On Wednesday, several Lodi residents said most of the new dog ordinances recommended by Lodi’s Parks and Recreation Commission will make parks safer for dogs and their owners.
After several reports of dog attacks at Lodi parks sparked city officials to conduct months of research, the commission voted Tuesday to recommend several new rules to the Lodi City Council. They include:
- Discouraging overly aggressive dogs from entering parks.
- Discouraging owners from bringing puppies or fearful dogs to parks.
- Owners should carry a leash with them at all times.
- Owners should have their animals under voice control.
- Children under the age of 14 are required to be accompanied by an adult.
- Owners are allowed to bring no more than two dogs into parks.
“Those are good rules,” said Jeff Bertsch, whose miniature Italian greyhound, Sebastian, died of a stroke just hours after being attacked by three Alaskan huskies at Vinewood Dog Park in November.
A veterinarian told Bertsch the mauling likely induced the heart attack.
November’s attack was just the latest in a string of incidents, including one in April when a pit bull broke free from its leash and mauled a cinnamon-red dachshund to death at Lodi Lake.
“The biggest rule that needs to be implemented (is) requiring people to be within a certain number of feet of their dog,” Bertsch said. “You should have to be around your dogs or be in the position where if they get in a fight with another dog, the owner is close enough to break it up.”
Bertsch said when his four small dogs, including Sebastian, were attacked, the owner was too far from her huskies to get them under control. Ideally, one of the new suggested rules would prevent a similar incident.
“It’s about common sense and being a good pet owner,” said Vickie Miller, who was found with her two Chihuahuas at Vinewood Dog Park on Wednesday.
Miller said she wants owners to be allowed three dogs at a time in a park instead of two. She also suggests that only neutered dogs should be allowed in the park, in order to prevent possibly aggressive dogs.
Like Bertsch, Jacob Warren, who has brought his pit bull and heeler to Lodi’s dog parks for five years, said the most important rule is requiring owners to be within arm’s reach of their dogs.
“Owners need to be close enough to control their dogs at all times,” he said.
Bertsch is still trying to locate the owner of the three huskies that attacked his dogs.
On Tuesday, he hung signs at Lodi’s dog parks asking the owner to come forward. He said he wouldn’t sue the owner or ask that the dogs be impounded. He only wants the owner to pay for his veterinarian bills.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.