The city of Atlanta has announced that it is going to renew enforcement of the leash law that prohibits dogs from being off-leash in city parks except in officially designated “Off Leash Dog Parks.”

The Atlanta Police Department will issue citations for violations of the city’s dog leash ordinance, which requires dogs to be on leashes in public areas, acting Parks Director J. Nicholas Williams said.

“We want everyone to have a pleasurable experience in the parks this season,” Williams said. “Staff is working hard to ensure the parks are properly maintained and off-leash dogs in the parks could potentially create a public safety issue for all park visitors.”

Williams said there have been concerns expressed by visitors about off-leash dogs roaming the parks. Dog owners are reminded that there are currently two dog parks — located at Piedmont Park and South Bend Park — where dogs are permitted off of their leash. Dog parks offer a fenced, grassy or mulched area where dogs can roam off-leash safely.

If a community group is interested in creating an off-leash dog park, the parks office offers a “Creating an Off-Leash Dog Park Guide” available online to get the process started.

If a group of dog owners decides an off -leash dog park is needed in their community, they can organize themselves as an official group with at least five members and register with the local civic association and neighborhood planning unit (NPU).

–John Schaffner