Future events involving dogs in the park system should be held in the Trumbull Dog Park in Indian Ledge Park, the Parks and Recreation Commission has concluded.
And more signs will placed in Unity and Twin Brooks Park. In Twin Brooks, signs regarding dog waste pickup, no parking and trash removal could be posted before the end of the month, and a no parking sign could be posted in Unity.
The parking fine is $25 and littering is $90. Also, park officials will experiment with putting in stands with bags for dog waste, as well as receptacles.
"Get the word out that you are enforcing [the rules]. Put more signs up," Public Works Director John Marsilio told the commission.
"I think you just have to police it," he added.
One anonymous dogwalker admitted to leaving her pet's waste unbagged on the ground in the park because it is biodegradable.
"I see a very easy solution to this problem, and that's to install some trashcans (there are currently none) or recepticals in the park specifically for dog waste. I know there is a concern for bugs and bees with trashcans, but I also think it's a little naive to think that people are going to want to carry around a bag of poop for the duration of the walk, and then back into the car for the trip home. Don't you think? I think it would be great to keep the parks as great as they are, and maintain the cleanliness," she wrote in a letter to Trumbull Patch.
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Going to the Dogs?
The commission has been struggling with enforcement issues for several years now regarding dogs and parking.
Twin Brooks is a focus because it is one of the most popular parks in town. One official noted that more than 900 parking warnings have been issued in town parks since Memorial Day.
"Twin Brooks is a victim of its own success," said Parks Superintendent Dmitri Paris.
The commission was trying to strike a balance between dog lovers and people who are afraid of or don't like dogs.
The issue came with a request for a dog event in Old Mine Park for German Shepherds. As many as 20 of the animals would be attending. The event was approved but the commission voted that all future animal events belong in the Dog Park.
Dog owners can still use the parks but will see more signs reminding them to tend to their pets by cleaning up after them.
"I want all people to use the parks," said commission member Kenneth Martin Sr.
He added that signs in the park behind the Trumbull Historical Society have worked in keeping the park clean of animal waste.
Commission member Richard Moore said he observed a dog walker letting the animal defecate and failing to pick after it. Paris said he has seen the same thing.
"It's out of control," Moore said.
Regarding park stickers, Recreation Director Mary Markham reminded residents how to get them. "Since Memorial Day weekend we are handing out stickers left and right," she said.
Finally, Paris noted that the enforcement system needs to change because the Police Department, not the Parks Department, gets the money from the fines. He called for restructuring the fine system.