Morganton prides itself on being Nature’s Playground – an area that all are welcome to come and play and enjoy. There are some rules, though – animals are not allowed in some city parks and playgrounds due to safety and environmental concerns.

The Morganton City Council recently adopted a revision to Section 8-10011 of the City Code of Ordinances to better define where animals are and are not allowed. The updated ordinance says animals, including pets of any kind, are not allowed in Martha’s Park, the Collett Street Recreation Center, Mountain View Recreation Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the Morganton Aquatic Center, and all playgrounds and athletic fields, unless your animal is a service animal as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are signs posted on every facility where animals are not allowed.

Animals and pets are allowed in other City parks, though, as long as they are on a leash. The updated ordinance clarifies that leashes are not necessary for dogs in fenced-in dog parks. Dogs, cats, and other animals are allowed on the Catawba River Greenway, around Freedom Park or on the track at Bethel Park, or any City park where animals are not expressly prohibited. The ordinance also added an express requirement that owners are required to clean up after their pets in public parks.

“The City is a very pet-friendly place. We have an ample number of locations where pets and their owners can utilize our beautiful parks,” said Parks and Recreation Director Rob Winkler. “We currently have two dog parks, miles of greenway and acres of open space for everyone and every animal to enjoy. We love being a place where people can come and play with their pets, but for safety and environmental reasons, pets are excluded from some parks and all ball fields.”

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