Leash law expands to include Holly Beach neighborhood in Gloucester

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GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WVEC) -- Residents in one Gloucester County subdivision claimed victory after a leash law was extended to include them. 

That means dog owners in the Holly Beach subdivision of Gloucester must keep their pets on leashes whenever they're off their property.

Residents say dogs running loose or acting aggressively in the neighborhood has been a major concern for years.

Mary Viar-Coyne has lived in Holly Beach for 10 years. She has three kids and is worried about their safety at times.

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“It's become an increasing issue,” Viar-Coyne said. “You can't walk in the neighborhood without dogs following you, chasing, growling at you.”

Their neighborhood was not under the county's leash law, which says all dogs have to be on a leash and controlled while it's off the property.

Viar-Coyne and a few of her neighbors reached out to animal control about a year and a half ago searching for help. Animal Control officials told them what they needed to do.

So, Viar-Coyne and a few others went door to door with a petition.

They got in touch with 103 of the 174 homes in the subdivision. 94 homes signed in favor of having a leash law in their neighborhood. Three were against the law, and six were undecided.

There were 90 aggressive dog calls from 1999 to 2017. There were 124 calls about stray or lost dogs at that same time.

Earlier this week, the board of supervisors approved to put Holly Beach under the county's leash law later this year.