Apparently, some Philadelphia dog owners are either unaware of the Pennsylvania dog leash laws or need a reminder. In response to recent dog attacks in a Philadelphia park, the Philadelphia Park and Recreation Services has compiled a comprehensive educational pamphlet that will be distributed in city parks. Pastorious park in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia has been the site of a recent spate of dog attacks. The problem was brought to light because a number of dog owners, in violation of of the law were letting their dogs run free in the park. According to Captain John L Hearn of the 14th police district in Philadelphia."If the community is adversely affected by the people who allow their dogs free rein when frequenting the park it is a pressing matter". Currently the park does have explicit signs that remind dog owners of the laws regarding keeping dogs on a leash at all times. Officer Hearn has stated that failure to comply with the law could result in a Code Violation Notice which is similar in effect to a parking ticket, or seizure of the dog by animal control if the owner is not present. The Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) has the authority to issue tickets and enforce the leash laws in Philadelphia. According to their website they will respond to complaints, but is not clear whether or not they will proactively patrol a location with a history of complaints. ACCT accepts complaints at 267-385-3800 or by email at [email protected] The Department of Parks and Recreation reached out to the Friends of Pastorious Park as well as other city park groups to distribute the educational flyer and heighten awareness regarding the leash laws which require that all dogs must be on a 6 foot leash when outside the owner's residence. Anyone who goes to Pastorious Park knows that this mandate had not been followed or was widely ignored. Alain Joinville of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, believes that this is a result of a lack of education regarding the laws and that the increased awareness will help alleviate this problem. "When one person allows their dog to go off leash at the park, it lets other dog owners think its okay to do the same", he says. Specifically to address the problem at Pastorious he sent two people from Parks and Recreation to the Chestnut Hill Community Association meeting on April 20 to further inform dog owners and park goers on proper usage of the park. Hopefully, discussion of the issue along with the educational pamphlets will help reinforce the necessity of adhering to the Pennsylvania dog leash laws. Importantly, should an unleashed dog seriously injure a bystander that dog owner would be liable for damages to the victim as a matter of law. Many Chestnut Hill residents have suggested that a fenced-in area for dogs or "dog run" would solve their problem. There are a number of "dog runs" in the surrounding area for dog owners who wish to let their pets run off leash. The one nearest to the Chestnut Hill area is Manyunk Park at 4300 Silverwood Street. Dog owners could also buy a membership to the Roxborough Dog Park at 4117 Mitchell Street for an annual fee of $20 a dog. If you have a question or comment feel free to express your opinion.
If you would like to discuss a legal matter concerning the Pennsylvania dog law or have been seriously injured from a dog attack Contact The Brod Law Firm online or call 1-888-435-7946 (888-HELPWIN) for a free consultation. We serve all of the state of Pennsylvania from our offices in Philadelphia, Reading and Bala Cynwyd.