A new campus policy that requires dogs on campus to be on a leash was approved Friday, following a number of reported incidents of dog-related fights including one where a service dog was threatened by an off-leash dog.
Effective Aug. 1, dogs and other animals will also not be allowed inside university-owned or leased buildings with the exception of university housing environments. Service dogs and animals approved by UCPD are exempt from this policy.
“The goals of the policy are to mitigate any further incidents, provide the necessary conditions for all service dogs to operate, and allow pets and their owners to enjoy the campus while keeping everyone safe,” said campus spokesperson Claire Holmes in an email.
The new campus policy is also aligned with the Berkeley Municipal Code for dogs in the city of Berkeley and creates a safe environment for everyone on campus with or without a dog, according to Holmes.
The policy highlighted that the Berkeley campus is intensively developed — more than 45,000 people are visiting, working and studying within its 180-acre central area. The policy thus emphasizes that animals must be appropriately integrated in a way that does not disrupt or interfere with academic learning and research.
“The updates to the 1968 policy are more reflective of the changing needs of our densely populated environment,” said UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich in an email. “It’s about making the campus a safer environment for all to share, so community members can focus on their academic and research missions.”
The campus open spaces, green spaces, plazas and pathways shall keep dogs or other animals on a leash in the area defined as by Hearst Avenue in the north, Oxford Street/Fulton Avenue in the west, Bancroft Way in the south and Gayley Road/Piedmont Avenue in the east. The leash cannot exceed six feet in length.
“I can imagine some people may be upset with the new policy perhaps because a lot of people utilize the glade to play fetch,” said campus junior Johanna Walker, who fosters dogs throughout the school year. “But at the same time, some people get nervous around dogs and I don’t mind respecting that if it makes people more comfortable.”
The campus policy affects all members of the campus community, including administrators, faculty, staff and students as well as all non-affiliates such as guests and visitors.
There are also requirements that all animals on campus property must conform to, including that they must be free from offensive odors and infectious diseases and must conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to a campus environment.
“Walking your dog around campus is seriously such a blast, and it’s really close — it’s really a great place to take advantage of,” Walker said.