Remember to keep your pet leashed when not in designated areas
SPEARFISH, SD – As summer kicks off, everyone – humans and pets alike! – are excited to enjoy the outdoors, and Spearfish is rife with beautiful areas users of all ages and abilities enjoy. Among these amenities are multiple off-leash areas where people can let their pets roam; in all other locations, residents and visitors are reminded their pets need to remain leashed.
“One of the great things about Spearfish is how outdoor recreators can involve their pets in their pastimes, whether walking, hiking, biking, spending time in the parks or on the rec paths, camping, cooling off in the creek – there are so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors,” Public Safety Director Pat Rotert said.
There are three designated off-leash areas within Spearfish: The dog park, with two enclosures designated for small or large dogs, located at Spartan Park, off State Street and East Grant Street; an off-leash area to the south of Roughlock Lane, adjacent to False Bottom Creek; and the northernmost section (marked with signs to alert users of the off-leash area) of the Meier Property, north of Evans Park and west of Spearfish Creek. It is important to remember that only the northernmost area is designated as off leash, not the entire area.
All other areas, including the rec path, parks (including Lookout Mountain), campground, sports field, sidewalks, and roadways, require owners to have their pets leashed.
“To protect your pet from getting lost, having an unwanted interaction with another animal, motorist, or human, or responding to a stressful situation in a way that is out of their normal behavior, it is important to keep your pet on a leash,” Rotert said.
He explained, following unfortunate events like an animal bite or attack, he often hears owners explain how their dog has never acted aggressively before or responded in that manner. That is usually true, he said – however, owners cannot anticipate how their pet may act in an unknown situation, such as being approached by another animal or person, or being in an environment that is not their norm. The leash law is meant to protect pets, owners, and other citizens using the same spaces by preventing any unwanted interaction.
“While many people think of their pets as family members, there are others who may have had negative experiences and are fearful when approached by an animal, so keeping pets on leashes helps to ensure every person and animal enjoying the outdoor space can do so safely and with peace of mind,” Rotert said.
Keeping your pet on a leash will also help to ensure they do not inadvertently approach or chase wildlife or livestock, and with temperatures warming, people and pets out enjoying natural should be aware of rattlesnakes. Stay on marked trails, do not hike through tall grass/heavy underbrush where it is difficult to see what may be underfoot, and avoid rocky outcroppings. If you see or hear a rattlesnake, back away: Do not approach the snake or attempt to touch or move it. Animal Control will assist in relocating rattlesnakes found near residences/high-traffic areas.
Other considerations for people and pets out enjoying Spearfish include cleaning up after pets, as required by City Code. There are mailboxes with bags and garbage receptacles located along the rec path and around parks to assist owners in easily picking up after their pets and disposing of waste.
As temperatures heat up, pet owners are also reminded to consider conditions when planning trips, exercise, and daily routines to ensure their animal is safe and comfortable. If enjoying the outdoors, especially on longer walks and hikes, owners need to pack drinking water for everyone, including their pets.
Avoid having animals travel in vehicles if you plan to make any stops that would require the pet to remain in the vehicle, even if the vehicle is in the shade or the windows are down. The interior of a vehicle can quickly heat to deadly temperatures, and state law mandates that “No owner or caretaker may leave a dog, cat, or other small animal unattended in a standing or parked vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of such animal.”
Should an animal become separated from its owners/home, or you come across a lost pet, please call Animal Control at 642-1300. Having a pet wear a collar with a pet tag assists with getting them home, even if the hope is that it will never have to be used to identify the animal if it gets outside. By City ordinance, all pets residing within the city of Spearfish are required to have a pet tag, which are available at the Spearfish Police Department, 225 W. Illinois St.
For more information about licensing your pet, City animal ordinances, and more, visit https://www.cityofspearfish.com/348/Animal-Control..
Bags in mailboxes, such as the one pictured above the sign in this photo, and garbage receptacles are located along the rec path and around parks and recreation areas in Spearfish to assist owners in easily picking up after their pets and disposing of waste. Photo courtesy City of Spearfish