SALT LAKE CITY — Overlapping jurisdictional issues have made it difficult for police to keep the peace between dog owners and others using Parleys Historic Nature Park at the mouth of Parleys Canyon.
Unified Police Department officers, who patrol the unincorporated county area where the Salt Lake City-owned park is located, have under-enforced rules about dog access that are posted on signs in the park because county ordinances do not mesh with the park's rules that segregate the park between on-leash, off-leash and dog-free trails.
"Officers go down there and people say 'Give us a warning again' because they know we just give warnings,'" said Salt Lake County Councilman Steve DeBry, who is also deputy chief of Unified's Millcreek Precinct. "Signs are being torn down. It's hard to get people to comply."
So the Salt Lake County Council unanimously voted Tuesday to amend its animal ordinances as they specifically apply to this one park to align city park rules and county law enforcement. The revision is set to take effect on May 8.
"This immediate remedy will allow for the preservation of peace within the park and the residents surrounding it," DeBry said.
Emy Maloutas, director of the city's Parks and Public Lands Division, said Tuesday that establishing the park's dog rules, in 2011, was a protracted process that may not have pleased every interested party but carved up the park to give bird watchers a dog-free area while opening other areas of the park to people with dogs. "Before the planning process the park was perceived as 80 acres of free for all," she said. "Hopefully what we're providing is an opportunity for everyone."
Maloutas said upcoming restoration projects in the park can take place sooner with the ordinance change because law enforcement there can be less restrained. "We've needed to get user compliance first before we could go ahead."