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)