Dog owners who don’t leash up their dogs, or pick up their dog waste, are warned that the town is stepping up enforcement of dog-related bylaws in town.

Town bylaws require dogs to be leashed when not on their owners' private property, with a $50 fine for offenders. The same fine applies for failure to pick up dog waste and failure to license a dog.

Violations are especially problematic at town parks, at cemeteries in Great Barrington and the Housatonic village, and at the McAllister Wildlife Refuge off Haley Road, said Animal Control Officer Shep Evans. In addition, no dogs are allowed at the beach and playground area at Lake Mansfield.

“We’re getting increasing numbers of complaints about dogs off leash or just wandering around in neighborhoods,” said Evans, who said improved signage will be installed in parks and other walking areas. “There’s going to be increased attention on this issue."

Police Chief William Walsh said police will be increasing their presence at McAllister Park in particular.

Evans said he is also getting magnetic identification signs for his own car, so people will know who he is if he is scouting neighborhoods in response to complaints.

He noted that some people are afraid of dogs that are unleashed. He added that unleashed dogs – even friendly ones -- may be aggressive toward other unfamiliar dogs or cats.

He also noted that leash laws now also apply to state forests and wildlife refuge areas.

Anyone wishing to report a violation may call the Great Barrington Police Department, (413) 528-0306 ext. 9, where a message can be left for Evans. He can also be reached via email at sevans@townofgb.org.

(above information taken from a press release that was sent to WSBS from the Town of Great Barrington for online and on air use) 

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