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Posted on: June 24, 2022

Summer pet safety reminders

Keeping pets safe in the summer

SPEARFISH, SD – As summer kicks off, everyone – humans and pets alike! – are excited to enjoy the outdoors, and as the temperature heats up, consider conditions when planning trips, exercise, and daily routines to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable. 

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.”

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. On longer walks and hikes, owners should remember to pack drinking water for four-legged friends, too.

“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,” Animal Control Officer Scott Beal 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, campground, sports field, sidewalks, Spearfish Creek, 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,” Animal Control Officer Beal said.

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,” Animal Control Officer Beal 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 nature 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.

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.

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