Friday, June 23, 2017

Off Leash Dog Comments Following Recent Post

The Laurelhurst Blog recently posted about off leash dogs at Laurelhurst Park and a pit bull that reportedly killing another dog at the park.

Several months prior, the same pit bull bit another dog at the Park, which required veterinary attention.  It was also reported that a standard poodle was bitten very seriously by a German shepherd several weeks ago in the Park, and required veterinary care. 

The Laurelhurst Blog consistently receives comments from neighbors who frequent the Laurelhurst Park enjoying the park or taking a walk, as well as those with their dogs, who regularly encounter off-leash dogs, a violation of Seattle City Code which states:

City Code (SMC 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

The Laurelhurst Blog received these comments following the post: 
I am a dog lover, however, the park is not for off-leash use, yet there are constantly dogs off leash running around. We have young children and I am frequently aghast when owners let their dogs run through the playground! Some children are scared of dogs! Let alone even the most well-behaved dogs can be unpredictable when startled by a child. We have lived in Laurelhurst for over 5 years and this has constantly been a problem. Can the LCC board do something? Put up signs or regulate it in some way? Maybe early morning could be a time for "off-leash play" so that there is some compromise!  

Fortunately there are some off-leash dogs at the Laurelhurst Park who are mostly friendly, playful, and supervised by their owners. However some dogs are not, even though owners are well aware of the leash policy and the off-leash dog park at Magnuson.
There should be absolutely no compromise on the well known Seattle Municipal Code about requiring dogs on leashes in the park and the penalties of not.  e are a mile and a half from one of the largest off leash areas in the city, 8.6 acres at Magnuson. We, the taxpayers have spent quite a bit of cash on building and maintaining these off leash areas. If a dog owner is not willing to take advantage of these, why should everyone else suffer for it?

Some children are scared of dogs and so are some adults.  Please do not assume that we all love your cute adorable furry family members. Please keep them on leashes, and I will let you know if I want to pet your pet and/or invite it to jump on me.  
Just because your dog isn't aggressive and is behaved, doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it on a leash. In both of those instances of the German Shepard and pit bull can you say for certain that the dogs weren't actually on a leash and it was the dogs that got bit that were running free? I know more than one situation where a non aggressive dog was unleashed and ran up on an aggressive leashed dog and got hurt. Everyone should keep their dogs leashed. 

I have seen many egregious incidents at the Laurelhurst Park play ground.  Many times I saw dogs running loose around the playground installations. I told the owners that their 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.
I believe our neighborhood should come up with a solution that allows for some compromise on this issue.  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. 

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