Dogs get friendly at new dog park

Hutchinson’s dog park at 427 First Ave. S.E. is a designated area for dogs to be off the leash when under the control of an owner.

What’s the law in Hutchinson say about dog leashes? The question has been asked by residents lately.

With the city’s many sidewalks and growing trail options, there are more and more places where walkers, runners and bicyclists can run into neighbors out walking their pets. At one time, city statute required pets to simply be under the control of the owner. A leash is now required in almost all situations.

“Dogs or cats on leashes and controlled by a reasonable person are permitted on public property,” said Lt. Tom Gifferson of the Hutchinson Police Department.

Gifferson said a “reasonable person” is someone who a normal, prudent person would think is capable.

On private property, pets can be off leash if there is an electronic control device or enclosure to keep the animal contained. Gifferson said pet control usually isn’t an issue that rises to the involvement of law enforcement, but it does happen on occassion.

“If we find a dog or cat at large, we impound the animal if we can’t find who the owner is,” he said. “If we can determine who the owner is, they may be given one warning. But then they are cited for having their animal at large after that, normally. There are always exceptions.”

Animals picked up by the police are impounded at Animal Medical Center on Crow River in Hutchinson. The cost to owners is $35 for the intake fee, and each day after is $11 for a cat and $16 for a dog.

The statute did recently change to introduce language allowing pets to be off leash in the Hutchinson dog park at 427 First Ave. S.E. if they’re under the control of an owner.

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