccine and cleaning up dog waste.
The current code of conduct for North Branch River Park also welcomes dogs, but require they be on a leash at all times. Their code also contains the other requirements as Hubbard Park, such as preventing unwanted interaction and cleaning up dog waste.
A Dog Control Committee meeting concerning the new ordinance will be held at City Hall, May 22, 3:30 p.m.
To view comments on dog control on the city website, visit: www.montpeliervt.org/documentcenter/ view/1198.
The City of Montpelier vote on the Hubbard Park Leash Law is advisory only.
To view the warning in its entirety, go to the City Clerk’s page at http://www.montpelier-vt.org/162/City-Clerk.