Has Lincoln Park gone to the dogs? Fauntleroy Community Association tackling topic

The subject of off-leash dogs in Lincoln Park – a violation of city/park rules – was the hottest topic on the agenda for this month’s Fauntleroy Community Association board meeting. A bigger discussion is on the horizon, and you’ll be invited. But in the meantime, violators are on notice:

The problem has been a hot button for a long time. It sparked a new round of anger with this WSB reader report of a dog attacking one of the popular white geese that live on the waters and beaches of Fauntleroy. But it’s not just the beach, one attendee told the FCA board – the upper-park meadows have a de-facto dog run, and dog owners who use it as such don’t take kindly to being told their pets are required to be on leashes.

The ensuing board discussion this past Tuesday included suggestions that this topic could be part of the larger community meeting the board’s been discussing for a few months – FCA meets monthly as a board, and hosts an annual membership meeting, but larger gatherings tend to focus on one topic, like the one quickly convened this past summer after the proposed commercial zipline attraction installation came to light. The board has been talking about convening a community meeting about Lincoln Park in general, and agreed that the dog topic would make sense as part of it. They acknowledged that it would likely stir passions on both sides of the issue – enforcement of current rules, given the safety issues (including the threat to wildlife, such as seal pups on the beach), or whether there needs to be more accommodation for dogs – could part of the park hold an official off-leash area? (Right now, the only one in any West Seattle park is at Westcrest Park.)

The FCA board agreed to set a date and format next month for the larger meeting, which will likely be in January or February.

Meantime, two WSB Forums members who attended the board meeting have been coordinating a Forums discussion. There’s also been a general alert of impending enforcement.

We talked with Seattle Animal Shelter‘s enforcement supervisor Ann Graves at week’s end and she didn’t have any word yet on an impending warning of imminent enforcement – but also noted that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not on the schedule.

So bottom line – animal-control officers are expected at Lincoln Park any time now, and dog owners who break the leash law run the risk of a costly citation. If you want to discuss the issue, or others related to the park, keep an eye out for word of that larger community meeting early in the New Year. We’ll report the date once it’s set, and you will see it on the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s website and Facebook page, too.

73 Replies to "Has Lincoln Park gone to the dogs? Fauntleroy Community Association tackling topic"

  • Noelle November 18, 2012 (9:43 pm)

    Is there any hope of a fenced in official off leash area being put in the park?

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man November 18, 2012 (9:52 pm)

    Long overdue that this situation is being given the attention (and hopefully enforcement) due. Frankly surprised that our funds-strapped city hasn’t recognized the problem for what it is–a veritable off-leash goldmine. I may just have to look into this FCA and get involved. Their work on the Ape was outstanding. I hope off-leash gets the same level of attention.

  • E November 18, 2012 (10:27 pm)

    Please please please please please start enforcing the off-leash problem at Lincoln Park. It’s a huge safety risk to PEOPLE as well as wildlife. And owners do not respond well to being told (politely) their dog should be on a leash, even with my 3 year old screaming in fear because of their “friendly” dog rushing her. Quiet honestly I’m afraid to take my kids there.

  • Jar November 18, 2012 (10:34 pm)

    Hopefully something will come of this. This is a huge problem, and has been for a long time.

    I was bitten by a dog, and the dog ripped my running pants. The owner ran off.

    I also saw an off-leash dog kill a squirril. The owner did nothing, but ran off when I said something.

    If you say anything about the leash laws, you get an “F-you”. I had a women tell me to F-off, and her child was with her!

  • G November 18, 2012 (10:34 pm)

    Same for Schmitz Park, many dogs are unleashed. No one wants to be a cop, so just follow the law, please.

  • Seaviewer November 18, 2012 (10:41 pm)

    It is sort of crazy that an area the size of WS has only one off lease area and it is miles from 90% of it’s residents.

    They should definitely put an off leash area in the park. There’s obviously plenty of room for one. The only issue would be parking due to increased use.

