No dogs allowed

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 2/17/2014 6:47 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Many Chattanooga residents and tourists who visited Coolidge Park with their dog to take advantage of the warmer weather this past weekend received warnings they never expected.

Many unsuspecting people who walked their dogs in Coolidge Park found out they were actually breaking a park rule that bans dogs in the park. Even if Fido is leashed and stays on the sidewalk, the owners could receive a $50 citation.

"It's crazy that you can't have them in this area but you can have them everywhere else here in the walking areas," said Stephanie Moore who just moved to Chattanooga.

"It sounds like it's not the best policy maybe,"said Aaron Smith of Chattanooga who was shocked to find out his dog was now allowed in the park.

WDEF asked several dog owners if they saw posted signs warning them that dogs were not allowed.

"No this is my first time coming here and I see a lot of people with dogs. I Didn't see a sign," said Belem Rodriguez.

"I have not," said Smith.

Coolidge Park has multiple entrances but only two signs posted. One sign at the main entrance is turned inward so you park goers may only see it if they're leaving the park. The letters are very tiny so actually reading what it says may be difficult for some people.

Many new residents and even tourist who vacation with their dogs see this as a problem.

"I do believe it should be visible for everybody to see. Especially for people like myself and my kids who are with me. If they're walking a dog and an officer stops them, they'll know what their getting stopped for," said Kim Quillen who was in town from Ohio.

"More visible signs would take care of the whole issue," said Chattanooga resident Scott Ingalls.

City officials say they have no plans to put up more signs. Instead, they would rather rely on park rangers to tell you of other areas where you can walk your dog. If your caught a second time, you get a warning. A third time and you get a ticket. But changes to make the park more dog friendly are in the works.

"We're looking at ways to open that up. That might be sectioning off areas that are a no-dog zone but we're currently looking at that," said Chattanooga chief innovation officer Jeff Cannon.

Changes to make Coolidge Park more dog friendly could come as early as this summer.

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