Leashed dogs now OK on almost all of Ke Ala Hele Makalae

Lihue—Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. signed into law on May 21, 2010 an ordinance that allows dogs on the majority of the county's coastal shared-use path -- Ke Ala Hele Makalae -- under certain conditions.

Dog owners may now take their dogs on current and future portions of the path except for a segment that runs along the coast from the main Lydgate Park entrance (Nalu Road) north toward Hikinaakala Heiau.Mayor Carvalho signs the ordinance allowing dogs on the path, May 21, 2010.

The ordinance takes effect immediately.

“We still have union issues and enforcement concerns regarding this bill,” said the mayor. “However, I am thankful that we have renewed and expanded public-private partnerships which will, in part, assist us in addressing these issues.”

Earlier this week, the mayor discussed his concerns with Dr. Becky Rhoades, executive director of the Kaua'i Humane Society, and Thomas Noyes of Kauai Path, Inc., a community organization dedicated to advocating for and educating the public on the merits of improved walking and bicycling facilities.

The County and the two organizations have agreed on the following partnerships: The Kaua'i Humane Society and Kauai Path will work with the County to coordinate an “Adopt a Path” program, which will encourage stewardship of segments of path by private individuals and organizations. The Kaua'i Humane Society will provide and manage “dogi pot” bag dispensers along the path, so that dog owners will have readily-available biodegradable bags for disposal of dog feces. The Kaua'i Humane Society will augment the county?s enforcement effort of the ordinance conditions on a daily basis. The Kaua'i Humane Society and Kauai Path will work collaboratively with the County on educational efforts relative to dogs on the path.

”Kauai Path's board supports this new activity on Kauai's path systems because responsible dog walking has been shown to be a significant motivator, inspiring people to exercise regularly,” commented Noyes. “I personally applaud the council and administration for collaborating to assure that the present and future multi-use paths are attractive to law-abiding dog walkers.”

The ordinance was passed by the County Council on May 12, 2010 after two months of debate on the issue and an evaluation of the 18-month trial period for dogs on a portion of the path, which was set to end on May 31, 2010.

Dr. Rhoades offered her congratulations to responsible dog walkers all over Kaua'i: "You proved during the trial period you deserve the privilege to walk your dogs responsibly on the path. Keep up the good work."

The ordinance requires that the dog owner must: Be in command and control of the dog at all times. Have no more than two dogs under his control. Immediately remove the dog from the path if it exhibits aggressive behavior.

Visibly carry the necessary instruments required for the removal and disposal of dog feces. Pick up and dispose of any and all feces left by the dog. Have the dog wear at all times a valid current dog license tag that is clearly and visibly attached to the dog's collar. Have the dog on a leash that is no more than six feet in length at all times. Retractable leashes are not allowed.

Parks and Recreation Director Lenny Rapozo cautioned dog owners to be mindful that dogs are allowed only on the path and with their handler in comfort stations accessed directly from the path, and not in adjacent county parks such as Lydgate, Lihi, and Kapaa Beach Parks.

“We will be actively enforcing to ensure that dogs stay within six feet of the path at all times,” said Rapozo.

The County will be working with the Kaua'i Humane Society to put the bag dispensers and necessary signage in place as quickly as possible.