We love dogs, but we have leash laws for good reasons
If you use public parks in Seattle you have likely seen more than your fair share of dogs off leash as animals are taken out for exercise and so they can relieve themselves.
But leash laws exist for good reasons.
1. Dogs on a leash are prevented from trespassing on the other people's property.
2 Leashing keeps your dog from jumping, frightening or even biting people you encounter. This is true regardless of age or size of the dog. People not paying attention (think phone or earbuds) and the elderly or disabled are particularly susceptible.
3. Walking your pet on a leash will prevent the spread of disease. It is less likely that your dog will be exposed to Parvo or Distemper.
4. A leash keeps your pet from running into traffic or chasing other animals. They also prevent dogfights.
5. A leash means your dog is less likely to relieve themselves out of your sight or somewhere you can't pick it up, also the law.
6. Children's play areas are part of parks too and dogs and children are attracted to each other, sometimes with unwanted results.
7. Fines for dogs off leash range from $50 to $150 and can be $500 at a beach.
Changes coming to Westcrest Park
Westcrest Park has an off leash area of course but the park is about to undergo some major renovation which might mean more dogs in less space, possibly causing people to just ignore the leash laws even more commonly than they do now.
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is developing a plan for a 6-month temporary dog off-leash area (OLA) during the construction of the upcoming drainage, access and erosion control project at Westcrest OLA.
There have been ongoing drainage and erosion concerns at the Westcrest OLA, since at least 2016. SPR is proposing to undertake maintenance activities in and around the Westcrest Park OLA to address these problems. SPR will also be taking this opportunity to bring the north parking lot into compliance with current accessibility standards.
SPR is in the process of refining the design and acquiring the necessary permit. The revised design will solve the drainage and erosion issues while providing a better user experience for all users.
The Westcrest OLA project has not yet begun construction and is tentatively scheduled for Spring or Fall of 2020.. Seattle Parks and Recreation said that dogs off leash is "common issue we have at most of our parks. Even at parks where we have signage, dog owners sometimes ignore them and let their dogs off leash."
If you commonly see dogs off leash and consider it a problem what they suggest is for the community to submit a report to Animal Control (on this webpage: http://www.seattle.gov/animal-shelter/animal-control) with as much detail as possible (time of day, how many dogs off leash, etc). Animal Control officers use these reports to perform emphasis patrols in parks where this issue happens frequently, especially if it’s during a certain time of the day. When possible, you can even provide the license plate number of the leash law violator so Animal Control can use that information to follow up with them later.
Westside Seattle has gotten comments from readers regarding dogs off leash at Lincoln Park and Myrtle Reservoir Park. Parks said, "SPR has not yet received an application for an OLA at either Lincoln Park or Myrtle Reservoir Park and the department has not considered adding an OLA at those parks."
Community members can learn more about the 2017 People, Dogs and Parks Plan and how to submit an application for an OLA in their neighborhood on our website (http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/policies-and-plans/people-dogs-and-parks-strategic-plan).
As for Westcrest, construction is set to begin in the spring of 2020 and they anticipate completion by fall. Due to safety for all and the scope of the project, the north parking lot and the entire OLA will be closed for the duration of construction. Parks said they understand the impact the construction closure will have on the users of the Westcrest Park OLA and have developed a plan to provide temporary OLA facilities at Westcrest Park for the duration of the closure.
- The existing small/shy dog area will remain open for use during construction. This provides additional space and continuity of current use for the OLA users.
- We will construct a temporary OLA space on SPR property just north of the P-Patch and west of the small/shy dog area in a space that is currently lawn. This location is close to the existing small/shy dog area and is centrally located within the park. The Temporary OLA will be located to the north of the P-Patch. It will consist of temporary fencing installed and maintained by the contractor hired to perform the work for the drainage improvements. After construction, the contractor will restore the Temporary OLA back to lawn.
Also you can find a list of all 14 Off-Leash Areas on the Dog Off Leash Areas webpage.
The Seattle Park District Major Maintenance and Asset Management Fund provides $505,000 in funding for this project.
Planning and Design: Spring 2018 - Winter 2019/20
Bidding: Early 2020
Construction: Spring - Fall 2020
The scope of the project includes:
- Stabilizing areas of erosion on trails and down steep slopes.
- Improving conveyance (e.g. rock-lined swales, concrete swales and HDPE piping) and outfalls to reduce potential for erosion.
- Restricting dog and pedestrian access in sloped areas with additional fencing to reduce further loss and allow re-establishment of ground cover.
- Regrading major use areas to reduce runoff velocities and the potential for erosion and sediment transport.
- Stabilizing the dog play area surfaces with a well-draining mineral aggregate.
- Constructing sediment traps to reduce transport of surfacing materials and improve water quality.
- Relocating discharge points from tops of slopes to bottom of slope for full dispersion in the forest.
- Providing accessibility improvements in the north parking lot and the north entrance.
When an unleashed dog is running full bore at me, at what point am I allowed to shoot the dog? Before or after it makes contact? They always make contact... gonna make contact with a .38 next time. BTW, I use Lincoln Park and Longfellow regularly. If I were you I'd obey the leash law and keep that bitch under control.
Dear Judy! Most reading your effed up comment clearly see who the real bitch is....
@Judy Banks - I'd recommending turning that gun on yourself. You're more of a danger to the community than an off-leash dog.