City officials welcome discussion about dog concerns

by Gail Callahan
It started as a handful of postings on Winooski's Front Porch Forum, and the topic is a matter of concern for some residents and city officials alike.

Winooski City Manager Katherine “Deac” Decarreau indicated she hoped residents, who have concerns about dogs, or who would like to see a dog park established within city limits contact the City Council. She also asked residents to speak with law enforcement officials, and not to assume complaints are known just because they are posted on Front Porch Forum.

"People need to go to City Council meetings," Decarreau said. "If people are interested in (a dog park), they should make requests and start the conversation."

Decarreau said city officials will also shortly begin to examine best use for open land in Winooski. She also noted that there's been mention around town about the construction of a dog park, but no one is certain about a location.

Concern about unleashed dogs or out-of-control dogs picked up after a Saint Michael's College professor was bitten by a dog last month. The man was confronted by the dog when walking along a nature trail by the river. According to Winooski Assistant Police Chief Rich Benoit, officers were familiar with the dog's owner. He didn't name the person, whom he labeled as "irresponsible," but added the animal was properly vaccinated.

Benoit indicated at one point in the past that the dog in question was off the leash, chasing rabbits and deer. Benoit said chasing deer is illegal and the owner was issued a ticket. The first ticket starts at $150 and fines increase with the number of incidents.