CHEEKTOWAGA, NY -- "Why should we be different?" asked Tom Albrechcinski, who is leading an effort to get the Town of Cheektowaga to dissolve a long standing law which prohibits dogs, even those leashed by their owners, from being walked in town parks.
Albrechcinski's research indicates Cheektowaga (population 94,000) is the only major town in Western New York with such a prohibition in all of its parks.
"I'm a town taxpayer, ...why can't I go (to parks) with my dog? ...There's leash laws, and if all these other towns can handle the problem, why can't Cheektowaga?"
Albrechcinski lead a litter of fellow dog owners who appeared before the Cheektowaga Town Board Monday renewing a push be began earlier this year to allow dogs in the parks.
Fellow dog owner Linda Malobecki told the Town Board she believes dog owners would responsibly maintain their animals and clean up after them if they were allowed to walk them in town parks.
"We've driven (our dog) to Buffalo to walk at Delaware Park, we've driven him into Lancaster to walk at Como Park, ...we live a stone's throw from Stiglmeier Park and we'd really like to walk him in our own neighborhood park," Malobecki said.
Earlier this year, in response to the pleas of dog owners, the town did create some areas where dogs are permissible ...along trails bordering its parks.
But some, like town resident Joan Adams, claim the experiment proves that despite promises they may make, some dog owners can't be trusted to keep up their end of the bargain.
"There's even baggies there. But I go there at least twice a week and clean up dog feces," Adams said.
With no legislation before them, Town Board Members took no action. But some of them indicated they may be amenable to lifting the ban-- on a trial basis- sometime after the first of next year.
"But we will make an educated decision based on what's best for the 94,000+ people that we represent in this town," said Councilman James Rogowski.
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