  • James November 18, 2012 (10:42 pm)

    West Seattle needs a North, South, and West off leash area. Lincoln park is the natural site for a west off leash location, there are others. Having legal local neighborhood off leash areas will take tremendous pressure off of our school yards and play fields. Off leash is a valid use for our parks. Sadly the anti dog group is well entrenched at the park. An off leash area at Lincoln will keep the off leash dogs in a confined area. It is a win for everybody.

  • Robert November 18, 2012 (10:48 pm)

    I haven’t seen this in Lincoln so much as in Fauntleroy park (Whiskey Woods). I rarely see dogs on leashes there. When I politely mention that dogs are supposed to be leashed, people always say that their dog is friendly. But the rule doesn’t work well if most people consider their own dog to be an exception. The signs are clear.

  • Fansman November 18, 2012 (11:03 pm)

    You people pain me. Talk about first world problems. Question: how did the Puget Sound seal population survive these past centuries without the help of a self rightous populace. Answer: Just fine.

    See ya on the beach.

  • Laura November 18, 2012 (11:23 pm)

    Agree with James. If there were an official off-leash area in the park, it would fix the problem.

  • ws_suzanne November 19, 2012 (12:04 am)

    Mee Kwa Mooks park is another place where people run their dogs off leash. Like so many others, I’ve tried to politely let folks know that it’s not an off-leash area, and ended up getting a very strong reaction.

    And when I called Seattle Parks to ask what we as citizens can do, I was told that it’s up to us to deal with the dog owners.

    If officers were to start ticketing violators even sporadically, it would probably help quite a bit,and definitely add revenue. I really hope this happens.

  • Nitro November 19, 2012 (12:51 am)

    Please keep your dogs on a leash in Lincoln Park and Fauntleroy Park. I like dogs, but the parks are for EVERYONE to use and enjoy. Please obey the law and I hope the city starts enforcing the law. Thank you for discussing this, FCA!!!!

  • L.A. November 19, 2012 (2:00 am)

    I was attacked and mauled to the edge of death by a ‘friendly family’ dog in public just because I ran past it when I was 10. A sweet, happy, and perfectly behaved dog in a family with children it had never even growled at. My arms and legs were ripped and torn to the bone. I lost half my blood volume and had puncture wounds just a breath away from my jugular. My heart stopped in the ambulance. The attack lasted less than 5 minutes and a crowd of grown adults could not get the dog off me.

  • L.A. November 19, 2012 (2:04 am)

    My phone cut off, but to conclude… My physical scars are bad but the emotional ones are worse. Every time your off leash dog comes running my way, I am filled with terror. I am afraid to enjoy the beauty of where I live because you don’t care about someone like me…. Or the next little girl who could lose their life to your perfect family pet who would never ever hurt anyone. This law is not about inconvenience to you, it has a serious and valid purpose.

  • Faith4 November 19, 2012 (5:29 am)

    The same with Alki Beach. I ask people sometimes that take their dogs in the water about the posted signs. They tell me that they just go early in the morning, or they say we never have been given a ticket. It is clearly posted down there but they do it anyway. All the years we have been here in West Seattle, it is very seldom we see anyone get a ticket for off leash dogs in the parks or on the beach. There are various places for people to take dogs in West Seattle where they can run freely off leash. We have seen some situations that were not good because of off leash dogs, no matter how good the intentions are of the owner.

  • Mud Baby November 19, 2012 (6:24 am)

    Yes, there is a faint ray of hope for establishing an official dog park in Lincoln Park, but the process won’t be pretty. Seattle Parks dragged the dog owners of Magnolia through an 8 YEAR PROCESS to build a 0.45 acre dog off leash area. That doesn’t even include the years of meetings BEFORE ponderously slow Seattle Parks approved this OLA.

