By Stefanie Jackson – The Cape Charles town council voted for a leash law that will affect all dogs belonging to town residents and visitors, starting Jan. 1, 2020.
“I think it’s important to note all of the various, meaningful public input” that contributed to the development of the new law, Councilwoman Cela Burge said after the leash law passed unanimously Oct 3.
Cape Charles’ current town code prohibits dogs from roaming around town, off their owners’ property and out of their owners’ control.
However, the existing law does not specify that dogs must be walked on a leash. It implies that dogs may be controlled through voice commands.
The new law specifies that a dog must be on a leash or other physical restraint or wearing an electronic collar while on a sidewalk or in a street, alley, plaza, or any other public thoroughfare.
Neither unleashed nor leashed dogs are permitted in certain public places, including town offices, public works and utilities facilities, the civic center, the library, tennis courts, and the playground.
During tourist season, which the new law defines as the period between May 1 and Labor Day, dogs are not permitted on the public beach between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., and they are not permitted on the fishing pier at any time.
Beyond tourist season, dogs are permitted on the public beach at any time, and they are permitted on the public fishing pier after 7 p.m. and before 8 a.m.
Dogs may be off leash while on the beach during permitted hours.
A developer has requested that Cape Charles extend its wastewater system to the town’s eastern edge.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia Public Service Authority had planned to perform the extension as part of a larger project that was halted at only 30% completion.
The Cape Charles town council voted unanimously for the town manager to request that the public service authority assign the contract to the town.
If the request is granted, Cape Charles can get workers back on the job and get sewer service extended to its eastern edge.