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Tonawanda law bans dogs to city events, cites canine safety

Dog Patrol Officer Jace Kowsky says this decision was several months in the making.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — As Western New York deals with hotter and hotter weather, the City of Tonawanda is implementing a new rule that will make you think twice before bringing your furry friends to summer events.

Joe Askey adopted his dog Zeus six years ago, and ever since, the two have been inseparable.

"He's a big part of my family and my life. They're like family members. They go wherever we go," Askey said.

Well, not everywhere. At least not anymore.

The City of Tonawanda passed an ordinance that would prohibit people from bringing dogs to city events such as Canal Fest. 

The news came as a surprise to Zeus and his owner. 

"He's an outdoors guy. Pretty friendly, so I don't see what kind of disruption he'd bring," Askey said.

But Dog Patrol Officer Jace Kowsky says this decision was several months in the making.

"It all stems from last year. The day after the Canal Fest started, I had well over 100 calls of dog issues," Kowsky said.

Those issues ranged from dogs being disruptive to dogs suffering in the heat. 

Kathy Humphery thinks the regulation is a good idea.

She says she and her dog, Josie, learned the hard way that large outdoor events aren't always safe for pets. 

"It just seemed like it was a bit much for her, a bit much for people around. There wasn't really a lot of places for water or for her to just kind of chill out and relax, so we decided that it's better to leave her home," Humphery said.

Dog owner Kaity Goodwin disagrees. She says she knows her pets well enough to be able to make that judgment call. 

"I think it's upsetting because the owner should be able to choose if they want to bring their pets with them or not," Goodwin said.

But Kowsky says there's more to it, and he believes the ordinance will better serve both the people attending the events, and their pets. 

"The reason for the ban is not just the dogs on the hot pavement. It's dogs lifting their legs on vendors, tents and grabbing cones. It's just best. Leave them at home in you're gonna be at those events," Askey said.

This ordinance does not apply to service dogs. They will, of course, still be welcome at all summer events.

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