Colchester approves ordinance change that keeps dogs on a leash


The town of Colchester approved a change to its code of ordinances during a select board meeting last month.The change comes after an incident that forced a biker to veer off the path to avoid dogs who were off-leash. Upon review, the Department of Parks and Recreation found a discrepancy in the language that outlines codes of conduct in local parks.Deputy Town Manager Renae Marshall said the clarification in language is expected to avoid any further confusion. “We found that had two subsections of that ordinance that had contradictory language,” Marshall said. “So the purpose of the amendment was simply to clarify that people on recreation paths would need to keep their dogs on a six-foot leash.”During the meeting, the Department of Parks and Rec also proposed a formal definition of recreation paths which reads : “Any trail, path or sidewalk in the town of Colchester on town-owned land or town or state of Vermont right of way, made of gravel, dirt, pavement or concrete.” Some dog owners in the area said the ordinance does not affect their routines with their pets. Skylar Haugenes, a local dog owner, sometimes takes their dog, Leah, on Colchester’s rec paths.”She has a good recall and doesn’t really leave my side and so I don’t think it will impact how often I come to the dog park or going on recreational paths,” Haugenes said. Haugenes also said that having dogs off-leash can be beneficial but is a big responsibility. “I think most people want to get their dog more exercise and generally have well-trained dogs, but it is tricky,” Haugenes added. ​As of right now the town of Colchester said the change only affects owners and their pets when using the recreation paths.Owners in larger open spaces can still let their dogs off-leash, but leashing up their pets is recommended if there are more people in the area.

The town of Colchester approved a change to its code of ordinances during a select board meeting last month.

The change comes after an incident that forced a biker to veer off the path to avoid dogs who were off-leash.

Upon review, the Department of Parks and Recreation found a discrepancy in the language that outlines codes of conduct in local parks.

Deputy Town Manager Renae Marshall said the clarification in language is expected to avoid any further confusion.

“We found that had two subsections of that ordinance that had contradictory language,” Marshall said. “So the purpose of the amendment was simply to clarify that people on recreation paths would need to keep their dogs on a six-foot leash.”

During the meeting, the Department of Parks and Rec also proposed a formal definition of recreation paths which reads:

“Any trail, path or sidewalk in the town of Colchester on town-owned land or town or state of Vermont right of way, made of gravel, dirt, pavement or concrete.”

Some dog owners in the area said the ordinance does not affect their routines with their pets.

Skylar Haugenes, a local dog owner, sometimes takes their dog, Leah, on Colchester’s rec paths.

“She has a good recall and doesn’t really leave my side and so I don’t think it will impact how often I come to the dog park or going on recreational paths,” Haugenes said.

Haugenes also said that having dogs off-leash can be beneficial but is a big responsibility.

“I think most people want to get their dog more exercise and generally have well-trained dogs, but it is tricky,” Haugenes added.

​As of right now the town of Colchester said the change only affects owners and their pets when using the recreation paths.

Owners in larger open spaces can still let their dogs off-leash, but leashing up their pets is recommended if there are more people in the area.

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