If you’re planning to take your dog to a city of Atlanta park this summer, fetch your leash before you go.

The Atlanta Police Department is issuing citations for violations of the city of Atlanta dog leash ordinance.

“We’re enforcing the city’s off-leash ordinances in the parks to keep everyone safe in the parks,” said city of Atlanta Office of Parks Director Doug Voss. “Off-leash dogs create a health and safety hazard for the both the dog and people. We want all pets, their owners and people to enjoy the city’s parks.”

Dogs are only allowed to be off leash when they are in a designated area such as an Off Leash Dog Park. A dog park offers a fenced, grassy or mulched area where dogs can roam off leash safely. The city’s two official dog parks are located in Piedmont Park and South Bend Park.

Bob Schneider, a Garden Hills Civic Association board member, said he regularly attends Park Pride meetings. Park Pride is a non-profit organization that works with communities all over Atlanta to improve their parks.

“Month after month, we’ve heard complaints about people letting their dogs off their leash in non-designated areas,” Schneider said.

Most city parks have the same problems. According to Schneider, “There’s dog waste not being picked up, and plant life is being damaged. Dogs have actually gone onto private property and attacked other pets.”

He added, “It was also the top complaint I received when I was president of the Garden Hills Civic Association. We’re lucky to have Sunnybrook Park, Alexander Park and Frankie Allen Park in our community. Neighbors told me they couldn’t take their on-leash dog to one of the parks because they were afraid an off-leash dog would come up to them, possibly scaring their children and forcing them to leave.”

Schneider said those are some of the reasons “the city decided to do more of a public crackdown across the board.”

The city of Atlanta is working with police and neighborhood associations to deter people from taking their dogs off their leashes in places where it’s illegal.

“From a Garden Hills community perspective, we support the city on that and want to see the law followed,” Schneider said.