Beginning on Wednesday, July 1, leashed dogs and cats will be permitted in most Dubuque parks, parkways, trails, and open spaces.

There are a number of exceptions. Dogs and cats are NOT allowed in the following areas:

  • Buildings or facilities within parks which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places,
  • Bunker Hill Golf Course,
  • Eagle Point Park,
  • Flora Park Swimming Pool,
  • Marshall Park and Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens,
  • Murphy Park,
  • Nicholas J. Sutton Swimming Pool,
  • Veterans Memorial Plaza within the Gerald “Red” McAleece Park and Recreation Complex,
  • fenced-in sporting areas, including, but not limited to, courts, fields, rinks, arenas, and skate parks, and
  • on playground and recreational areas designed for use by children.

Those exceptions do not apply to service animals used by persons with disabilities, animals present as part of an approved and permitted special event, and animals confined to a vehicle during the entirety of their time within Marshall Park and Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Eagle Point Park, and Murphy Park (so long as the owner is compliant with the state code related to the safety and health of the animal).

Pet owners or keepers are liable/responsible for the actions of their dogs and cats, thus must pick up and dispose of or take away the pet’s waste. Pet owners need to bring their own pet waste bags along on their park or trail visit and dispose of the waste bag in the closest garbage receptacle. Any unleashed or unattended animal in a park, parkway, trail, or open space will be impounded. Violations may be reported to the City of Dubuque Animal Control staff during normal working hours at 563-589-4185. After hours, please call Non-Emergency Police Dispatch at 563-589-4415.

Unleashed dogs are permitted in the Pet Park. They are also allowed at John G. Bergfeld Recreation Area ponds, but only when an owner or keeper is working or exercising a dog by tossing a retrieval dummy or other object into a pond for out-and-back exercise. At all other times the dog must be leashed at the Bergfeld Recreation Area.

The Dubuque City Council created a Pet-Friendly Working Group after setting a council goal of a more pet-friendly community. The work group completed a Pet-Friendly City Assessment and their first project led to the City Council adopting this new pet-friendly ordinance which allows pets in most parks. The work group’s next priority is community education related to responsible pet ownership.

To view the complete ordinance or for background on this change and further information related to the work group, please visit For more information on this ordinance, please call the City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department at 563.589.4263.

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