Cameras coming to local dog park

Parks & Rec Dept. adding cameras after alleged dog attack

An alleged dog-on-dog attack has prompted the city of La Crosse to add cameras to a local dog park.

The Parks, Recreation and Forestry department will be adding cameras to Houska Park in hopes that owners will be more mindful of what their dogs are up to and to better determine if a dog is too aggressive.

The department’s director, Steve Carlyon, said he has heard minor complaints from the park before, but none like the recent report of a big dog attacking a smaller dog.

“A police report has been filed,” Carlyon said. “That kind of behavior in the dog parks is not tolerated at all.” He said any dog, along with its owner, deemed to be too aggressive would be banned from city parks.

As in this case, any reports of a possible unprovoked animal on animal attack is sent to Animal Control at the Coulee Region Humane Society, but dogs are only quarantined if they bite a person, not another dog.

“Say your dog goes after another dog for no reason. The dog can be deemed a vicious and dangerous dog,” said Animal Control Supervisor Kathy Kasakaitas. “If a dog attacks two times in a 12-month period unprovoked, it can be deemed vicious and dangerous, to protect other pets and people of our community.”

Animal Control follows up with these reports to see if there are any past incidents that would make authorities consider the dog vicious and dangerous, and if so, that dog can be sent to a different county or even put down.

That’s why Kasakaitas said it’s important to get the story straight, and the cameras coming to Houska park could help with that.

“Sometimes, witnesses only see the final part of the attack they don’t see the start of it, and I think the cameras might be a good asset,” she said.

“I think just the cameras, letting people in the public know there are cameras, should deter any further action like this,” Carlyon said.

Kasakaitas said while dog parks are great in theory, there are certain rules that must be followed.

“A lot of times, the dogs are very much unattended, they get over excited, over-stimulated, some dogs play rougher. There’s large dogs mixed in with small dogs, and that’s sometimes not a good mix,” she said.

Kasakaitas recommends paying attention and keeping control of your dogs when they’re off leash, and said dogs should be up to date with their vaccinations before heading to the park.

Animal Control is currently looking into the alleged dog attack that prompted the cameras.