Helena leadership hears proposal on more restrictive dog ordinances

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A trial runner and her dog use the Mount Helena trail system on Wednesday.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record Nolan Lister

Helena’s Parks, Recreation and Open Lands Department on Wednesday proposed a phased approach to more restrictive dog behavior and leash law enforcement on the city’s open lands.

“We are not intending to make large changes,” City Manager Rachel Harlow-Schalk told city commissioners during Wednesday’s administrative meeting. “This is just the beginning of our conversation.”

According to a memo from Parks, Recreation and Open Lands Director Kristi Ponozzo and Natural Resource Coordinator Brad Langsather, the staff proposes a move to more restrictive laws regarding dogs in three phases.

Phase one is currently underway and involves the creation of an educational video the staff intends to share via social media that informs viewers of requirements for dogs on and off leash on open lands.

Phase two would begin in 2023 and implements a quiz on that video that residents seeking to acquire the city’s required dog license would have to pass before being

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