    Proponents of the dog park attended years of meetings, had to raise a huge amount of money themselves (including a couple of grants from the Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods, which is no picnic either), hire an manage a contract with a landscape architect, etc., etc., etc. In the end, it took Parks an astounding TWO MONTHS to build this dinky little OLA. Everything Seattle government does is MASSIVELY SLOW AND CHOKED WITH PROCESS, unless of course it’s building a third half $billion sports stadium. That approval was given in a New York minute compared to anything ordinary people want for their neighborhoods. My dog is now so old now she can barely walk let alone run in this new park. I am bitter, and will never again vote for a Seattle Parks levy.

    In the meantime I encourage everyone to let your dogs run free wherever you can. New York City allows dogs to be off leash in certain areas of most parks during certain hours. Only uptight Seattleites have apoplexy over this issue.

  • WS mom November 19, 2012 (6:27 am)

    Leashing your dogs just means you are willing to share the public spaces with everyone. It’s the only way these shared spaces will work.

    A dog owner who is happy to keep her dog on a leash.

  • datamuse November 19, 2012 (7:04 am)

    So…you’re going to actively piss off your neighbors because Seattle Parks takes a long time to do anything. That’s an interesting choice of action.
    I’d be more sympathetic if people’s “friendly” dogs hadn’t chased, snarled at, chased me down the street, and in one case even attacked me. Apoplexy seems like a reasonable reaction under those circumstances.

  • cr November 19, 2012 (7:07 am)

    Yes…. Let’s spend city money enforcing it. Ok all you complainers, who’s stepping up to pick up the bill?

  • Lura Ercolano November 19, 2012 (7:11 am)

    I support building several off-leash parks in West Seattle. I believe that finding locations and funding them should be a Parks Department priority. They needn’t be large or pricey – Denny Park currently has a small “temporary” off-leash area that is working very well and should be a model for additional off-leash areas.
    I also believe it is time for some serious enforcement of the off-leash laws. Perhaps a portion of the fine should go towards building additional off-leash areas? Then this wouldn’t have to seem like a pro-dog/anti-dog issue.
    I believe that citizens should be able to call the police, and receive a police response, when they feel threatened by an off-leash dog and/or the dog’s owner. (Of course dispatch may place a lower priority on responding to this than to other issues, depending on the situation)
    Frankly, I don’t get why my being threatened by an off-leash, menacing dog and a swearing, angry, yelling owner is treated any differently than if I were being threatened by the same man displaying, say, a knife. But it is. The knife would draw immediate police response. The dog leads to navigating Animal Control phone menu tree to leave a message. But in some situations, both situations amount to displaying a deadly weapon.
    These aren’t new issues. Ten years ago a construction site in my neighborhood had a worker who brought his dog daily, usually kept the dog kenneled, but would let the dog run totally free on the beach for 15 minutes every day. Animal Control refused to come talk to the construction worker, even though this was a daily event. Animal Control officials at that time even went so far as to say that if the dog’s owner didn’t live in Seattle city limits, there wouldn’t be anything they could do. Huh?

  • MyEye November 19, 2012 (7:12 am)

    There’s a perfectly good off leash park in west seattle. I take my dog there often. It’s great. What’s not great is having some “well behaved dog” rush me, my on leash pup, or kid!

  • KRM66 November 19, 2012 (7:43 am)

    I run in and around Lincoln Park frequently with my dog. He is a 90lb retriever. He is always on a leash, and I can’t tell you how many times my dog and I have been charged at by off leash dogs. The owners always yell something like “its okay, their friendly”. Fact is, I don’t care if your dog is friendly or not, if it is off leash and charges me and my dog, I am feeling threatened. I shouldn’t feel that way when I am in a public park obeying the law.
    When I first moved to Seattle years ago, I had my dog off leash at Alki (west part of beach where it is rocky). It was in November and we were the only ones there. I got stopped by Animal Control. It was a costly ticket, but I learned my lesson. Hopefully some of these off leash owners will learn the lesson as well.

  • mtnfreak November 19, 2012 (7:49 am)

    It does sound like dog owners have abused their neighbors’ tolerance at Lincoln Park. And for that, I’m sorry – you won’t see my dogs off leash there. Promise.

