On a sunny, weekend day, dog owners let their dogs play off leash. Philadelphia law requires all dogs to be on a leash when not on their owners’ property. (Photo by Michael Penn)

by Pete Mazzaccaro

The Local reported on the first of two incidents in which an unleashed dog attacked a Hill resident walking in Pastorius Park in October 2016. After a second attack in February 2017, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department began an informational campaign to stress the importance of keeping dogs on leashes.

Alain Joinville, of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, told the Local in 2017 that he believed disregard of the city’s leash law was due to a lack of education and that the increased awareness would help alleviate the problem.

“When one person allows their dog to go off leash, it lets other dog owners think it’s OK to do the same,” Joinville said.

According to Philadelphia law, all dogs must be on 6-foot-long leashes when not on private property. Widespread disregard for that law has resulted in the two attacks and also prevented residents from using the park.

Local photographer Michael Penn took several photos last week showing that many dog owners in the park are still flagrantly letting their dogs run off leash. Park rangers, 14th District police officers and ACCT Philadelphia, the city’s animal control provider, can ticket violators. A standard off-leash violation will earn the dog owner a $25 fine.

Pete Mazzaccaro can be reached at pete@chestnuthilllocal.com or 215-248-8802. 

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