City Council amends dog leash ordinance for trails

VISTA — Walkers and runners who journey the Buena Vista Park trails can now possess their budding sidekicks with no leash. The Vista City Council on Aug. 22 amended a playground ordinance that now allows dogs off leash on public property within the natural areas and trails within South Buena Vista Park and Buena Vista Park from 7 to 10 a.m., and then again from 3 p.m. to dusk.

The new off-leash legislation goes into effect on Sept. 22.

Dogs are permitted off leash on trails at South Buena Vista Park, but with period restrictions. The ordinance permitting dogs that are unleashed from the areas with trails at Buena Vista Park as well as allows for hours. The Buena Vista Park addition was requested by residents.

While City Council members approved the amendment, councilwoman Amanda Rigby opposed the ordinance.

Rigby said she has become a dog owner in Vista and loves dogs. Her concerns stem from individuals not following instructions.

“I visit at South Buena Vista Park, there are rules posted and they’re dismissed regularly,” she explained.

While principles were for the trails, Rigby explained, she had been troubled that this could overflow to other areas of Buena Vista Park like the grassy areas along with the duck pond.

“Whether you want them to or not, as soon as you say we have no enforcement, it’s going to take place,” Rigby said. “And I don’t want to see that happen.”

As for signs showing those off-leash principles, Rigby said they have to be prominent for people to notice them. Dog waste bag stations was another matter of discussion.

“People miss a good deal of what their dogs leave behind over there,” she explained. “I don’t see how this will function and keep it on the trails. I frankly don’t. Once you let them off-leash in that (Buena Vista) park, they are going to be throughout the playground.”

Therron Dieckmann, the director at the town of Vista, shared that dozens of individuals walk these trails daily. The trails connect South Buena Vista Park and Buena Vista Park.

Council members needed to know about dogs without a leash around the trails.

Staff considered since its ordinance was provided by South Buena Vista Park, whether the town had any liability claims or any lawsuit, over the last decade.

“In terms of the lawsuit that we are aware of, there was not any regarding dog accountability,” Dieckmann said. “I believe there was one claim, but that had to do with a puppy accidentally stepping on a sharp thing in certain mulch.”

Dieckmann shared there wasn’t any claim about off-leash puppies.

Deputy Mayor John Franklin started off by approving the resolution that it comes back to the City Council in 12 months to get a review.

Signage will be enforced to assist dog owners.

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