    But folks, come on. The speed limit is clearly posted, yet how many of you speed? Pedestrian cross walks are posted, yet how many of you blow by the nice person patiently waiting to cross? Ever rolled through a stop sign? I’ve been hit by a car – and nearly hit many times – while riding my bike (here and elsewhere) – so should I be terrified of cars and the drivers who own them. Of course I am. And I still ride my bike. Hopefully that handful of you with “terrified of dog” syndrome (in many cases, very, very deserved) haven’t stopped going to the park, too.

    But this is just another example of NIMBY-ism. “You should obey the laws, pay no attention to me.” Rocks and glass houses, eh?

    If you approach me at a park, I’m friendly about it. I’ll even apologize for your inconvenience and leash my dogs (I always have, and always will – and that has happened here in West Seattle). I think that’s fair. Just like I thinks its fair to take my dogs to the park at a quiet time for some exercise off-leash without having to drive 20 minutes. At the same time, I’ve made sure that my dogs recall even from a squirrel chase, because I believe that’s important too. I know that not every dog owner is as considerate, and some are more considerate than me or recognize that their dogs aren’t as manageable off-leash. Props to them.

    And in the end, there are no bad dogs – just bad dog owners. And I don’t think I’m a bad dog owner – and I don’t think your necessarily a bad driver if you speed, don’t always stop at crosswalks or roll through stop signs.

    My two cents.

  • Renee November 19, 2012 (8:14 am)

    I often see people without their dogs on leashes. Often they are joggers who are running ahead of their dog and pay no attention to what their dog is doing. Not to mention they certainly aren’t going to pick up when their dog poops in the park. It is a health and safety issue. We have a dog and it is always leashed. There are several places in the city you can take your dog to run unleashed. It’s a matter of courtesy and the law to obey leash laws. Even good dogs have bad days and could bite someone if they feel threatened.

  • sam-c November 19, 2012 (8:29 am)

    i must go to Lincoln Park at the best times, because i think in all my years there, I’ve only seen one off leash dog (and I think he was lost- skittish and ran away from me). We’ve been there with and without our (on leash dog) and encountered many other on leash dogs. the one place that i have NEVER seen an on-leash dog, however, is Schmitz park. I almost think that problem is the reverse of Lincoln Park…. all the neighbors of Schmitz park bring their dogs there for an off-leash walk. I don’t get it. it’s like i live in an alternate universe west seattle.

  • Cass Nevada November 19, 2012 (8:41 am)

    There are more of us using Lincoln Park than ever before, and more of us with dogs unleashed. It’s an issue of critical mass–as a frequent runner and walker, and an animal/dog lover, I am honestly distressed by the amount of off-leash activity. There are all kinds of corollary effects, not the least of which is disturbance of underbrush environment and walker/runner safety (I’ve personally been on the receiving end of over zealous watch dogs a few times).
    It’s a numbers/math issue–steadily increasing population vs. diminishing open space for all, incl park wildlife. Use the leash, please.

  • Neighbor November 19, 2012 (8:49 am)

    I have to chime in here as someone who walks Lincoln, Alki, and Shmitz all year long with a dog. I walk one of these places everyday and am kinda stunned at the assertions that it’s just a free for all for pups off leash. It is a very, very rare occasion that I run into another dog owner who has not leashed their pup. The over exaggerations discredits alot of what people are complaining about. Again, I’m in these parks everyday and I just don’t see the situations people are complaining about. It seems over zealous and reactionary.

    As to a dog park in LIncoln….oh please, please, please! This city has more dogs than children.

  • BrownTrout November 19, 2012 (9:05 am)

    I wont walk my dogs at Lincoln Park anymore because of all the off-leash dogs. If you insist on being off-leash, go to Westcrest, or venture outside of Seattle where there aren’t such strict leash laws. Edmonds has a lovely off-leash beach where your Fido can mix with other dogs to his heart’s delight. On-leash and off-leash dogs don’t mix, so show some respect for your fellow dog owners and use a leash so that everyone can enjoy public spaces.

