AUSTIN (KXAN) – Dog owners, you might want to keep the leash handy the next time you visit Vic Mathias Shores. The four month grace period is over – starting Monday, owners violating the new leash law could face a fine up to $500.
The newly re-developed Auditorium and Vic Mathias Shores features a 4.5 acre off-leash dog park. Before the redesign, dogs were able to run across the trail to access the water, which caused issues for other trail users. The new designated off-leash area at the western end of Auditorium Shores allows for the trail to be pulled away from the shoreline, but still gives man’s best friend access to the water.
While the new city code went into effect in September, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department gave the community a four-month grace period to educate park users on the changes.
Austin resident Eli Benge brings his dog Indie to the off-leash park Vic Mathias shores almost every other day.
“”I think it will probably help now that people know they are going to get a $500 fine for it, but you’re still going to have that stray that just runs out every now and then, and it’s going to be hard to decide if he just ran out on his own or if you’re out there hanging out or whatever,” Benge said.
Other pet owners are a bit concerned about the off leash park layout – arguing it’s not closed off to the road or bikers.
“What bothers me is they gave us an area that is real close to the street and there’s cars that are going over the speed limit and my dogs have gone over a few times to other side of the fence and it’s really scary” said Teresa Boyon.