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Superior council delays action on leash law

The Public Safety Committee wants to review exceptions to leashing requirements in some public spaces.

Government Center in Superior.jpg
Government Center in Superior. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

SUPERIOR — Plans to define Superior’s leashing requirements more clearly are on hold as city committees wrestle with exemptions that would allow more off-leash areas in some public spaces.

The Superior City Council referred a proposed change to the city’s animal ordinance back to the Public Safety Committee Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the request of committee chairman Nicholas Ledin. He made made the request after the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee recommended some exemptions Jan. 26 that would provide more public spaces that allow animals to be off-leash.

Currently, the dog park is the only public area where animals aren’t required to be on a leash when outside the confines of their owner’s property.

Other proposed locations include the red and yellow trails in the Superior Municipal Forest when not snow-covered; McClure’s Landing; inside city skating rinks when the ground is dry; and Wisconsin Point beach from lot 1 south to Dutchman Creek.

It could be a few months before the Wisconsin Point beach issue is resolved. The Wisconsin Point Committee held the matter in committee Tuesday after a failed attempt to extend the leash exemption to all city-owned property on the point.

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Wisconsin Point Committee Chairman Tom Bridge said extending the exemption to the entire point, with the exception of areas designated for endangered species recovery, would keep promises made years ago not to change how Wisconsin Point could be used. With hunting still legal on Wisconsin Point, and duck hunters who bring their dogs there, he said leash requirements on Wisconsin Point are likely to raise a lot of ire.

“If you want to hear people scream, make them put dogs on a leash out there,” Bridge said.

Functionally, the existing ordinance requires a leash on Wisconsin Point; however, it’s difficult to prosecute, Mayor Jim Paine said.

After a vote to expand the off-leash area on Wisconsin Point failed, Councilor Jenny Van Sickle made a motion to hold the matter in committee to give the panel time to review maps and consider alternatives to what’s been proposed. Van Sickle said while she wasn’t in favor of changing how Wisconsin Point is used now, she does believe people should have some recourse if a dog becomes a nuisance.

The Wisconsin Point Committee will consider the proposal again when it meets May 9.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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