Englewood considers changing off-leash rules at parks

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Englewood may consider getting rid of some of its off-leash dog parks.

Englewood’s off-leash rules are unique compared with other metro-area cities. The small city south of Denver has four traditional parks with ballfields and playgrounds that allow dogs off-leash during certain hours.

Jason Park, Duncan Park, Centennial Park and the Northwest Greenbelt allow dogs off-leash from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. during summer months and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. during winter months.

The dogs are not kept in a fenced-in area. They can roam free through the grassy areas of the park as long as they are under voice control of their owners at all times.

“The main reason we love it so much is it is huge, it is not fenced and because of that we feel that our dogs are much safer,” Patricia Mitchell told City Council Monday night.

Mitchell is a Denver resident and brings her dog to Englewood specifically to enjoy the relaxed off-leash laws at Jason Park.

“I think that’s awesome and I think it’s nice to have an open space where dogs can run around like that,” Kat Moran told FOX31 while playing with her toddler at Jason Park.

Not everyone agrees.

“I live literally two blocks from Jason park and I don’t go because the dogs are out of control all day, every day,” Englewood resident Alisa Osemwengie told City Council.

She said her children have been “nipped” by dogs running wild through the park and also complained about dog waste that doesn’t get picked up.

“It makes no more sense than paving an entire park in a giant basketball court and expecting everyone else to just watch out for flying basketballs,” Englewood resident Jake Gilbert told City Council.

Negative complaints about the park prompted the Parks and Recreation department to form a sub-committee in 2018 to study the condition of the off-leash parks.

In June, the sub-committee recommended City Council revoke the off-leash status at Jason, Duncan and Centennial Parks. Additionally, they recommended increasing the off-leash hours at the Northwest Greenbelt to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. year round, adding off-leash privileges at Emerson Park and creating a fenced-in off-leash dog park at Cushing Park.

One thing people on both sides of the issues seemed to agree on during public comment was the need for a compromise. Some residents suggested creating fenced-in areas where dogs are welcome, while other proposed off-leash licenses.

City Council did not consider dog parks as an agenda item Monday night. Council said it will likely take up the issues later in the month or sometime in August.

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