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Berlin considers leash law

Berlin considers leash law

reporter photo

BERLIN — The Ordinance Committee is considering requiring dogs to be leashed. 

The committee, which meets Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, will also consider a change to a tax program for seniors. 

“We have a bunch of things to discuss,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski.

The leash requirement is a response to complaints.

"What people are afraid of is... it could be a friendly dog, but they don't know that when the dog is running at them,” Town Manager Jack Healy said.

The current ordinance says owners can’t allow dogs “to run at large upon the streets and public ways of the town or upon property other than that of such owner or keeper.”

Town Council members pointed out during recent meeting that the ordinance doesn’t specifically require a leash and could be interpreted as allowing owners to maintain control through verbal commands. 

“The dogs have to be under the control of the owner, but that’s a liberal phrase,” Kaczynski said. 

Councilor Karen Pagliaro said the issue was discussed by town officials a few years ago, but not resolved.

"I think a lot of us felt there should be a leash, but some of us weren't quite there. It's kind of tough,” she said. 

The Ordinance Committee will also consider revisions to a program that allows seniors to freeze their property tax rates until they sell or transfer their home.

No seniors utilized the program last year because it also results in a lien, something that can make it difficult to obtain a loan or sell a home. The proposed revision would end the practice of a lien, but would still require all uncollected taxes above the frozen rate be paid when there is a sale or transfer. 

The Golf Commission has also urged the committee to reconsider an ordinance that requires the town-run Timberlin Golf Course to meet its expenses when setting golfing rates.
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