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Leash Use Clarification

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September 11th, 2013 Comments Off on Leash Use Clarification

Regrettably, the eBlast that was sent out yesterday (9/10) to alert residents of an important change in the LLA regulations was sent out without sufficient background to help explain the reasoning behind the change. This follow-up is being provided to further explain the issue.

Additionally, the BoD and GM have discussed the need to tweak the release process to ensure that similar future messages are better vetted prior to release.

Your neighbors that are currently volunteering their time to serve on the LLA Board of Directors (many of whom are dog owners themselves) were faced with a decision of how best to address recent reports of residents throughout multiple villages being attacked and/or threatened by unleashed dogs. At the meeting, the LLA GM recited messages received by some of the residents most recently involved in these incidents. These residents had contacted the LLA Office requesting that something be done to help ensure they are not subjected to future attacks. The recent increase in these incidents was the driver for last night’s decision, but the LLA commonly receives calls on this topic and previous boards have also discussed the dilemma of how to try to curb the issue of uncontrolled pets.

Please know that this change was not made arbitrarily. Again, many of the board members have dogs and at the meeting Monday evening we wrestled with the implications and effectiveness of such a change. In the end, after much discussion with LLA Staff and the residents in attendance, we agreed unanimously among the Board members present that something needed to be done in response to the recent events to help increase the safety of all LLA residents.

LLA Staff solicited input from the Director of Frederick County Animal Control as well as that office’s attorney to help clarify the existing county law which was used to drive the decision and ensure that we were not making a change that was deemed to be unreasonable from a legal standpoint.

The Board also felt it important to educate the residents first regarding the changes and to issue warnings in lieu if fines for a defined grace period while the changes are communicated. The next 60 days (until 11 November) will be the grace period.

The Board also felt it was important to stress that the decision was based on the need to ensure the safety of the residents first and foremost.

The Board is fully cognizant that dogs need a place to run free and socialize. We also understand that some residents might view this policy change as the community becoming unfriendly to dogs. To address these needs and concerns, the Board has voted to include a line item in the budget cycle for the coming year to fund and build a dog park. A dog park is an amenity that has often been requested by residents in the past, and the plan is to set aside the money for this amenity and work with the Strategic Planning Committee to determine where best to develop it.

The goal behind the combined decision was to better protect the residents of the community and ultimately provide a new amenity that would provide a safe, controlled atmosphere for residents to take their dogs for recreation once the dog park is completed.

Regards,

Bob Kimble, General Manager