Miami Beach debates future of dog park

March 9, 2013 at 3:44 PM
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla., March 9 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in Miami Beach, Fla., are debating whether to shut down an off-leash dog park in the city over concerns about public safety.

The city approved an off-leash dog park pilot program at South Pointe Park in May 2010, designating a triangle area within the park for dogs to run around unleashed from sunrise to 10 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. The pilot program, which has been expanded several times, is set to expire March 31.

More than 900 code violations have been reported since the park was created -- mostly involving off-leash dogs being outside the designated area or at the park after hours The Miami Herald reported Saturday. Neighbors have expressed concern about dogs chasing or biting people.

The city's Design Review Board rejected a proposal to fence in the dog-friendly area of South Pointe Park, the newspaper said.

Miami Beach City Commissioner Deede Weithorn said South Pointe Park may not be the right place for the dog park.

"I'd like the dog owners to be able to have what they want, but I'm certainly not going to do it at the expense of public safety," she said.

The City Commission May decide at a meeting next week whether to extend the pilot program at the park until June 30.

Miami Beach's five other dog parks are all enclosed.

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