STOP allowing dogs to be off-leash at Lake Mohegan, Fairfield Ct

STOP allowing dogs to be off-leash at Lake Mohegan, Fairfield Ct

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Aaron M started this petition to Fairfield Conservation Commission and

As a resident of the town, I am strongly against the policy of allowing dogs to be off-leash at this public space.  The off leash dogs are not only an issue for non-dog owning residents trying to enjoy the area but also to the quality of the open space itself.

Lake Mohegan is one of the few hiking trials in Fairfield County that allows dogs to be off leash in an undefined area (i.e. gated area) and that is not specifically a dog park.  The quantity of off-leash dogs has greatly detracted from the beauty, enjoyment, and safety of a hiking area prized for the stunning features of the cascades, river, and lake.

Owners do not follow the park rules of dogs being kept under control of the person responsible at all times.  There is no realistic way to enforce this type of rule until there is an incident (biting or scratching) of a dog of another dog or person which I don’t find acceptable. When hiking with my children I cannot let them walk more than 10 feet from my side as I need to be close to ward off dogs whose owners are nowhere to be seen. On warm weekends there are so many dogs running, barking, and playing we have to avoid popular stopping spots by the cascades and pond because the dogs are so rambunctious with each other. 

The popularity of the lake for dogs has also greatly affected the natural environment. The large amount of animals wondering off trail has damaged and killed vegetation and is causing soil erosion and soil compaction. Again the issue is dog owners not maintaining control of their animals.  Some owners do pick up the feces, but only to leave the plastic, non- biodegradable plastic baggies in trees and on the trails.  This is ruining the appearance of the hiking area.

Owners should take their dogs to designated dog parks where dogs can be controlled and where large dogs cannot interact with small children. The town’s rules for the hiking area of Lake Mohegan should be geared to make it people friendly, not dog friendly.  Please either require a leash at all times (the same as all the other parks in Fairfield).  Removal of the off-leash policy from the area is the only conceivable option for the safety of the Fairfield community.

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