  • Mongo November 19, 2012 (9:13 am)

    To Noelle / Seaviewer / James / Laura / Lura Ercolano / Neighbor (and anyone else who would like to see on off-leash area in Lincoln Park) —
    Off-leash areas get created by community input. If you want to get the process started, I’d recommend you contact the Citizens for Off-Leash Areas (COLA) organization (www.coladog.org). They are a non-profit group focused on promoting and maintaining the success of off-leash parks. They have folks that are experienced in helping local communities navigate the process for getting new off-leash areas established.

  • Kiko November 19, 2012 (9:41 am)

    There are NO off leash areas in West Seattle. Westcrest is in White Center. I live in the Alki area which is a ways away. I always keep my dog on a leash, but I think some of you are seriously not even thinking about the dogs. Can you imagine never being able to run free? What if your owner can’t “run” with you? I have a bad ankle and can’t run so the only time she gets to run is if I can make it cross town so to speak. I don’t have a big yard. Time for Seattle to quit being so selfish and give the dogs a little more freedom to run free. More off leash areas. Just sayin’.

    • WSB November 19, 2012 (10:02 am)

      Westcrest is not in White Center; it’s in Highland Park, which is West Seattle. White Center starts a few blocks south, across the county line. Not much difference for distance’s sake, but for accuracy’s sake, it’s West Seattle. The county is responsible for parks south of the line; I don’t know if they have off-leash areas. – TR

  • Alley Cat November 19, 2012 (10:12 am)

    I don’t go to the parks any more because of the unleashed dogs, quit going a few years ago. I’ve been attacked in the past, and now I’m afraid of dogs. I agree with some of the previous posters, that when I see a “friendly” dog coming at me I am filled with terror. Dogs don’t have the right to run free – they’re DOGS, they aren’t people, they don’t have ‘rights’, so stop anthropomorphizing them.
    It’s just plain rude to have your pet running around unleashed. If you don’t have the space at your home to keep your dog, i.e., a big-ass yard, then maybe you shouldn’t have a dog. Or maybe you should get a teeny-tiny dog that doesn’t need much space.
    I also have issues with the businesses on California that allow people to tie up their dogs right in the doorway, like Bakery Nouveau. I absolutely refuse to step over or around a strange dog.
    Not everyone is enamored with dogs. The arrogance of some dog owners around here is astounding.

  • WSratsinacage November 19, 2012 (10:24 am)

    As others have shared, off leash dogs are a problem in many other parks. I have been bitten as others have shared. I hope more off leash dog parks can be established or these many areas can be enforced/owners take responsibility.
    As I have said in other threads, merely having your dog on a leash is not always legal. It is important to know that leashed or unleashed dogs cannot be in organized athletic fields, play areas, or beaches all of which are in Lincoln Park. These are what the green signs are saying. SMC 18.12.080. I was at a soccer field this weekend where many owners had their dog on a leash. One dog pooped on the grass and the owner pretended to do something on their phone. As I walked to my car, I noticed the pile of poop.
    Come on people. Further proof if you give people an inch, they will take a yard. Not all dog owners are like this but there are a sizable number that are and I thank wakeflood and dpb for getting action for one of the many parks that need enforcement.

  • Nearby Resident November 19, 2012 (10:28 am)

    I, and my on leash dogs, have been attacked by off leash dogs in Lincoln Park. Bottom line, it is against the law, dangerous for your dog and other dogs, wildlife and your neighbors.
    I do agree another off leash area would be a great thing to have.
    As for thinking of the dogs; I do think of the dogs. I did not get dogs until I had a big yard to run them in. Unless it is a an assistance dog; if you don’t have the space, don’t get the dog. It’s not your neighbors’ burden to be scared, step in dog poop, etc. because you got a dog too big for your space. It’s not fair to us, or the dog.

  • AIDM November 19, 2012 (11:03 am)

    I think this is less of a problem than people make of it and think it is similar to cars going 5 mph over the speed limit. Yes it is against the law, but well behaved dogs that are off-leash aren’t causing significant problems and provide a way for people to exercise their pets without having to get them all muddy at West Crest. We live in a society where laws are enforced with discretion and this works quite well.

