December 21, 2014

Understanding town dog control laws

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Paul Dickin walks his dog, Alfie -- whom Dickin said is occasionally called Suarez, after the Uruguayan soccer player, for his tendency to act as if he is about to about someone -- on the Williston bike path.

Paul Dickin walks his dog, Alfie — whom Dickin said is occasionally called Suarez, after the Uruguayan soccer player, for his tendency to act as if he is about to about someone — on the Williston bike path. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

Town Clerk Deb Beckett and Williston Animal Control Officer Marilla Whitcomb have teamed up to educate Willistonians about the town dog control ordinance.
The pair have held education days on the bike path, reaching out to pet owners.
While in most parts of town, dogs must be under voice command or leashed, all dogs on the bike or recreation path must be on a leash.
Beckett said her office gets calls from people concerned with dogs off leash and while owners may know their dogs won’t cause any problems, others may not be so sure.
“Dogs may be absolutely fine, but there are a number of people that go for walks on the rec paths that are very much afraid of dogs,” she said. “For them, even a friendly dog coming up is problematic.”
The town requires that all dogs in Williston have a collar with a tag that says the owner’s name and address and a town registration tag.
All dogs must be registered with the town, though Beckett said the number of registered dogs declines every year. Registering—which costs $12 for spayed and neutered pets and $18 otherwise—is especially important with rabies cases confirmed in Chittenden County, both for dog and human safety. Dogs may be registered through the town clerk’s office, reachable at 878-5121.
Cleaning up after your dog is not only neighborly, responsible and sanitary, it’s the law. Dog owners are required to carry a bag or scooping device for dog waste whenever they have their dog off of their own property—and they must use them promptly.
Dog waste can’t just be tossed into the woods, either—it must be thrown away in a garbage can, sewage disposal system or buried more than 6 inches below the ground (without the plastic bag).

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