PADUCAH— Paducah leaders introduced an ordinance Tuesday evening that would limit dogs at special community events, saying the goal is to keep the public safe.
The ordinance would forbid people to bring dogs to special community events unless the dog is a certified service animal or the dog's owner lives within the area designated for the special community event.
"If you live in the permitted area, as long as you got a leash that's three foot long or shorter, you can walk your dog in the middle of the Lowertown Arts and Music Festival, for instance," said Commissioner Gerald Watkins.
In addition, the ordinance states that if the permit for a special community event specifically says that dogs are allowed, people would be able to bring their dogs, provided the animals are on a leash no longer than three feet.
"An event provider could put a request in their application for the special event to allow for dogs to be at the event," City Manager Jim Arndt explained.
Watkins first brought up the issue weeks ago after he attended Barbecue on the River.
"Within three lunch hours -- I went every day at lunch -- I counted over 20 dogs. And there were four German shepherds, three pit bulls, a Great Dane, and one of the German shepherds got very aggressive and the owner couldn't hardly control it," said Watkins. "We wanted to err on the side of safety for our citizens, in particularly, the young children."
Dog owner Kendall Cappelletti believes a person should be able to bring a dog anywhere in the city as long as there's a leash.
"Our dogs are part of our family and we bring our dogs where we go," said Cappelletti.
But Arndt said the city just wants to keep the public safe.
"Dogs -- you can love them. But sometimes, it's hard to trust them, and especially around things they are not familiar with or aware of," said Arndt.
An ordinance is expected to be introduced that would establish new rules on which dogs can be brought to community events in Paducah.
Tuesday's introduction of the ordinance was its first reading. A second reading and vote is scheduled for Nov. 26.