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Trout Brook Dog Problem Called 'Out of Control'

Dogs running off-leash have created an “out of control” situation at the Trout Brook Valley Nature Preserve, and animal control officers from Weston and Easton are cracking down.

“We have had so many incidents of dogs versus dogs, dogs versus wildlife and dogs versus hikers that it’s just unbelievable,” said Weston Animal Control Officer Mark Harper . “The incidents have been significant enough that I feel that dogs should be on-leash at all times. I am tired of dealing with it."

Since 1999, dogs had been allowed to roam free with their owners on the trails at the 1,009-acre preserve. But in October, the Aspetuck Land Trust announced that for the next year, while a wildlife study is being conducted, all dogs must be leashed. The new rule has angered dog owners, many of whom say they will not obey it.

“People just don’t care. Even if I am here, people still try to have their dogs off-leash,” Harper said.

“The issue that we have up there is that dogs can kill wildlife while they are conducting the survey out there," said Easton Animal Control Officer Deborah Ice. "I think what people need to understand is that dogs need to be on-leash for a reason.”

Both officers said they decided to step up patrols near the preserve entrances to remind owners of the leash regulation. “We can issue owners tickets for roaming or nuisance if we see anything, and I will do it if I have to,” Ice said.

“I will sit there in that parking lot checking rabies tags and dog licenses if I have to just to get that place under control,” Harper said. “If we don’t get that place under control, it’s only a matter of time before something is going to happen, and we have to shut down that place for good."

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