Festival-goers in St. Charles will have to leave their dogs at home or stay out of Frontier Park while there's a festival going on, the St. Charles City Council decided.
The Council voted last week to keep a city ordinance that bans dogs and other animals from the park during festivals.
The ordinance hadn't been strictly enforced, and Councilman Jerry Reese, Ward-6, pushed for the council to abolish the rule.
The council failed to pass his proposal during the Nov. 6 council meeting on a 4-6 vote with council members Laurie Feldman, Ward-3, Mary Ann Ohms, Ward-1, Mary West, Ward-4, and Reese voting in favor.
Councilman Dave Beckering, Ward-7, said he doesn't think the council should rescind an ordinance that's a law in the city simply because it's difficult to enforce.
"This ordinance is enforceable," he said. "All we need to do is take a couple of park rangers down there."
Enforcement of the ordinance is complicated because dogs cannot be limited from being on the Katy Trail, which runs right next to Frontier Park.
Director of Parks and Recreation Maralee Britton said at an October council meeting that park rangers and event volunteers would tell people they can't bring their dogs into the park and then people would often walk further down the trail and then dart into the festival.
"As soon as you escort one out, another comes in," she said.
At the meeting Nov. 6, Beckering called on the Parks and Recreation Board to start enforcing the ordinance.
TJ Slattery, president of the parks board, said the board hasn't yet discussed the council's decision, but would likely take it up at a future board meeting.
"I think what the solution is to continue to enforce it as we have with rangers but to also partner most likely with event coordinators to make sure their staff and volunteer staff is well aware of the ordinance," he said. "Most likely we'll post bigger signs in addition during festival times."
There are a number of events held in Frontier Park that involve animals like the Trails for Tails 5k race, the wiener dog derby held during Oktoberfest and sheep at the Scottish and Irish festivals.
It's unclear whether these festivals will have to find a different location.
"There's certainly some events that'll be impacted more than others," Slattery said, adding that the issue is one the entire parks board would discuss.
"At the end of the day, no one wants to get hurt or have anybody get hurt, whether it's somebody enjoying an event or having a pet down there," he said. "We'll work it out."
Correction: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect date for an upcoming Parks and Recreation Board Meeting.