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Neutering, yes. Pepper spray, no. Arroyo Grande approves new rules for dog park

A yellow lab named Carlos looks up after getting a drink at the Elm Street Dog Park in Arroyo Grande.
A yellow lab named Carlos looks up after getting a drink at the Elm Street Dog Park in Arroyo Grande. Jayson Mellom Photography

The Arroyo Grande City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved two new rules related to aggressive pets at the Elm Street Dog Park.

Male dogs older than 1 year must be neutered to use the park, and chemical sprays such as pepper spray or citronella can’t be used to break up dog fights.

“My belief is less government, more personal responsibility, equates to better government and better outcomes,” Councilwoman Barbara Harmon said, “but you know, sometimes it’s just a dog-eat-dog world out there, and sometimes you need to take measures to consider those exceptions, and in this case there could be unfortunate exceptions.”

The rules were proposed in response to problems such as dog fights and owner altercations at the park in recent months.

Elm Street Dog Park Association member Jan Scott said Tuesday that the neutering rule will act as another tool in the group’s arsenal to address aggressive dogs.

“Nobody’s going to be going through the park lifting tails to see what’s there,” she said. “But with this law, if it causes a problem, if something major happens — if a dog or a person gets injured — we as a dog park no longer have a liability for that because they are breaking the law.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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