Port to tighten leash on dogs roaming free at wharf, Greenbank farm

The Port of Coupeville is cracking down on unleashed dogs and will be working to ensure that free-spirited canines don’t roam where they shouldn’t on port-owned properties at the Greenbank Farm and Coupeville Wharf.

Spurring the commissioners into action was an incident in April. A woman was walking her dog on the Coupeville Wharf when two large dogs collided into her, causing injuries, including a broken wrist and detached meniscus.

A complaint was filed with animal control.

The port commissioners discussed the need for more stringent leash enforcement at the wharf, where members of the public regularly let their dogs run unleashed.

The public perception of the wharf as being an off-leash area may be due to the port not enforcing the rule in the past, Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos said.

“It’s something that’s been bothering me since the first month I started the job,” Michalopoulos said of loose dogs.

The port and current Wharf Manager Danielle Vracin said they will ensure the rules are clear to the public in the future.

Details of how to inform the public and enforce the rules still need to be hashed out, according to Michalopoulos.

The port’s property at Greenbank Farm has off-leash areas, and that won’t change.

However, over the years, pets and owners alike have wandered beyond confines of the areas designed as “low-impact recreation,” where activities including off-leash dog walking, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed.

As the port leases out more acreage for farmland, recreational boundaries and wandering dogs are becoming an increasing concern for the port and its tenants.

The port will be clarifying boundaries of where the off-leash sections are, plus the rules on and off them, Michalopoulos said, and gathering input on how to best approach public education of Greenbank Farm policies.

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