Police Issue Verbal Warning to Parks & Rec Commissioner with Dogs Off-Leash

Police on Thursday issued a verbal warning to a New Canaan woman—and member of the town’s Parks & Recreation Commission—who had her dogs off-leash in a public park, records show.

Conner Field. This is where it happened. Credit: Michael Dinan

According to the daily log of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, the incident occurred shortly after 10 a.m. at Conner Field.

There, Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm spotted the woman and two dogs, a Ridgeback and Labrador, off-leash near the middle of the field, according to the log.

Halm and the Animal Control as a standard issue verbal warnings to first-time offenders rather than tickets for allowing a dog to roam.

Asked about the incident, Halm said she was “terribly disappointed.”

According to the daily log, the woman when confronted by authorities said she was training the animals.

Under the Town Code, “direct control” of a dog is defined as: “Immediate, continuous physical control of a dog such as by means of a leash, cord, or chain of such strength to restrain the dog and controlled by a person capable of restraining the dog.”

The Town Code also spells out the rules for “Leashing and conduct in public places” as follows: “Except in a dog run established by the Town, no person shall bring any dog into any public park, public playground, public school grounds, public parking lot, public street or sidewalk unless the dog is on a leash or lead that is no more than 25 feet in length and under the control of its owner or keeper at all times. No person shall allow any dog to dig up, mutilate, deface or destroy any such Town-owned properties.”

8 thoughts on “Police Issue Verbal Warning to Parks & Rec Commissioner with Dogs Off-Leash

    • It’s a website policy and it’s a good one. Don’t make it more difficult to recruit volunteers by publicly shaming them for a first offense. We should be glad to hear the rule is enforced.

      • i agree with you for the most part, but i doubt this was the first time that the woman let dogs loose in Waveny Park … just the first time she got caught.

      • That seems like a rather cynical view of volunteers. Why would the town want people who flaunt their unwillingness to follow town laws and policies? This circumstance seems especially ironic given the Parks and Rec Commission has made it their mission to strictly enforce canine laws at town parks.

        • I do not see John’s comment as saying that those who volunteer for town boards and commissions should be given leeway because of their positions. What he’s saying is that those who volunteer should not be singled out or treated differently by the news simply because of their roles—in this case, we’re not identifying the individual cited here by name, and that is our regular practice.

          • Mike: one could argue that those who are elected or appointed to Town boards and commissions should be given LESS leeway than we “civilians” in that they should be setting the positive example for the public to follow.

  1. People who make the rules and break the same rules should be removed from the position of trust that they have been placed in.
    Head of P&R Sally Campbell and/or First Selectman Keven Moynihan need to step forward immediately and remove this woman from this Commission!

    • George, Thank you for submitting your comment. I just will note that New Canaan’s legislative body is the Town Council—not Parks & Rec—and the Council is responsible for “making the rules” of the town (albeit with plenty of input from constituents through public hearings or groups such as the Charter Revision Commission).

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