Law prohibiting dogs on public property soon to be enforced


Dogs in Glen Rock could face further restrictions that would prevent them from being walked on certain properties.

by Daisy Tahan, Staff Writer

Dogs may soon be prohibited from being walked on borough and public properties.

Back in 2013, an ordinance was passed that banned dogs from walking on Board of Education property, but the council has been discussing the possibility of spreading that ordinance throughout borough and public properties.

Mike O’Hagan is a member of the town council, so he’s involved in the discussion of taking further actions to restrict dogs from walking on these properties.

“We have to try to find a way to make sure to accommodate everyone. That the people who go to the parks are safe and the dog owners themselves feel that they are comfortable enough to bring their dogs to the parks,” O’Hagan said.

There was an incident in September at the autumn craft fair on Rock Road when a dog nipped the back of somebody’s leg, but O’Hagan says that discussions of this new law began long before this incident. However, this possible law is for the safety of Glen Rock residents. This law could potentially save lives because 86% of dog bites result in bodily harm, and 79% of fatal dog attacks are inflicted on children, according to the DogsBite website.

This law could also make many dog owners angry. Limiting the places where dog owners can walk their pets could become controversial.

“There has been some discussion about possibly not allowing dogs in public parks, which I am not in favor of. We have to be able to come up with some sort of compromise where the dog owners can feel free to bring their animals to the park but we need to make sure people are safe as well,” O’Hagan said.

There is, in fact, a compromise under way. Dogs possibly won’t be allowed in borough or public parks, but they may be getting their own space at Faber Field very soon. Eileen Hillock and her daughter, Michelle, have been working on getting a dog park in Glen Rock for a little less than a year now. They’ve raised over $10,000 in donations, and they’re continuing to get the right funding to actually create the dog park. The reaction from residents of Glen Rock has been very positive, according to Eileen.

“The initial petition to ‘create a Dog Park in Glen Rock’ had close to a thousand signatures a few years ago.  I think that’s what encouraged the [then] Mayor and Council to support it.  From our fundraisers and events, it has great support,” Eileen said. “It is going to be awesome.”

The idea for the dog park started with Michelle Hillock, Eileen’s daughter. In eighth grade, she realized that all the dog parks that she took her dog, Brody, to were run down. Michelle decided to create a dog park that people and dogs would actually want to visit. She presented the idea to the town council. It took some persistence, but they eventually allowed her and her mother to start raising funds.

“Thus, the plan for our park was born with trees, pathways, a methane digester, solar panel, and even a water area in the future,” Michelle said. The dog park also will not require leashes on the pets, as some parks do.

According to Eileen, there are over 800 registered dogs living in Glen Rock (there are more dogs than children under five years old). If the law prohibiting dogs from being walked on certain properties around town is passed, it could affect many people’s (and dog’s) lives. However, all of these discussions and plans are still in the process, so nothing will be changing too soon.