ITHACA, N.Y. — Dogs are now officially allowed in Stewart Park.
An ordinance was adopted Wednesday to allow dogs on leash in Stewart Park. Even the ordinance recognized that the prohibition on dogs in the park was rarely adhered to or enforced anyway.
The ordinance amendment, passed Wednesday by Common Council, is effective immediately.
Since its completion, the Cayuga Waterfront Trail has brought more people and more dogs to the park.
Stewart Park was the only city park left where dogs were not permitted.
Dogs are not allowed in all of Stewart Park. Due to concerns about disrupting the park’s bird population, dogs will not be allowed in the Fuertes Bird Sanctuary or within 100 feet of the Swan Pond except for on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail or within the Cascadilla Boathouse and around the docks.
When the ordinance change was being discussed at the Planning and Economic Development Committee level, Cayuga Bird Club President Jody Enck said in a letter that while the club supports allowing dogs in the park, allowing unleashed dogs could be devastating to birds and wildlife.
“The birds and other wildlife that use Stewart Park and Renwick Woods are not there as an option, they live there and rely on the area as part of their day-to-day habitat that is necessary for their survival,” Enck wrote.
Dogs must be restrained by an adequate collar and leash while in the park, the ordinance states. That rule is enforced city-wide unless the dog is on the owner’s property.
For more information about dog licensing and laws in the City of Ithaca, visit the city’s website.
Featured image: Reporter Kelsey O’Connor’s pup Finn enjoys his first legal walk at Stewart Park. KELSEY O’CONNOR/Ithaca Voice