Inver Grove Heights changes dog leashing and licensing requirements

After several months of work and discussion, the Inver Grove Heights City Council approved the third and final reading of changes to dog licensing, dog leashing and dangerous dog ordinances at its April 8 meeting. 

Eric Carlson, parks and recreation director, said that night the ordinance was mostly the same as the council had seen earlier, with the exception of rules on leashes for dogs. Carlson said dogs in common areas of apartments, cooperatives, townhomes and condos will be required to be kept on a leash that does not exceed 16 feet, and be under restraint at all times. Dogs need not be leashed on their owner’s property, in a car or at Heritage Village Dog Park.

The city will no longer require dogs to be licensed. Dogs will be required to be vaccinated and if found unvaccinated, the owner will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any dog using an off-leash dog area will be required to be vaccinated and purchase an off-leash dog park pass annually. 

Council member Rosemary Piekarski Krech asked why they were regulating dogs on private properties like the common areas of condos and townhomes.

Carlson said there was some discussion about adding that language from Tim Kuntz, the city attorney, so that the regulations were the same for all public property.  

“But that’s not public property,” Piekarski Krech argued. “If I’m paying $500 a month to a condo association, I don’t want the city coming in and telling me what I can and can’t do on that property.”

Interim Police Chief Sean Folmar said in the previous ordinance that manufactured housing communities were the only type of housing where dogs were required to be on-leash. He said the common spaces in housing communities — be them manufactured, townhomes or apartments — are some of the biggest generators of public complaints to the department about dogs running loose.

Folmar said it was only fair that all types of community housing be addressed equally in the ordinance, or that they all should be taken out. City Clerk Michelle Tesser said that townhome associations often tell people to refer to city code for issues not addressed in association bylaws.

While Piekarski Krech said the ordinance was government interference, Mayor George Tourville said he thinks people want the city to step in so leash rules are uniform. 

The council ended up voting unanimously to approve the changes, with Piekarski Krech a grudging “aye.”

The new ordinance changes will take effect May 1.

 

–Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com.

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