Leashed dogs can keep coming to several Ashland parks.

Leashed dogs can keep coming to several Ashland parks.

On Monday night, Ashland Parks and Recreation commissioners decided to allow dogs permanently in several parks — while keeping restrictions in place that canines be kept within six feet or less of paved surfaces.

Last fall, commissioners approved a one-year pilot program to allow leashed dogs on and near paved surfaces at Garden Way, Clay Street, Garfield, Hunter, Railroad, Scenic, Sherwood and Triangle parks.

Dogs were not allowed in Lithia, North Mountain or Bluebird Parks.

On Monday, commissioners made the rule changes permanent.

"There are a lot of people with dogs. This is a big issue," said Parks Commissioner Rich Rosenthal.

Last year, parks workers installed signs explaining the rules at the newly designated dog-friendly parks. They also put up stations that dispense bags to pick up dog waste. Dog owners are required to carry a means of picking up after their animals at all times.

Dog proponents at the meeting advocated for dogs to be allowed anywhere in the designated parks, not just on or near paved surfaces.

Rosenthal, who is running for Ashland City Council in the November election, and Parks Commissioner Stefani Seffinger were in the minority in wanting to allow leashed dogs throughout the designated parks.

In a compromise move, they joined with Commissioner Rick Landt to make the one-year trial rules permanent.

Commissioners JoAnne Eggers and Jim Lewis voted against extending the rules permanently.

Eggers, who isn't running for re-election, said people go to parks to relax, and many can't do so when dogs are around.

Parks Commission candidate Vanston Shaw, who is running to replace Eggers, said at the meeting that he favored allowing dogs throughout designated parks, not just around paved surfaces.

Ashland also has an off-leash dog park off Nevada Street.

— Vickie Aldous

Read more in the Daily Tidings on Wednesday.