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County pilots off-leash dog use at area sports fields

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Three area athletic fields are part of a pilot program to permit off-leash dog use during certain non-team times, testing the viability of creating more multi-use parks. Washoe County Parks and Open Space has opened some soccer fields at North Valleys Regional Park, Lazy 5 Regional Park and South Valleys Regional Park for off-leash dog use.

County officials said the fields shouldn’t be considered dog parks, however. They’ll still be used for sports activities.

“We are happy to be able to add some more off-leash areas for our residents, and if the pilot program goes well, we are hopeful more off-leash fields can be added in the future,” Washoe County Park Ranger Celia Walker said. 

Users are expected to clean up after their dogs and are responsible for their dog’s behavior and any injuries or damage they may cause. They must also follow all other posted rules and Washoe County code for dog licensing and vaccination. A maximum of three dogs per handler is permitted.

“This pilot program may be discontinued if the rules are not followed and off-leash use of the fields creates more problems or damage than anticipated,” county officials said.   

The trial period will extend through November 2022. Fields will only be open for off-leash use on days when teams are not using them. The hours will be 8 a.m. to sunset through February, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays only March through October.

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