SIDNEY — Sidney Recreation Board heard a proposal for consideration to allow obedience-trained dogs to walk with their owners in city parks without a traditional leash on Monday, Oct. 3.
Paws for Jesus dog obedience instructors Frank Fahrer and Bonnie Deck, of Sidney, petitioned the board to consider making an exception for labeled and registered obedience-class trained dogs. Fahrer and Deck teach the obedience class in the basement of Sidney First United Methodist Church. Other than Paws for Jesus, Fahrer said there are three other obedience training classes offered in the area.
During the meeting, Fahrer showed a video of his reformed and highly trained dog Tucker, that was previously abused. While the board viewed the video, he explained Tucker’s obedience of learned commands.
Part of Fahrer’s request would be for trained dogs, that walk along side of their owner, to be required to wear a shock collar, for back-up measures, but not on a traditional leash in the park. He said certain signified colors on the dog’s collar would indicate the level of training, and that it had been registered with the city as trained dog.
Boardmember Mary Jannides asked Fahrer about his concern with dog parks. Fahrer said his “concern is for the city, because it’s expensive,” and concern about potential aggression between interacting dogs.
Fahrer said if his proposal was enacted, no other animal or person would be allowed to approach the unleashed dog while walking in the park, and that the dog must sit while park-goers pass by.
Fahrer said he currently has five people prepared to go through the proposed training requirements. The training class would include the required shock collars and dog waste bags as a part of the class fee.
Boardmember Amy Zorn commented that she likes to regularly walk in the park and she would like to talk with some of the park-goers to get their opinion.
Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier voiced concerns that even if a dog-training ordinance is instituted, some people, such as out-of-town visitors, may be unaware of the regulation and unleashed dogs could cause confusion. He suggested sending out a survey to the community on the matter.
Jannides said they will discuss it further at the next meeting set for February.
In other business, the board discussed and voted on Sidney Parks and Recreation Department’s 2016 Photo Contest’s submitted pictures. Only five photographs were submitted. The winners of bragging rights in each category were:
• Wildlife: Steve Arnold, first place, and Jack Holthaus and Steve Kortewas tied for second place.
• Flora: Steve Arnold
• Landscape: Steve Arnold
The photographs will be posted on the city’s web site under the Parks & Recreation page and on Sidney’s Facebook page.
Gaier also shared Sidney’s first Living History Civil War weekend drew a lot of people and the city is looking forward to the next biennial event in 2018.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.