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Police Seek to Curb Off-Leash Dog Incidents

Police volunteers to give out educational materials on the city off-leash ordinance at city parks and recreation areas.

In an attempt to reduce the number of off-leash dog incidents, the Napa Police Department is taking steps to inform city park users on the dog leash ordinance.

NPD Capt. Jeff Troendly said the new initiative was triggered by a flurry of phone calls and emails from residents reporting various issues with off-leash dogs, he said.

"Dogs must be on leash in all public areas, except in those areas identified by city ordinance," Troendly said Monday.

For a poster summary of the ordinance, click on the attached PDF.

Troendly said police volunteers will start this week providing information on the city's off-leash ordinance to people with dogs using the city recreational areas. The plan is to continue the educational efforts for the new few weeks.

"This information has been developed by the Napa Parks and Recreation Department and identifies the applicable Municipal Code sections as well as contact information for anyone wishing more details," Troendly aid.

"Our goal is to gain compliance from dog owners and to make the use of all recreational areas a positive experience for all," he added. 

"Violations of the applicable Municipal Code section may lead to the person in control of the dog receiving a citation," Troendly  added.

Below is the ordinance related to dogs on leash.

  6.04.170 When dogs to be leashed.

A. Any person owning or possessing a dog must keep the dog on a leash not exceeding six feet in length. The leash must be of sufficient strength to hold the dog, and the leash must be held by a person physically able to control the dog.

B. Exceptions. A dog may be unleashed under any of the following circumstances:

1. When the dog is on enclosed property with the consent of the owner, lessee, or other person with legal control of the property; or

2.  When the dog is assisting a peace officer who is engaged in law enforcement duties; or

3. When the dog is a service animal, guide dog or Seeing-Eye dog used by a visually or mobility-impaired individual; or

4.  When the dog is assisting a duly authorized person in an official search and rescue operation; or

5.  When the dog is participating in law enforcement training as authorized by the Chief of Police; or

6.   When the dog is in a designated off-leash area as designated by the City Council pursuant to resolution authorized by Section 12.36.190(A); or when the dog and the dog owner are in compliance with a park use permit issued by the Community Resources Director for training, exhibition, or competition, and the permit is displayed, on request of any city employee, establishing the dog’s compliance with the permit.

