Local dog owners are advised that while a local leash ordinance has yet to be enacted, tourist inspectors on guard at the Chapala and Ajijic waterfront promenades may approach them to request they keep their pets collared and leashed in those areas.
The young officials may also speak somewhat forcefully to anyone observed not picking up after canines leaving excrement along the way.
The principal aim of the so-far informal pet control rules is to keep these prime tourist zones safe and clean for all pedestrians.
The current municipal government is considering drawing up a regulatory code based on Jalisco’s Animal Care and Protection Law. The initiative, however, is not expected to move forward until the new year, with its elaboration and approval by the city council likely to drag on for many months.
Until then inspectors and police have no authority to issue tickets, impose fines or detain violators. They can simply suggest and encourage citizen cooperation and provide plastic bags to retrieve droppings when needed.
At this point it is not entirely clear how wide a scope will be crafted into the proposed animal control regulations. Some skeptics have already derided the proposal, noting the lax enforcement of other municipal codes already on the books.
Council member Alina Karen Gonzalez Castañeda attended a public meeting Thursday night at the Ajijic Cultural Center to listen to concerned residents, most of whom are less than thrilled with the prospects of north-of-the-border style regulations that don’t jive with the local culture. An Ajijic vet who holds a vested interest in the issue, Gonzalez listened attentively to all points of view. She then took the opportunity to stress that rising problems of stray animals, vicious attacks by dogs allowed to roam the streets freely, feces contamination and incidents of animal abuse need to be addressed vigorously to assure a better quality of life for residents, visitors and the animal population.