Collingswood Farmers’ Market announces dog leash-permit program
Four-legged guests required to wear Market leashes
The Collingswood Farmers’ Market has long been a gathering place for foodies, friends and many in the region looking for Jersey fresh produce and local goods. For many, bringing their four-legged friends is also part of the Saturday morning tradition.
As the attendance of people and their pets have increased at the popular weekly Market, there have also been more situations with dogs ranging from spoiling food to aggressive behavior. Due to safety concerns and feedback from market guests, the Collingswood Farmers’ Market is introducing a dog leash permit program for the 2015 market season which begins on May 2. Starting in 2015, the Market will issue permits in the form of official Market leashes to the owners/handlers of any dogs who attend the Market even once. To obtain a permit to have a pet at the Market, owners must report with their dogs to the Dog Tent upon arrival, where the staff of a local shelter or animal welfare agency will collect their permit fee and present them with a list of Behavior Guidelines and an official Market leash. The one-time $10 permit fee will be good for the entire 2015 season and all future seasons, for as long as the program lasts and the owner keeps the leash. No other leashes will be permitted at the Market. Owners and pets that violate behavior guidelines will be asked to surrender their leash-permit. Pet behavior guidelines will be enforced by Collingswood Special Police or the Market Director.
“Occasional guests” who don’t plan to bring their dogs back to the Market can “rent” a permit leash for one-time use. These guests will receive a refund of $8 when they return their “permit leashes” to the Dog Tent by noon on the day they’re issued. Two dollars will be retained as a donation to the shelter or agency.
“Even avid dog lovers agree there are too many dogs at the Market,” said Market Director David Hodges. “Unfortunately, each week a dozen or more of our four-legged guests misbehave in ways that range from annoying to downright dangerous. We don’t blame the dogs. They’ve been brought to a crowded place full of distractions including other dogs and it’s only natural that they sometimes act like dogs. But we can’t afford to risk serious injury to our loyal customers. And we’ve heard from many potential shoppers who avoid the Market specifically because they aren’t comfortable sharing it with unmanaged animals. We’re hoping this provides a solution that helps us regulate animals at the Market and will also raise funds for animal agencies.”
The goal of the program is to easily identify dogs that are registered with the market and educated on proper behavior while attending. The neon-colored leashes will be easy to spot by Market representatives and those that are without a permit-leash will be asked to register or leave.
“It’s our hope this will make the Market a safer place for our pets and our guests,” said Hodges.