Residents Urge GR Council Against Adopting New Leash Laws

Residents Urge GR Council Against Adopting New Leash Laws

GREEN RIVER — Green River residents Hayley Rawlings and Wyatt Christensen addressed the Green River City Council Tuesday night to ask them to reconsider the proposed leash law amendments.

At the last Council meeting, the Green River City Council voted 4-3 to pass the first reading of updated leash laws. The changes must be read two more times before a final decision is made, however, the ordinance was not on Tuesday night’s agenda and was not discussed by the Council.

Rawlings, a mental health counselor at Western Wyoming Community College, brought her and Christensen’s dog George to the meeting to make George’s case for him. George is a therapy dog in training who works alongside Rawlings all day in a therapy vest.

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“Because of how often he spends his days in his therapeutic vest, he really appreciates time off the leash. It’s his most favorite time of day… being off the leash allows him time to relieve stress, and it actually builds dogs’ confidence. There are studies that show how time off the leash really encourages dogs to be independent, but also work on some of their skills,” Rawlings said.

She said it is a joy of George’s life to be able to run in the desert, be off the leash their neighborhood, and visit his neighbors who he loves.

“I wanted to come express to you how much that freedom means for someone who can’t express it themselves,” she said.

Rawlings suggested the Council look into opportunities for dog trainings before implementing more regulations in the current ordinance.

“Before diving into some of these regulations I think it could be amazing and really encouraging to actually find an opportunity for maybe more dog trainings for people here,” she said.

Christensen said he takes George to Scott’s Bottom and other places at least twice a day to run and burn off some energy. Christensen said George grew up on trails with horses off the leash. He said that he would like for the city to provide more information about where dogs can and can’t be off the leash in and around Green River. Rawlings said as George is a border collie, he has a lot of energy and needs the freedom to run and play.

“What I’m trying to say is, please consider my hardworking sheep dog when you vote towards this, because this is also his home,” she said.

City Council members and residents have previously voiced concerns with animals not being leashed within the city and the possible dangers that can arise when around other people and animals. Those concerns led to the city making amendments to the current ordinance.

Green River currently does not have a leash law, but rather operates under two sections of animal ordinances. The city uses Chapter 6, Section 4, and Section 21 of the city’s ordinances to enforce proper care and control of animals. 

Chapter 6, Section 4, currently reads as follows: 

It shall be unlawful for any owner to fail to exercise proper care and control of his animals to prevent them from becoming a public nuisance. Excessive, continuous or untimely barking, molesting passersby, chasing vehicles, habitually attacking other domestic animals, running wild game, trespassing upon school grounds, trespassing upon private property, noxious or offensive odors emanating from their living conditions, or unsanitary living conditions shall be deemed a nuisance.

Chapter 6, Section 21, currently reads as follows: 

“It is unlawful for any animal to run at large within the city. Every animal shall be considered running at large when it is physically off the property of the owner of the animal, and not under immediate restraint of a competent person.

The proposed changes to the ordinance that have passed first reading can be seen below: 

Other Business

The Council rejected two bids for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Replacement Facility Project made by Prospect Construction and VanCon, Inc. due to the bids containing material irregularities. Prospect Construction made a bid totaling $47.8 million, and VanCon, Inc made a bid of $49.8 million. The remaining bid made by Bodell Construction is $52 million and is still being reviewed by the city’s engineering department.

The Council also recognized Western Wyoming Community College wrestling coach Art Castillo and the wrestling team for their NJCAA National Championship. Both the team and Castillo received plaques from the city.

Green River Chief of Police Tom Jarvie was also recognized for his 31 years of service to the city. Jarvie officially retired on April 14. Shaun Sturlaugson started as Interim Chief of Police on April 17.

Mayor Pete Rust also declared the week of April 23-29 as Library Week in Green River, and encouraged residents to visit the library.