Chickasaw National Recreation Area increases enforcement of leash laws following dog bite incident
Law enforcement rangers at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area are increasing enforcement of leash laws in response to an increase in incidents involving pets, including a dog bite, at the park.
Megan Wilkins, the Public Information Officer for the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, said many park-goers have reported dogs lunging at them and a few weeks ago an individual was bitten by a dog that was off its leash.
“I don’t know all of the details as to the extent of the injury, but of course every dog bite has the potential to carry diseases and get infected,” Wilkins said, adding that the incident was a reminder of how important leash laws are and why they exist.
All pets must be on a leash of no longer than six feet or under another secure means of physical control such as a carrier or a stroller. Pets may not be left unattended at any time. Anyone who violates leash laws will be subject to a fine.
“That was just one of those things that reminded us, those laws, they are important and they exist for a reason so we wanted to remind other folks as well,” Wilkins said. “One of those reminders will be increased writing of tickets. They will get citations as opposed to warnings.”
Wilkins said pets are welcome in the park within restrictions. However, some animals may feel stressed out and react unpredictably in crowded or new environments.
Pets are allowed in most areas of the park, but are prohibited inside buildings, including the Travertine Nature Center, trails east of the nature center and Little Niagara, Bear Falls and Panther Falls.
“Parks can be wonderful places to bring your pets, but crowded areas such as visitor centers or swimming holes can be very stressful, making normally well behaved animals react in unexpected ways, so we don’t allow animals in those areas,” said Chickasaw National Recreation Area Superintendent Bill Wright.
There are almost 20 miles of trails where pet owners can take their animals as long as they are on a leash or in a carrier. Animals that are not on a leash are also dangerous to wildlife at the park.
“Keeping them under physical control is important for the safety of other people, your and their pets, and for our wild animals,” Wright said. “This will allow us to keep as much of the park open to pets as possible.”
For more information about the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, visit www.nps.gov/chic or call the Travertine Nature Center at (580) 622-7234.