Superior leaders mull adding more off-leash areas in city
A revision to the animal ordinance is working its way through committees. It could be brought to the city council for approval as early as March.
SUPERIOR — A proposed revision to Superior’s animal ordinance would offer dog owners roughly a dozen additional areas within the city where they could exercise dogs off leash.
The animal ordinance has been under scrutiny by both the Superior Parks and Recreation Commission and the Public Safety Committee for months after constituents reached out to counselors with concerns over unleashed dogs on city trails and at parks.
The current revision was approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission Thursday, Jan. 26. It could reach the city council for approval as early as March.
Currently, the dog park is the only public off-leash area in Superior. The revised ordinance would add the following areas:
- The yellow and red trails in the Superior Municipal Forest when not snow covered (April through November)
- McClure’s Landing (year round)
- Wisconsin Point beach from lot 1 south to Dutchman Creek
- Inside hockey rink boards at city skating rinks when the ground is dry and there is no ice (April through November). The list includes Allouez Hockey Rink, Billings Park Civic Center and Carl Gullo, Pattison, Red Barn, South End and Wade Bowl parks.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Linda Cadotte said the sites were chosen because they could reasonably accommodate off-leash dogs.
“But with some there would be some changes that would need to be made. For example, all of those hockey rinks would need to have something constructed to close the area off and have a little bit of an entrance,” Cadotte said.
Signage would be placed to let people know where dogs can be off-leash.
The revision would also add language saying that owners must keep their animal under restraint. Currently, it states that “Owners shall exercise proper care and control of their animals to prevent them from becoming a public nuisance.” Any animal not under restraint (unless in an off-leash area) or which has become a public nuisance could be impounded and the owner subject to penalty. The fine can range between $50 and $500.
“But when I asked who ... who determines if it’s a $75 fine or a $500 fine, the animal control officer indicated that it’s programmed into the tickets that it’s $200.50,” Cadotte said.
There were 10 such tickets issued in 2018, 16 in 2019, nine in 2020, four in 2021 and 19 in 2022.
“Not one was in a city park or on public property. All of those citations were private property,” Cadotte said.
The revised ordinance was referred to the Wisconsin Point Committee to allow members to weigh in on it and will be forwarded to the Public Safety Committee for another look before potentially moving on to the city council for approval.