Dogs will be welcome at more Sarasota County parks, thanks to County Commission action Tuesday.
During their regular meeting in Venice, the commissioners agreed to a county staff recommendation regarding additional areas in parks that can be designated dog-friendly, meaning dogs will be welcome. However, the canines must be leashed at all times.
“We are seeing a continued trend of people seeking to enjoy parks with their dogs,” said Kim Heuberger of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources department.
Heuberger added that county staff would monitor the approved parks regularly, to make sure the changes proceed smoothly and to determine whether any adjustments would be necessary.
The new dog-friendly areas supplement four all-access dog parks the county has been offering: the 17th Street Paw Park in Sarasota, Woodmere Park in Venice, Lakeview Park in Sarasota and Brohard Beach in Venice.
The paw parks allow owners to let dogs off their leashes, to run.
While the commissioners approved the staff suggestions, they did voice reservations over the plan not to provide pet-waste bags at the facilities. Baggies are provided only along The Legacy Trail, at Red Bug Slough Preserve and the county’s paw parks.
“If we’re not going to provide baggies, we need to have something that explains about the penalties for not cleaning up,” said Commissioner Nora Patterson, who noted the county ordinance stipulates that people pick up after their pets.
Commissioner Jon Thaxton also urged the erection of increased signage, to alert people to the county’s leash law.
“The leash law is violated tremendously around the county,” Thaxton said.
“Dogs are off the leash as soon as they are out of sight,” he added, “and it’s a large minority of dog owners who are starting to do it.”
Chairwoman Christine Robinson also requested county staff to consider a future dog-friendly park for Englewood residents.
The Sarasota County Commission has approved dog-friendly areas in the following county parks:
• The Legacy Trail
• Venetian Waterway Park
• Trail Access to Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterway Park
• Culverhouse Nature Park (not open yet)
• Laurel Park
• Nokomis Community Park
• Osprey Junction Trailhead
• Patriots Park
• Skip Stasko Park
• Stoneybrook Nature Trail
• Bee Ridge Park
• Lime Lake Park
• Nathan Benderson Park
• Phillippi Estate Park
• Urfer Family Park
• Red Bug Slough Preserve
• Curry Creek Preserve (west portion of preserve accessed from Albee Farm Road)
• Sleeping Turtles Preserve North (portion on north side of Border Road)