Dogs at the Deeds Point dog park, across the river from downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dogs can’t be off leash anywhere in Dayton — not even at the dog park

Dayton’s only dog park has one big problem: Dogs aren’t allowed to be off leash inside it.

It’s not the park’s fault — city code is to blame.

Dayton’s “control of dogs” law does not specify that dogs are allowed off leash in dog parks, and so technically, dogs without leashes in the Deeds Point dog park are violating the law, said Vince Boddy, Dayton’s assistant city attorney.

“Basically, right now, there’s no way for dogs to be off leash ever, so they always have to be on leash, according to the law,” he said.

But Dayton City Commissioners on Wednesday are expected to vote on legislation that amends city code to make an off-leash exception for dog parks.

City law officials, who helped craft the proposed legal changes, say they know of no case where someone was cited for having a dog off leash at the dog park.

MORE: Dayton residents are ready to fight for downtown’s only dog park

Boddy said the city only learned fairly recently that dogs weren’t allowed off leash at dog parks.

A group is working to establish a dog park at Highland Park, near Wyoming Street and Steve Whalen Boulevard. Their inquiries and efforts is what led to staff learning about the lack of legal definitions for a dog park.

The city’s legislation seeks to fix a technicality, and responsible owners who have had their dogs off leash at Dayton’s dog park were never at real risk of facing punishment, said City Attorney Barbara Doseck.

The proposed legislation also gives municipal court judges the option to order vicious dogs be euthanized following a criminal conviction.

In recent years, numerous adults, children and pets have been bitten by dogs in Dayton, which has led to injuries that can cause disfigurement and even can be fatal, according to a memo from Doseck.

MORE: Dayton to get first ‘official’ dog park

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