Proposed ordinance would allow dogs on Calavera trails
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – A proposed change to the village code to allow dogs on the Calavera Springs Park walking trails received a first reading Aug. 16 by the Suamico village board.
With the exception of certified service animals and police-authorized animals, Suamico’s parks and recreation facilities ordinance currently doesn’t permit dogs, cats and other domestic pets in any village park.
The amendment would make an exception for the Calavera Springs Park walking trails, where dogs on a 6-foot leash would be allowed for the sole purpose of utilizing those trails.
Recreation Director Leah Hackmaster said the village’s Forestry, Trails and Recreation Committee sent out a survey in May to find out the desire to allow dogs in public spaces and for creating a dog park in the village.
Hackmaster said the committee reviewed the survey, which received 490 responses, and recommended testing how people would react to allowing dogs in Calavera Springs Park.
“We do have a nice set of trails out there that I think would be, and the committee thinks would be, great for walking dogs, specifically,” she said.
Trustee Mike Schneider suggested the ordinance include language regarding disposing of animal waste upon allowing dogs on park trails.
“Something needs to be put in there regarding… picking up after (a dog),” he said.
Village Administrator Alex Kaker said the final ordinance would include language about picking up animal waste.
“I don’t think it warrants having another first reading,” he said. “I don’t think it substantially changes the spirit of the ordinance.”
Trustee Dan Roddan suggested opening all the village’s parks to dogs.
“I spend a lot of time in the summer, spring (and) fall at parks across the whole state, watching my daughter play soccer, and I see dogs all the time on the sidelines,” he said. “Ninety percent of the time, they’re well-behaved. Or if they’re not being well-behaved, the person walks away with them or whatever. I really would love to see this not just limited to our walking trails… If we’re going to do a trial (period), open it up to all of Calavera. I understand not allowing them in our buildings, obviously.”
Trustee Steve Andrews said people who previously didn’t take care of their dogs led to the animals being prohibited in village parks.
“They weren’t leashing them, and you’re in a park,” he said. “Kids run, dogs chase, knock them down, things happen, and so, it went away. I mean, no dogs in all the parks. That’s why we’re just doing this one right now, because of the past.”
If allowing dogs on leashes at Calavera Springs Park goes well, Hackmaster said the village would look at allowing them at other parks.
Kaker said the second and final reading of the proposed ordinance amendment will be considered by the board at its next meeting, Sept. 20.
The board also held the first reading of an ordinance amendment which would allow the village clerk, rather than require the board, to approve and issue operator licenses to serve alcohol, provided there is no objection from either the clerk or public safety staff.
If an applicant would be denied a license by the clerk or public safety staff, the amended ordinance would allow an appeals process to place the application on the board’s agenda for consideration.
Village Clerk Michelle Bartoletti said a change in state law, effective March 4, 2020, allows municipalities to adopt an ordinance allowing a designated official to approve and issue operator licenses.
The ordinance amendment will be considered for final board approval Sept. 20.