Yorktown May Consider Banning Dogs from Rec Areas

The Yorktown Town Board will likely hold a public hearing in September to consider amending an ordinance that would ban dogs from recreational play areas in the town.

Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace made the suggestion at a recent work session after the board was approached by resident Patricia Mckechnie and Rick Romanski, president of the Yorktown Youth Soccer Club, about the growing problem of dogs defecating on the playing field inside the track at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center.

“Let’s run it up the flagpole,” Grace remarked about holding the hearing. “It makes sense that dogs shouldn’t be on playing fields. The problem is the code doesn’t say dogs can’t be there. It says dogs can’t defecate. Banning dogs will probably not be in the cards. I think we would get tarred and feathered on this.”

Mckechnie said New York State law bans dogs near parks and noted there were suitable locations for residents to walk their pets. Dogs are prohibited in the town in playgrounds.

“We don’t take our children to play at the dog park,” she said. “It’s a health hazard. That’s the bottom line.”

Romanski conceded “60%” of the problem created by dogs at the YCCC was from the approximately 1,200 members in the soccer club.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” he said. “I’m not going to get into a fight with people over this. This is low lying fruit. This is silly. This is putting children’s safety over dogs. If you open up more fields we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

Councilman Tom Diana said he had spoken to Police Chief Daniel McMahon about the situation, adding officers were planning to routinely patrol the YCCC to see if residents were not paying attention to the rules regarding dogs.

“It becomes a problem when responsible dog owners are not responsible,” Diana said.

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