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Cracking Down On Dogs and Swimmers At Zilker Park

Updated: Monday, August 4 2014, 05:11 PM CDT

The hottest month of the summer is here. But, cool off at one of Austin's most popular swimming holes and you could get a ticket. Let your dog off-leash and you might get two. The rules that have long been posted at Zilker Park are now being more strictly enforced.           

At the Barton Springs Spillway it's definitely the dog days of summer. 

"My dogs love coming down here," said Kim Moore. "It's a place for them to cool off from the Texas heat." 

For six years Moore has waded in to give her dogs a water workout. 

"It's nice that I can let them off leash," said the owner of Roxy and Sasha. 

But, in July she says Austin Park Police had a change in attitude. Leash rules that many say have gone largely unenforced are now being reinforced with warnings and tickets. She had a close call when park police started cycling toward her. 

"I quickly put them on leash and they kind of gave me this look like, yes, you'd better do that," said Moore. 

Another rule that bans swimming may keep Ali Carter from bringing her dog Libby for water therapy. For years, the no swimming signs have been mostly ignored.  But now pets and people wanting to cool-off may have to find another place to do it. 

"I love to swim with her, get in the water with her," said Carter. "She's old and she's slow. This is one of the few places where the water is clean and you can get in and be with them in the water. It's fun." 

On Friday afternoon the Austin Parks Department returned KEYE-TV's calls for clarification on enforcement at the Barton Springs Spillway. Program Manager of Public Information and Marketing, Victor Ovalle, says complaints from the public about rowdy dogs, excessive poop and trash have pushed them to more strictly enforce park rules. That means you could get a warning or ticket for letting your dog off-leash or for swimming at the Barton Springs Spillway. Austin Park Police are also enforcing other rules that ban smoking and glass bottles.

"We just have to learn how to share the space," said Carter.

Cracking Down On Dogs and Swimmers At Zilker Park

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