Alton alderwoman proposing banning dogs from two city parks

ALTON, IL (KTVI) – If you enjoy walking your dog at the park, you could soon be out of luck, if you live in Alton.  A city alderwoman has proposed banning dogs from two city parks.

During Wednesday night’s city council meeting, the Alton Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution to consider this ordinance.  City Alderwoman Alice Martin proposed this ban after getting calls a few weeks ago, that a group of people and their leashed dogs appeared to be loitering outside Hellrung Park on Central Avenue.

When she drove by, she saw small children playing and worried for their safety, with so many big dogs nearby.  Martin says, “My problem is with small children that close to dogs that could at least break loose or do something, and cause some problems.”

If this ordinance passes, all dogs, except service dogs, are forbidden from entering both Hellrung Park and Killion Park. It doesn’t matter if they’re on a leash.  Dogs in violation of the ordinance could be taken by police or animal control, and impounded.

But several local dog owners have a big problem with the potential dog ban.  About a dozen of them showed up at Wednesday’s meeting with signs, and their pit bulls, to voice their opposition.  To solve the recent problem of people and dogs standing around Hellrung Park, they say the city should enforce the loitering and dog license ordinances that are already in place, instead of punishing all the other dog owners who want to bring their dogs to these parks.

Jackie Spiker, who owns several dogs, along with a doggie daycare in Alton, says, “Hopefully they’ll look at our position, review the ordinance, and prevent a mistake from being made by banning dogs in general.”

In this ordinance, it states that “in some city parks there is a problem with persons walking aggressive dogs.”  But when FOX 2’s Rebecca Roberts asked Alderwoman Martin about this, she said she the complaints she received were mainly about people loitering at the park. She says there is only one instance, to her knowledge, in which these people were accompanied by big dogs.  And when she drove by the park, she admitted that the dogs didn’t seem aggressive to her.

Now that the resolution has been passed to consider this ordinance, the Board of Aldermen should be discussing it, and voting, within the next few weeks.

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