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Dog lovers can rejoice.
Man's best friend is now welcome -- as long as the dog is on a leash -- at four city parks.
The City Commission on Tuesday night unanimously approved amending the ordinance that prohibited dogs from the parks, but not without some concern from both the commission and the public.
Leashed dogs are now allowed at Jaycee, Intracoastal, Dewey and Boynton Lakes parks on a trial basis for one year. Once the trial period is over, the commission will regroup and assess how it went.
Vice Mayor Joe Casello expressed concern about allowing the animals in the parks when the idea was floated in April, saying the leash law is "just about unenforceable."
But Tuesday night, he had another concern: Dogs at Intracoastal Park on July 4.
"How are we going to get the word out? Maybe we should start now. Do not bring your dogs to the Intracoastal on the Fourth of July," Casello said.
Wally Majors, the city's recreation and parks director, said information can be provided in signs to be posted at the park. City officials said that information also will be included in marketing for the Independence Day festivities.
Signs urging owners to be responsible will be installed at all four parks, each to cost about $100 to $125. Some parks might have two signs.
"There is no poop fairy," the signs read. "Please clean up after your dog."
Dog owners who don't pick up after their pets will be fined. Dogs must be at least 4 months old to be allowed in the parks and must be up to date on vaccinations. If a dog shows any sign of aggression, the owner must remove the dog immediately.
Before the commission voted, four members of the public gave the commission their opinions on the topic. Three were against it, and one was for it.
"I just don't think this is good. Who is going to clean up the mess? Are the Boynton Beach police force going to do it at the end of the day?" asked one Boynton Beach resident. "And what happens if a child is there? I just don't agree that our parks should be for animals instead of our people and our children."
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