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UL: Londonderry leash law changes spark debate

From the Union Leader:

Londonderry leash law changes spark debate

LONDONDERRY — Proposed changes to the town’s leash law unleashed a wide-ranging debate about rights, public space and responsible pet ownership at a Town Council meeting Monday night.

A few dozen residents attended, many speaking against strict restrictions on letting dogs off-leash in public spaces. But the council ultimately decided to continue the public hearing until its May 2 meeting, to take more time for study and refinement.

“You’ve really let the dogs out with this one,” said resident Linda Boles.

The issue first arose when citizen complaints about dogs fouling in cemeteries prompted the town council to consider creating a leash law. Then they discovered a leash law was already on the books, originally passed in 1976 and last revised in 1998.

Police Chief Bill Hart prerestrictions would be welcome. Lisa Jennings said she fears dogs and frequently has to avoid the unwelcome advances of neighbors’ pets on her property or strangers’ pets in public areas. “I hope the town enforces this law,” she said, “and I hope you value people’s rights more than dogs.”

Though the council continued the hearing without any final decisions Monday, a general consensus seemed to develop among town leaders that the ordinance should force people to keep their dogs under control while leaving flexibility about what that looks like for each owner and pet.

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Updated: April 19, 2016 — 6:50 AM

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