Oregon park rangers seek change in dog leash law

Loophole: Dogs still run loose but dragging leash

SALEM — A loophole in Oregon's leash rule at state parks is allowing some dog owners to let their pets run free, park rangers said.

The Statesman Journal reports Sunday that the rule says handlers "shall either confine their domestic animal or keep it on a leash not more than 6 feet long."

But rangers say that the language in the rule allows people's dogs to roam free.

"There have been instances where a person is walking through a park with their dog running around, and a park ranger will tell them to put their dog on a leash and show them the rule," said Oregon Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Richard Walkoski. "So the person will put on the leash. And then they'll let the dog run off with the leash dangling behind and say, 'The rule says I need to put him on a leash, not that I need to hang onto it.' "

While the number of people who do this is small, rangers are seeking a change to the rule next week when the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission meets.

They want to add language that specifies a person must maintain control of the animal. For example, the language for dog leashes would state that handlers "shall either confine their domestic animal or keep it under physical control on a leash not more than 6 feet long."

The OPRD Commission, a seven-member panel of appointed volunteers, will take public comments before deciding whether the changes would go into place, likely beginning Aug. 1.

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