Helena sets new parks and recreation rules

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Helena’s dog owners should take note: four-legged friends now need to be on leashes to set foot in any of the city’s parks.

Councilmember Cris Nelson said dogs are also banned from Helena’s recreational ball fields.

She said people are taking their pets to the ball fields and allowing them to run free, leaving messes behind that parents have to deal with when children play sports there.

While dogs are allowed in all other city parks, they must be on an 8-foot leash or shorter, Nelson said.

The ordinance, which was brought up at the Monday night council meeting, was originally intended to ban dogs from special events at the Amphitheater. While the council did not discuss that possible ban, Nelson said it could come up in council business soon.

“It is a safety issue that the city needs to recognize and talk about,” she said.

The council also passed a no-smoking ordinance for the recreational ball fields. Smoking is officially prohibited in the bleachers and in the dugout. Officials had requested the smoking ban because of the potential harm to children, Nelson said.

“If people want to smoke, they need to go outside the parks,” Nelson said.

Both ordinances will go into effect May 4. Anybody violating the ordinances faces possible fines, Nelson said.