Rip Robertson is the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Tucker. He brings to the job years of experience in Parks and Rec, as well as Public Works. Rip is a former Military Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Army and is active with the Army Reserve.
Sometimes in this line of work there are problems that don’t have easy solutions. Folks rightly want an issue addressed, but it either takes some time, a lot of money or both. I’d like to take this opportunity to explore one of those problems we’re currently experiencing here in Tucker and to ask for your help.
This past month, we had a citizen contact us saying that she’s had run-ins with off-leash dogs on the trails at Henderson Park. This wasn’t one or two run-ins, this is several that she has captured on video. This person wrote to us asking what we plan to do about it. First and foremost, we DO NOT permit dogs to be off-leash in our Tucker parks. That is consistent with the rules when these were DeKalb County parks and it’s consistent with municipalities across much of Georgia. Your dog may be the most friendly, laid back pooch in all of Tucker; it does not give him the right to roam off-leash.
A few of the things we have done and plan to do to help with this problem are:
1. We have installed all new park signage that specifically states that ALL pets must be on a leash at all times.
2. We have informed our staff that, if they see any off-leash dogs in our parks, they are to make sure the owners know those dogs are to be on a leash.
3. We have informed our Friends groups in all the parks to make sure they are also helping us keep an eye out for possible problems.
4. We are working with our Communications Department to promote safe pet practices through social media and other means.
With all that said, you and I both know these steps are not going to solve the problem 100 percent. It’s going to take buy-in from the community. That’s where you come in.
If you are enjoying some of the nearly 300 acres of Tucker parks and you see someone with a dog off-leash, let us know about it. Where did it happen? When did it happen? What type of dog? These are the kinds of things that can help us pinpoint where the problems are. We ask that, for your safety, you don’t confront other pet owners. If you choose to do so anyway, don’t be nasty about it, just remind them that it’s against the law and the City’s trying to get this problem under control. You may, if necessary, contact DeKalb Co. Animal Control, as this is the agency that is responsible for enforcing leash laws in the County.
We need help on this one, folks. Expect to hear a lot more from myself and the Parks and Recreation team as we get toward springtime. We want you to use our Tucker parks and we want to make sure you are doing so safely.