City officials tightening the leash on unleashed dogs

(Source: Live 5)
(Source: Live 5)
One of several new signs which will be placed in Hampton Park (Source: Live 5)
One of several new signs which will be placed in Hampton Park (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Dog owners in downtown Charleston can expect some extra attention over the next couple of weeks as the city kicks off a friendly leash enforcement campaign.

City officials are tightening the leash in several peninsula parks, more notably Hampton Park, urging dog owners to abide by the law.

"Over the years we've received dozens of complaints about off leashed dogs in Hampton Park," said Director of City Parks Jason Kronsberg.

Starting Tuesday new temporary signs will be placed around the park.

The law has been in effect since 2009, but not exactly enforced.

Now with multiple complaints - the city is trying to uphold the law.

"I think it's a good thing to have," said Nathania De Caestecker, a dog walker. "I think a lot of people think Hampton Park is a dog park which it really isn't."

De Caestecker walks dogs in the park often, and said she's noticed some violators.

"Pretty much every time I go there I see dogs off the leash," she said. "Not that it's a lot of them, but at least one every time I go."

"It doesn't bother me, to see other dogs if they're what they're supposed to be doing," said Sally McLeod, of Charleston. "If they come up to me I get a little… I get anxiety a little bit."

"Not everyone is pet friendly," Kronsberg said. "Some people get scared. We're all neighbors here, so we just have to be respectful to people who may or may not be dog people."

If you decide to go against the law it could come with a price, $1,087 to be exact.

"It's the maximum fine, with court costs, for the City of Charleston," Kronsberg said.

"It's kind of steep, but I think if it was lower, then people would just see it as a slap on the wrist and they'd probably do it again," De Caestecker said.

Kronsberg said the city hasn't handed out any tickets to this point, and hopes owners will follow the rules.

"I definitely think it's the owner's responsibility to keep the park a beautiful place," McLeod said.

Kronsberg said if the issues aren't resolved over the next few weeks, city officials will begin enforcing the fine.

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