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Darien Postpones Dog Leash Rules

Darien dog owners do not have to worry about tying up their dogs quite yet. The Representative Town Meeting voted Monday night to table a proposed ordinance that would require dog owners to keep their pets on a leash in all public places.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," dog owner Maryann Freeman said of the proposed ordinance. She said she often brings her dog Holly to Cherry Lawn Park in the morning and lets her run around. "Most dogs that come here are very nice, and the owners are very conscientious of the dogs and their behavior."

At the RTM meeting, there was argument over the wording of the ordinance. There was also talk of the need for further public hearings, as well as a concrete plan to establish a dog park or off-leash hours at public parks. "There has not been a public hearing on this proposed ordinance, the wording of which was only decided minutes ago," said Jim Cameron from District IV.

Leash laws are clearly important to many Connecticut dog owners. There was talk earlier this year of modifying Wilton's leash laws .  Darien resident Doug Hall said that he is for the proposed ordinance. "I'd like a leash law," he said as he walked his dog Lily at Cherry Lawn Park. "It's good if you have a small dog. The big dogs run wild, and make it really tough."

Other dog owners said they understand the desire for the law but think there should be some changes so that dogs can get off their leashes and have a chance to run. "It would be nice if they could dedicate a small area for the dogs to run around in," said Jennifer Zanim, who often takes her dog Duke to Cherry Lawn.

After much debate over the ordinance, as well as its wording and timing, the RTM voted 46 to 28, with one abstention, in favor of postponing the ordinance until March 21.

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