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Leashed dogs now allowed on Commons in Ithaca

Last month, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance passed a resolution requesting that the City amend the Commons Ordinance to allow leashed dogs on the Commons, which mirrors the existing rules in all other parts of the City. A copy of their resolution is below.

Chapter 164 of the City of Ithaca Code, “Dogs and Other Animals”, outlines the rules for owning dogs in the City. The Code states that in all areas of the City it is illegal for dogs not to be restrained by an adequate collar and leash when they are on public property. This applies everywhere but on the Commons. Chapter 157, “Commons”, states that on the primary Commons no animals are permitted without a special permit, with the exception of service animals providing assistance to people with special needs and police working dogs.

Staff from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, City Planning, Ithaca Police, and the Common’s Outreach Worker meet weekly to discuss Common’s related concerns. Issues surrounding dogs on the Commons have been an ongoing topic of conversation. There are currently many dogs on the Commons, both leashed and unleashed, and staff receives complaints regularly about unleashed dogs. Since the primary Commons is the only place in the City of Ithaca where dogs are not permitted, many people are unaware of this rule. This disconnect creates confusion among dog owners visiting the downtown area and makes it difficult to enforce any rules regarding dogs.

Staff recommends amending the City Code to permit leashed dogs on the Commons. In order to support the City in this change the Downtown Ithaca Alliance has agreed to purchase dog waste bag stations for the Commons entrances.

Also below is copy from a draft ordinance that would amend the City Code and allow dogs on leash to be on the Commons. If the Committee would like additional input, staff will circulate the draft resolution and return next month with any comments that are received.

The Planning and Economic Development Committee will be considering this proposal at their meeting on November 18, 2020. Your comments are respectfully requested by November 12, 2020. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this information, feel free to contact [email protected]

 


 

RESOLUTION

Downtown Ithaca Alliance
Board of Directors Resolution 9.1
Support For Amending Commons Code 157-15 to allow dogs on the Commons

Whereas, the primary Commons is the only place in the City of Ithaca where dogs are not allowed; and
Whereas, there are many dogs already on the Commons whose owners are not familiar with the Commons rules which are different from anywhere else in the City; and
Whereas, the City already has a comprehensive set of laws under Chapter 16: Dogs and other Animals – Article II https://ecode360.com/8388627; and
Whereas, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance will purchase dog waste bag stations for the Commons entrances and will ask for City help to install same; and

Therefore be it resolved that:

The Board of Directors of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) does express its interest and support for changing the Commons ordinance regarding dogs to mirror the City of Ithaca ordinance regarding dogs thus allowing uniform enforcement throughout the entire City.

September 21, 2020 DIA Board Meeting via Zoom
Motion made to approve by Brett Bossard
Second by Megan Vidler
Motion passed unanimously

DRAFT ORDINANCE

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE MUNICIPAL CODE OF THE CITY OF ITHACA, CHAPTER 157, ENTITLED “COMMONS” TO ALLOW FOR LEASHED DOGS ON THE PRIMARY COMMONS

WHEREAS, Chapter 164-Article II of the City of Ithaca Code, “Dogs and Other Animals”, states that in all areas of the City it is illegal for dogs to not be restrained by an adequate collar and leash when not on private property, AND

WHEREAS, Chapter 157, “Commons”, further states that on the primary Commons no animals are permitted without a special permit, with the exception of service animals providing assistance to people with special needs and police working dogs, and

WHEREAS, because the primary Commons is the only place in the City of Ithaca where dogs are not permitted, many people are not aware of this rule and bring their dogs onto the Commons, and

WHEREAS, this inconsistency with the rest of the City creates confusion among dog owners visiting the downtown area and makes it difficult to enforce any rules regarding dogs; now therefore,

BE IT NOW ORDAINED AND ENACTED by the Common Council of the City of Ithaca that Chapter 157 of the Municipal Code of the City of Ithaca, entitled “Commons”, is hereby amended as follows:

Section 1. Chapter 157, Section 157-15A, be amended to read as follows:

§ 157-15. Dogs and other animals

A. No animals are allowed on the Primary Commons except by special permit. This provision does not apply to leashed dogs, as allowed by Chapter 164-Article II-“Dogs”, and any service animals providing assistance to people with special needs and police working dogs.

Section 2. Severability. Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of this local law. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this local law is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, then that decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion.

Section 3. Effective date. This ordinance shall take affect immediately and in accordance with law upon publication of notices as provided in the Ithaca City Charter.

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