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Anchorage considers changes to local leash law

Anchorage considers changes to leash laws.
Anchorage considers changes to leash laws.(ktuu)
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:59 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Changes could be coming for people who like to let their dogs off-leash in Anchorage. The municipality’s Animal Control Advisory Board has a proposal that would tighten-up where off-leash dogs are allowed.

Tamiah Liebersbach, with the Municipal Health Department, said the major changes involve multi-use trails where people bike, walk and ski, as well as in local neighborhoods.

“Basically, your dog would have to be on a leash if they are on a multi-use trail, if they are on a sidewalk or street or in a residential area,” she said.

Liebersbach said on leash, means exactly that, and does not include animals under voice command or dogs who wear electronic collars. The rules at local dog parks wouldn’t change.

Liebersbach said the proposal, which is more relaxed than an earlier proposal the advisory board was considering, is meant to reduce conflicts in places where people and animals intersect.

“It’s combination of public safety and safety of the dogs when we are looking at this,” Liebersbach said. “And then certainly with the multiuse trails, making sure that people who aren’t as comfortable with loose dogs can also use those trails and feel comfortable doing so.”

But Leibersbach said the proposal doesn’t just limit people to dog parks. People who are doing activities that a leash would prohibit could do so in public parks, as long as they followed the rules.

“But they still need to be under voice command and then not disturbing other members of the public. So if you are playing frisbee in the park with your dog, your dog shouldn’t be running over and disturbing the people having a picnic or the kids playing soccer. Your dog should still be in your control.”

She said walking or running with a dog off-leash in a public space would not be considered something that could only be performed off-leash and would therefore, not be allowed.

The Advisory Board will take public testimony on the proposal on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and will accept written proposals through Feb. 5. The Anchorage Assembly would have to approve the proposal and could get the proposal by mid February.

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