Residents petition for more off-leash dog parks in Salt Lake Valley

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 21, 2015

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- Some Salt Lake Valley residents are working to get more off-leash dog parks, and a petition has been drafted and hundreds have signed it.

“Dogs are just like people: Dogs need to socialize, dogs need exercise, and they need space to breathe pretty much--and if they don't get that then they suffer and we suffer as well," said petitioner Aimee Hetzel.

Hetzel is a professional dog walker and sitter, and she’s one of the Salt Lake residents behind a petition calling for more off-leash areas for dogs. Tanner Park in Millcreek is a fan favorite because it’s one of the few spaces where dogs can hike, swim, and socialize off leash, but some feel it’s becoming overcrowded.

"It becomes chaotic, and dogs kind of feel that tension and so everything is escalated and that creates dogfights or incidences," Hetzel said.

Sawyer Pangborn drives all the way from West Jordan.

"I think it gets a little bit busy, obviously with them restricting the space here it's a little more difficult too,” Pangborn said. “There were a lot more areas for my dog to go swim and play in the water, but how they've just been reducing the size of it over and over I think has been pretty sad.”

City leaders agree there’s an issue.

"The need is there, there’s no question we recognize it,” said Kelvyn Cullimore, mayor of Cottonwood Heights. “We’d like to find a solution. It’s all a matter of finding property, finding funding, and making it happen.”

The city of Cottonwood Heights doesn’t have a single dog park. Cullimore said finding a place to put it in an already developed city has been difficult, but Salt Lake County might have some solutions.

"We are actually in the internal process right now of analyzing our current space that we have and future use plans to see if there's any space we currently have that we could convert into off-leash dog use, but we know the need is there," said Callie Birdsall with Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.

For more information about the issue and the petition, see the links below:

Salt Lake Dogs off-leash on Facebook

Off-leash dog parks SLC on Petitions 24

PDF download: Salt Lake County Off-Leash Dog Park Master Plan