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Sun., Oct. 4
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General Brown board discusses future of dogs on school property


DEXTER — Concerns of potential dog bites or aggressive situations have prompted the General Brown Central School District Board of Education to have a discussion about a policy that may exclude dogs from school grounds.

During the board’s monthly meeting Monday at the junior-senior high school, Board President Jeffrey West said some people had approached him about the issue. Board member Brien Spooner said he thought about a potential policy after he saw a “good-size dog” chained up outside of Dexter Elementary when he went to pick up his chid from school recently.

The district currently does not have a policy that excludes dogs from school property.

Mr. West said he is aware of such a policy at area school districts, such as Indian River Central. Indian River’s “Public Use of School Facilities Safety and Protection” policy 3210-E includes a “pet positive control” component that states visitors with legal assistance animals are allowed on school grounds, district residents who walk on district roads or trails while with a dog must have that animal on a leash and obey applicable local ordinances regarding pets and spectators at events cannot have pets with them.

Recognized service animals are, however, allowed at Indian River Central events, but their owner must maintain positive control of the animal.

General Brown board member and veterinarian Sandra Young Klindt said a district-wide policy may also protect pets, particularly dogs.

“Even the best dog in a stressful situation — it can be unpredictable,” she said.

It’s not even necessarily the best place for a dog to be, she said, if a crowd of people at the school may induce stress on a dog.

Board vice president Daniel J. Dupee II suggested the board continue discussions on the possibility of such a policy for General Brown after board members reach out to the school’s insurance company on what “our liability is on this.”

If the board decides to create a policy, Mr. Dupee said, it should include language regarding service dogs or animals.

Mr. West said no problems with dogs or animals prompted this discussion, but that the board may consider this as a proactive versus reactive measure.

“It’s just a discussion,” he said.

Superintendent Cammy J. Morrison said the district’s priority “always has to be the safety of our students.”

The board is expected to discuss the issue again during its November meeting.

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