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Editorial: Mandating tourists carry vet papers is a doggone bad idea
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Editorial: Mandating tourists carry vet papers is a doggone bad idea

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Walking around downtown Lake Geneva, more than likely you’ll see a dozen dogs or more on a normal day. Lake Geneva’s always been known as a dog-friendly city, a place where you can vacation and bring along your four-legged friend too.

But one proposal that came up last month is the opposite of dog friendly and is a doggone bad idea – the idea to require tourists who come with dogs to be able to produce their dog’s veterinary inspection certificate upon demand.

“Owners found not in compliance will be subject to a forfeiture of $100 plus court costs for violation and animal will be impounded until a CVI is obtained at owner’s cost,” states the proposed ordinance change.

Wow. That is a bit heavy handed.

The proposal was approved by the city’s finance, licensing and regulation committee but still needs to be reviewed by the city attorney and approved by the full City Council before it goes into effect.

Alderwoman Mary Jo Fesenmaier said she proposed the municipal code amendment because of recent reports of dog bites occurring in the city’s dog park— located near Sage Street and east of Eastview Elementary School— and in other areas of the community from animals that have been brought in from outside of Lake Geneva.

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Fesenmaier said the provision would allow police officers to better enforce incidents of dog bites.

There has to be a better way. If the dog park is the issue, then this proposal should be limited to the dog park.

Then, a prominent sign could be posted on the gates of the dog park. That would be possible for the dog park, but not logistical for the entire city.

Some aldermen said visitors should know to look up ordinances for cities they visit. But it’s hard to find the ordinances for every municipality you visit and on top of that, oftentimes visitors don’t really know what municipality they are in at a given time. They don’t know the lines between Lake Geneva and the Town of Geneva or Town of Linn. So that adds difficulty for them looking up the rules.

All that aside, animals should be up-to-date on their shots and pet owners would be smart to download their pets’ records onto their phones so it can be easily accessible at any time. But forcing all tourists to have their pet records immediately accessible while on vacation here is not the answer.

It spreads the wrong message to those wanting to come visit Lake Geneva.

The Regional News editorial board consists of General Manager Robert Ireland, Editor Stephanie Jones, Advertising Assistant Steve Romani and community members Patrick Quinn and Elizabeth Lupo DiVito.

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