Scrap between dogs prompts Powder Springs to say no more pets at park events

Dogs play in Thurman Springs Park in Powder Springs. A less-friendly exchange between two dogs at a city event led the city to ban non-service animals from events in public parks as a safety measure. (Photo provided/Spa Wags Powder Springs)
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Dogs play in Thurman Springs Park in Powder Springs. A less-friendly exchange between two dogs at a city event led the city to ban non-service animals from events in public parks as a safety measure. (Photo provided/Spa Wags Powder Springs)

Following a doggie dustup at the Powder Springs’ Seafood Festival in May, city officials have decided to ban pets from city events like concerts and festivals held at city parks.

The decision was made following an incident at Powder Springs’ Seafood Festival in May. City spokesman Jon Gargis said two leashed dogs clashed, with one of the dogs injuring the other.

City officials also worry dogs could be frightened by large crowds or loud noises during live performances and fireworks displays. Pets will still be welcome at the city’s five parks as long as no city event is underway.

“For the safety of the animals and the general public, the city is making this change to restrict pet access to non-event hours,” read a statement from the city.

The new policy took effect Saturday when the city held the first outdoor concert in its Sounds of the Springs Concert Series.

No council action was required. The policy change came after Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs department heads discussed the ban with City Manager Pam Conner’s office. Mayor Albert Thurman and City Council members were advised of the decision, but did not object.

Dogs will still be welcome at pet-friendly city events such as Bark in the Park, which was held June 5 at Silver Comet Linear Park. Gargis said the city may be adding a second pet-friendly event soon.

The ban does not apply to service animals, although all pets remain banned from the splash pad area at Thurman Springs Park both during events and non-event hours, a policy that’s been in place since the park opened in May.

Kimberly Hicks, who owns the Spa Wags dog grooming business in Powder Springs, admitted that her dogs accompany her on several outings and she enjoys bringing them along with her. Yet Hicks said she understands the city’s decision to ban pets from large events as a precaution.

“Some dogs don’t exactly behave well in crowds like that,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “Working with animals, I understand the standpoint of fights happening and the safety aspects of it. I get it, it is enjoyable to have your animals out at events. But you do have to worry other people. I enjoy bringing my dogs to events and they do well, but I do it often. So I would say if your dog is socialized and they’re used to it, then that’s awesome.”

Spa Wags owner Kimberly Hicks with her dogs during Powder Springs' Seafood Festival in May. (Photo provided/Kimberly Hicks)
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Spa Wags owner Kimberly Hicks with her dogs during Powder Springs' Seafood Festival in May. (Photo provided/Kimberly Hicks)