Friday, January 13, 2017

Dogs Off Leash Not Allowed In City Parks And Neighbor Comments

The Laurelhurst Blog consistently receives comments regarding residents who regularly visit the Laurelhurst park and encounter off-leash dogs

The City Code (SMC 18.12.080) states: 

18.12.080 - Animals running at large prohibited

Except as expressly allowed in subsection B hereof, it is unlawful for any person to allow or permit any dog or other pet to run at large in any park, or to permit any dog or other pet with or without a leash, except Seeing Eye or Hearing Ear dogs or dogs used by public law enforcement agencies and under control of a law enforcement officer, to enter any public beach, swimming or wading area, pond, fountain, stream, organized athletics area or designated children's play area.
Any person with a dog or other pet in his or her possession or under his or her control in any park shall be responsible and liable for the conduct of the animal, shall carry equipment for removing feces, and shall place feces deposited by such animal in an appropriate receptacle.

18.12.085 - Violation—Civil penalties.
Violation of Section 18.12.080 shall be a civil infraction as contemplated by RCW 7.80.120 subject to the following penalties: 
  • Initial Infraction. Imposition of a monetary penalty of Fifty Dollars ($50);
  • Second Infraction. Imposition of a monetary penalty of One Hundred Dollars ($100);
  • Third Infraction. Imposition of a monetary penalty of One Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($125);
  • Subsequent Infractions. Imposition of a monetary penalty of One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150) for each infraction

Here are some comments received:
I just needed to vent about an off leash encounter at the park recently.  I had an annoying conversation with a woman who had let her dog off its leash at Laurelhurst Park.  I walk my dog every morning and usually avoid the park because I am annoyed when people do not follow the leash law at the park. However, the morning was so lovely, I decided to walk in the park.  Her dog, a border collie looking dog, was running wildly around the park chasing squirrels. The dog's owner was quite far away from the dog and did not appear to have the dog under voice command.    When I reminded her that her dog needed to be on a  leash, she just asked me if I lived in the neighborhood and then said I was "one of those goody two shoes types".  I could not believe some of her

justifications for making the public park her personal dog run.   Statements like "some rules are made to be broken" and "he needs a lot of exercise" were her attempts to justify her actions.  Needless to say, she ruined my walk in the park! I also witnessed several people letting their big dogs off leash on Sunday.  The dogs were running around and almost knocked down a family with a little boy.  When I reminded them of the leash rule, at least they said sorry and leashed their dogs.  I am all for off leash areas.  I will totally support making part of the park an off leash area.  There is room.   I think it is great to have an area where dogs can run free.    It is just not okay to make the park, which is used by everyone, a personal dog run!  Not sure if this ever does any good!  I feel the only hope of making the park safe for all, is to put in an area for off leash activities.   I know there have been discussions about this.  I would definitely vote for it!  Then I can relax and  walk my dog on her leash and those who want their dogs to run free could have their space.  It certainly appears that the people who like to let their dogs off leash are not going to stop doing so.  That makes me sad.  

Please have anyone who might encounter a dog unleashed,  call the City of Seattle Dog Patrol at 206-386-7387   If all of us call and report all unleashed dogs, they City will step up their patrol and be able to spot check out park more frequently.

Recently we saw a dog walker place dog feces bag she was carrying into our "clean green" container.  When I caught up with her and suggested she take the bag to the dog's home, she told me that she thought the bag could go into the clean green container since the bag would decompose.  According to my search, the feces need to be DOUBLE BAGGED and go into the REGULAR GARBAGE containers.  This regulation is for the safety of the trash collectors.

Dog walkers need to take their scooped up dog poop with bags home with them and not dump them in my garbage bin.

Laurelhurst Park is an enormous play area that should be allowed to be used by all. While I agree that off leash dogs should never be allowed in the playground or near children and of course an owner is responsible for all their pet’s actions. I absolutely see no harm in an early morning game of fetch in an area of the park away from other users. I recognize that this is currently against park rules, but perhaps the area at the bottom of the hill on the west side of the park should be designated for off leash use during certain parts of the day?

Any dog owner who calls Animal Control on another owner should be ashamed of themselves. Especially when the dog in question is nowhere near other park patrons and has caused no issues. Other commentators speak of being neighborly and fostering a sense of community – well this obviously is the opposite of that message. I’d like to think people have more important things to worry about in life than a harmless game of fetch.

We appreciate the Laurelhurst Blog's posts increasing everyone's awareness of the dog poop issue, even though it is often the same thing being said again and again.  The Blog posted our comments regarding dog feces regularly left at NE 50th Street and 47th Avenue NE and we are happy to report that that stretch of the sidewalk has remained clean.  Thanks to the Blog for helping to make our sidewalks a more pleasant place to walk and thanks to the dog owners who are being diligent about picking up.
Many of dog owners throws the bags with excrements right into the (landscaped) bushes (on the street) as they walk to the park with the unleashed dogs. We see it happening all the time.


Anonymous said...

I also walk my dog at Laurelhurst Park but he's always on a leash. I avoided the park for awhile after he was attacked by another dog and needed veterinary care. Now we go only occasionally since the number of off leash dogs has dramatically increased. The law is the law is the law. The arrogant self entitlement that the owners show who continually let their dogs off leash is appalling and extremely unneighborly. There's a huge dog park at Magnuson (conveniently nearby) take your dogs there if you want them off leash or even better what about your own backyard? Too small you say? You don't want them to poop in your own yard? You don't have the time...make the time, for the sake of everyone in Laurelhurst.

Professore said...

My eight year old daughter was having a small birthday gathering in the park and on TWO separate occasions dogs-- off leash-- ran into the party and started towards the food. Both times the dog owners laughed it off. I was not impressed.