Friday, February 17, 2017

Off Leash Dogs 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 have seen many egregious incidents at the Laurelhurst Park play ground, where I used to take my grandchildren. Many times I saw dogs running loose around the playground installations.  I told the owners that dogs should be leashed and not in the play area. One owner leashed his dog and called to his son, "C'mon son, this lady says we have to go home." That's not what I said, and shame on him for lying to his son.

I walk my dog at Laurelhurst Park but always keep him on a leash. I avoided the park for awhile after he was attacked by another dog and needed professional care. Now I 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 very un-neighborly. There's a big dog park at Magnuson to take off leash dogs to or your own backyard?  Maybe you don't want your dog to poop in your own yard.  Follow the law for the sake of everyone in Laurelhurst. 

I believe our neighborhood should come up with a solution that allows for some compromise on this issue, such as in San Diego where off-leash dogs are allowed only at certain hours. There is no good reason that off-leash or unruly dogs should be anywhere near the playground or even the athletic fields when there are young folks at play. Also, it is critical that dog owners who aren't able to successfully  control their dogs should ever have their dogs off leash.

Many people who walk their dogs at the park know that at certain hours, usually very early in the morning, the only people at the Park are dog owners.  I don't take issue when I see other folks enjoying each other's company there and playing with some dogs off leash at this time.  I do agree it is the responsibility of owners to throw away their dog's waste properly, and also help clean up after those who didn't.

We were having a birthday gathering in the park and on TWO separate occasions, off leash dogs ran into the party and started towards the food. Both times the dog owners laughed about it. 

No comments: