Though it has always been required that dogs be on-leash at the Mount Shasta City Park, Youth Sports Park and Shastice, people don’t always follow the rule.

Over the years, the Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District has tried to be tolerant of community members’ furry friends, but lately they’ve been causing some problems said district administrator Mike Rodriguez.

There has been a serious increase in dog-related complaints in the past year, he said. They get frequent calls about dogs running free, disrupting picnics, jumping on children, swimming in the Sacramento River headwaters (where some people get their drinking water) and defecating on the lawn areas. And while most dogs are harmless, there are some that have acted in a threatening manner.

In September 2010 a five year old girl was bitten on the leg by a large dog while playing on the swings at the City Park. The owners of the dog fled before animal control could respond, forcing the girl to undergo preventative rabies treatments.

“It has become a serious problem,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a safety issue, and no one wants their kid to fall down in something a dog left behind.”

There is a dog park at Shastice where people are welcome to let their pets off leash for exercise, socialization or training purposes, pointed out John Zanni, who’s the head of maintenance for the District. He urges pet owners to utilize the space, which is maintained by community volunteers.

If dog owners don’t begin to comply with the leash law in the future, Rodriguez said the District board may consider banning dogs from the parks completely.

Rodriguez also pointed out that during events, it's already the rule that dogs are not allowed in the parks at all.