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Dale Weide February 05, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I've run into many people who have their dog off-leash in parks. All of the dogs were friendly & behaved. Unfortunately I have a rescue dog that has "issues" with other dogs. I always keep her on-leash due to this, but have had mild dog altercations when a dog isn't under voice control & runs up to my dog. My dog needs the walking/exercise, so even if your dog is a sweetheart, for safety sake please follow leash laws.
Ash Leigh February 05, 2013 at 05:36 PM
I've been looking for this information for awhile. I always got mixed responses on, leash or no leash in a public area. I love dogs - but I'm getting tired of these little yappers running up to me, barking, with no leash on. People need to be responsible for their pets.
Jeffrey Wright February 05, 2013 at 06:16 PM
People who don't obey leash laws should be issued citations .. Leash laws weren't intended to punish dogs or their owners they were put in place to protect the general public from unfortunate dog / human interaction . I ride my bike all along the River trail and the majority of dogs are on leash but it's the few who aren't who cause a problem , and when you mention the fact that dogs are required to be on leash the response is usually a nasty one... But as with everything in life you're always going to have a few bad apples in the bunch .... And thank you to those people who choose to leash their pets in designated areas ......
Summer Lane February 05, 2013 at 07:19 PM
We live next to a park, and one of our cats was badly bitten by someone's unleashed dog (our pet was in compliance with the law) and we ended up with a suffering animal and hundreds in vet bills. Another cat vanished and we suspect she was attacked and killed and her body hidden. One person's pet doesn't have the right to kill another's, and there are infants and toddlers playing on the playground equipment here.... dogs with a taste for blood will kill what they can. There are multiple signs posted in this park telling dog owners their pets need to be on-leash, and there's a huge OFF-Leash dog park a few minutes walk away. Anyone who lets their aggressive dog off leash in this little park -- when there's no need and cats and little kids are being threatened-- SHOULD be noticed by the police.
Anita D'Groin February 05, 2013 at 08:42 PM
I live in the vacinity of Alston, Vine Hill and Dry Creek parks. I constantly see dog owners with their dogs off-leash in the areas these parks where it is not allowed. It seems that dog owners are quite comfortable making the decision that the laws enacted for the benefit of the general community do not apply to THEIR dog. If fines and enforcement efforts were increased, compliance would the norm. Unfortunately, our local law enforcement community finds it much easier and more profitable to issue a $500 citation to an inadvertent red light violator than to chase down an offending dog owner to issue a paltry $25(?) ticket for an unleashed dog.
Ron February 05, 2013 at 09:06 PM
I had my share of this at Alston park. Plenty of unleashed dogs on the leashed side. As long as the dog doesn't bother me I don't really care. But once I was coming around a corner (the grass was tall) and a big Rot runs up to me, and stops a fews feet away and stares at me. It startled the heck out of me. I didn't know it's intentions and I should be put in that position. The owner appears a few seconds later (30 something aged women in nice exercise clothes." I blurted out "where's your leash. " She starts approaching me screaming profanity telling me to get a life, etc. and acting like crazy person. I figure there can be no good outcome and anything else I say would only escalate it so I turned around and left but she continued to scream at me as I was leaving. She acted like she was above the rules, how dare I say anything about her "baby" and of course she can go without leash wherever she wants. I like dogs but I don't enjoy being approached, sniffed or having to decided quickly if an unleashed dog that approaches me is aggressive or not. That's why I stay on the leashed side. I know this won't happen but I wish other dog owners at Alston park would use peer pressure to help keep other dog owners who think their dogs can run anywhere unleashed in check. There's enough room for all of us.
John Richards February 05, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Don't need no stinkin' education. Dog owners who disobey the law do so willfully, apparently thinking they are 'special' and above the law.
Carolyn Webb February 05, 2013 at 10:24 PM
All the dogs that run at the oxbow park are never on a leash. I see this on a daily basis. I thought that the park was "suppose" to be a wildlife perserve but believe me no wildlife is going to go there. It is a "glorified dog park!
Justin Tiem February 06, 2013 at 04:42 AM
to "summerlane"...Leash law or not, cat or dog. It's your responsibility to protect your cat. Put it on a leash or keep it in your home. Also to protect me from my allergies to cats, keep them off the street. Don't let laws discourage you from protecting your own cat. Just because you may be within your rights, you should still protect your animal if you care enough.
Logans Runner February 06, 2013 at 09:56 PM
It's best for dogs to be on leash except where there are dog parks set up for dogs without leashes. Dog leash laws should be enforced and the laws for cleaning up after a dog too.
firewater February 06, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Watch out they might put Video Camera's up next..an a $500.00 fine. Napa knows how to make money off us locals..lol
Anita D'Groin February 07, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Personally, I would welcome your "suggestions". It's not like the violators aren't the ones in control of their animals - and it would solve the problem, wouldn't it?
Bill Miller February 07, 2013 at 11:45 PM
I visit Alston Park about 4-5 times a week with my very friendly Labrador. I'd love to see the "On Leash" and "Off Leash" areas more clearly marked along the trails in several spots. On the flip side, it really pisses me off when a dog is aggressive and leashed in the "Off Leash" area. Dogs love to socialize and it is important for them to greet each other, sniff and be on their way. However, if your dog is aggressive, don't bring them to an area where dogs are running around off leash Keep them in the "On Leash" area. There are plenty of trails with "On Leash". Thankfully, my dog stays away from those types of aggressive dogs - the dog and owner must give off a bad vibe. Thanks!

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