City Council votes to keep pets out of Dubuque's parks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City Council votes to keep pets out of Dubuque's parks

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Pets will not be allowed in Dubuque's park for the foreseeable future thanks to a 5-2 vote from the City Council Monday night.

This is the second time in the last two years the City Council has voted on the issue.  The last time came in April of 2013.

Dubuque remains the only major city in Eastern Iowa that doesn't allow pets in public parks.

Mayor Roy Buol said the major issues that the council had were with enforcement of current animal ordinances and the number of dogs that aren't licensed. 

"In many cases, there have been no citations of violations of the leash law or picking up after your pets," Buol said. 

Lisa Johnson, President of Friendly Intelligent Dog Owners, or, FIDO, think that doesn't mean responsible dog owners should be punished.

"It's just the same as littering or drinking or vandalism or any other rule the city expects you to follow," she said.

When it comes to licensing dogs, Buol said there are about 6,000 dogs in Dubuque that are licensed.

"But we know from statistics that there are probably that many more that aren't licensed," he said. "You've really got to enforce animal licensing so that we know these animals have their shots."

He also said they had major concerns for families who might not like the presence of dogs in the parks.

But Johnson said those aren't the people who really spoke against letting pets in parks.

"When you look at the demographics of people who spoke up about the issue, you see two things," she said.  "One, it was young professionals, many of them with families, and maybe even holding a young child on their hips, who were saying that want to bring their kids and their dogs to the park.  It was generally the older people who might be set in their ways that were against allowing pets in parks," she said.

Buol said they would need to see real enforcement of the current ordinances in order to consider allowing pets in parks.  He also said he wants to see privatization of dog parks--meaning he wants private organizations to look into building more dog parks in Dubuque.

"I don't think it's always up to the city to provide dog parks," he said. 

But Johnson and many others just can't understand why the public parks they have can't be used by animals as well.

"I just keep coming back to the fact that if all the other cities in Iowa can do this, and all the other All-America cities in the nation can do this, why can't Dubuque?"

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