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Some Fanwood, N.J. residents say enough is enough with ordinance banning dogs from local parks

Fanwood, N.J. residents say the time has come to lift ordinance outlawing dogs in public parks
Fanwood, N.J. residents say the time has come to lift ordinance outlawing dogs in public parks 01:57

FANWOOD, N.J. -- Dog owners in one New Jersey town are barking back against an ordinance that bans our four-legged friends from public parks.

Many residents there say it's time to let the dogs into the parks.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reported Monday, the controversial law in Fanwood might be changing soon.

Most would say the 2-year-old Goldendoodle named Beckett is a good boy, but even Beckett has his beefs.

"Neighbor comes out, starts yelling at me with a frying pan and a metal spoon: 'Get out of the park! Get out of the park! You're breaking the law,'" dog owner Carolyn Brnk said.

Like many new pet parents, Brink said she got Beckett during the pandemic. It was then that she realized dogs are not allowed in La Grande Park, which is down the street from her Fanwood home.

The borough's website says violators could even face a fine.

One neighbor even called the cops on Brink three times, although she was never cited.

"I just found it to be a little absurd, so I started a group," Brink said.

She joined forces with other dog owners, like Larry Cohen, to push for change.

"I think it's silly, and I think it's discriminatory, frankly," Cohen said.

Cohen says only about 40 percent of streets in Fanwood have sidewalks, so residents need safe places, like parks, to walk their dogs.

The vast majority of people Caloway spoke to, pet owners or not, said they think dogs should be allowed.

"As long as the owner can control their dog ... I don't necessarily have a problem with it," parent Christian Butler said.

But as Caloway found out, not everyone likes the idea of allowing dogs in the park. The No. 1 complaint is No. 2.

"The dog owners need to police each other and be strict about that," Cohen said.

Borough council meeting in New Jersey addresses park ordinance outlawing dogs 02:05

The mayor of Fanwood said the dog ban ordinance has been on the books more than 20 years, but she has heard the complains loud and clear.

Passionate dog owners made their case before the town council on Monday night, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

"Meeting people has been a tremendous benefit of having the dog and the park would be a great place to do that," one person said.

"We're really just asking for the right to walk with our dogs through the park without being harassed by anyone," another person said.

"I get the cops called on me. That's really embarrassing for a teenage girl at 6 o'clock in the morning," another added.

The ordinance passed in 2001 means they can't bring their dogs to the parks, but the council voted to push through the formal introduction of an amendment that would change that, so long as the dog is on a leash with a license displayed, it stays out of areas like sports courts, skateboard areas, and the children's playground, and owners must clean up after their dog. Otherwise, fines would be issued.

The next step is a public hearing on July 18 and then a vote.

"Hopefully, history gets made in Fanwood because the poop is hitting the Fanwood," Brink said.

If it works out, it will be good news for Beckett and all other good boys and girls.

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