Rules for using Town spaces (dog restrictions and a bike & stroller prohibition)

Are you familiar with all of the rules for public spaces in Town?

The Town sent out a message looking to alert/remind dog owners about rules at certain public spaces in Southborough. It prompted me to follow up for rules on another, and I learned something new.

For fellow dog owners, here are the rules that we need to know:

  1. Dogs aren’t allowed at Chestnut Hill Farm trails
  2. Dogs aren’t allowed in the Trottier Track area
  3. Dogs are allowed in specific areas at Breakneck Hill and the Town Forest – they need to be kept to the trails
  4. Please pick up and take away your dog’s waste. (Don’t forget, we have a pooper scooper law.)

In checking on the Trottier Track, I learned that dogs aren’t the only issue there. They also have a prohibition on strollers and bikes:

please remind everyone as well that Bikes and Strollers are not permitted [on the Trottier Track.] These can cause harm to the brand new surfacing and we would like to protect the investment as best we can to get the longest life out of it.

In 2018, voters approved $279,500 to resurface the track. That resurfacing was just completed last fall.

As for the dog rules at other spaces, below is the full message from the Town with explanations:

A Reminder About Dogs

We are so thankful for the cooperation that we have had during the opening at Chestnut Hill with a seamless opening weekend! A quick reminder that dogs are not allowed at Chestnut Hill for the safety of others and the animals.

You can bring your dogs to Breakneck Hill and the Town Forest but, please clean up after your animals! This is crucial to preserve our open space areas and keeping them clean. Please keep dogs on trails only has we have fragile grassland bird habitat in which dogs can unintentionally [destroy] nests or injure baby birds. We have a carry in, carry out policy so any waste (whether it be from pets or otherwise) must be taken with you as you leave! We appreciate your cooperation during these times as we all enjoy these areas.

If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Danza at

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3 years ago

Please remind people that they should be picking up after their dogs if they are walking them on the golf course!

3 years ago

I looked on the town website and online at the ecodes360 website for information on dogs and public spaces. Under the leash law it states that dogs are not allowed on school grounds.
I am wondering if anyone knows of any other rules or regulations that cover where dogs can or cannot go that is as explicit as the leash law.

3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

So is the link I shared from the Town Clerks’ space is just someone writing what they think is the rule? Can a rule even be a rule or be enforced if it’s not in the town code?

Given the recent comments on the Parents Facebook page and those that have appeared on this blog there seems to be a dog problem that is not addressed by the current rules. Unless there is an attack the police defer to Animal Control who while busy is also possibly spread too thin. Leaving the rest of us to worry about the next loose dog on the trail while watching where we step.

Al Hamilton
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew

The Town Code is only one source of authority for local officials. Many elected officials and some appointed ones have authorities defined or authorized by state law.

For example, the BOS has the authority to settle law suits against the town even if the suit is not in an area under their formal jurisdiction. This does not appear in the Town Code but is enshrined in State Law. I believe that public health boards, school committees, conservation comissions and many other board and committees have authorities that are derived from sources other than the Town Code.

3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

As applied to dogs as pets, the word “restraint” runs the gamut from voice control to the use of incapacitating chemicals. Surely some dogs may be controlled merely by the voice of their owners, while others require the use of physical devices: harness, collar, leash, etc.

Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS), until recently, had a “therapy dog” on campus – Parker the Power Pup was available to soothe students. I would wonder how “restrained” Parker was?

Former Resident
3 years ago

I can speak from experience when it comes to loose dogs. People who lived near me were irresponsible with their dogs. On 2 different occasions they attacked and killed our pets. Although animal control was responsive their was little they could do. In our case we appealed to the selectmen who advised an electric fence be installed which was finally done.

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