  • pjr November 19, 2012 (11:03 am)

    The reality is that the OLA at Westcrest is being severely abused by dog owners. 1st- The area should never have been selected as an OLA as it is (was) a beatiful woodland forest that has been desimated by off leash dogs. Severe erosion is now occuring where there used to be native forest. The open area works but take a look at the steeper slopes. 2nd- The dog owners are not satisfied with just having the “official ” OLA so now they have expanded the OLA to include pretty much the entire park including many once pristine areas of one of Seattle’s most intact native forestland. Now they are taking over a new park (West Seattle Reservoir)next door that is open but has not even been developed yet. 3rd- Most of Seattle Parks now operate as de facto OLA. It’s ridiculous! In general very few of the OLA function well because when many dogs are concentrated in one area it becomes striped of vegetation and when the weather turns to days like this it becomes a mud pit. The only areas that work well are ones built on sand/gravel type soils that drains instantly or areas very well graded with the surface reinforced with crushed rock or similar material. And then owners don’t like to use them because their little “Fluffy” deserves only the best areas on not some harsh area with a hardened surface.

  • Debbie November 19, 2012 (11:28 am)

    @browntrout wrote “venture outside of Seattle where there aren’t such strict leash laws.” Please do not spread misinformation, there are strict leash laws in Lake Forest Park, Edmonds, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Kenmore, Kirkland, Bellevue, Lynnwood, so please explain exactly where you believe there your ideal suburb outside of Seattle that doesn’t have strict leash laws? All of them have the same problem as Lincoln Park and some of them have off-leash dog parks to address the problem.

  • Big Red November 19, 2012 (11:53 am)

    I must be seriously missing all of these ill-behaved biting dogs running rabid around Lincoln Park as I have yet to encounter a single instance of this in my 7 years frequenting this park. Sure, I have seen several dogs off leash, but not a single one has charged, chased or bitten myself, my husband or our on-leash dog.

  • BWD November 19, 2012 (12:09 pm)

    AIDM et al:

    I live in a society where laws should be enforced fairly on all. Laws are not for personal interpretation or discretion. If you want to attempt to change the rules run for office rather than ignore them if they are inconvenient.

    If your dog is off leash in a restricted area, you should be removed from the area and fined. Dog owner’s fault, not the dog’s fault. However, I do not want to be approached by your “friendly” dog. Thank you.

  • Matt November 19, 2012 (12:19 pm)

    I live within a 3 minute walk from Lincoln Park, and have been walking there frequently with my young kids for over 10 years. It is very rare to visit the park without seeing at least one dog off leash. I cannot count how many times we have been rushed by “friendly” dogs. My kids learned to be afraid of dogs at a young age because of this. No matter how friendly a dog may be, it is very frightening for a child to have one that is almost, if not taller than you sprint up into your face. I would not be opposed to a small corner of the park being made into an off leash area, but they would need to strictly enforce it’s use, or else dog owners will continue to place the freedom and fun of their animals above that of other park users.

  • Carol November 19, 2012 (1:01 pm)

    Liberal city, liberal attitudes.

  • Juniebug November 19, 2012 (1:04 pm)

    I’ve encountered many, many off leash dogs in the Lincoln Park interior– to the point that I’m no longer comfortable going there with my smallish submissive (leashed) dog or kids. I’ve seen off-leash dogs take off with kids baseballs and softballs, knock an older man down, and chase wildlife on the beach. Before the County budget cuts, I had Animal Control literally on speed dial. After the budget cuts, I was told when I called that there was only one officer for the area so there would be no assistance unless the dogs were threats. I would love to see the parks safe for all with enforcement of leash laws. Some will still break the rule, just as with speeding, but at least there would be consequences.

  • enviromaven November 19, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    Please start ticketing and fining the dog owners who let their dogs rush up to other people and leashed dogs. Oh, and for the guy who runs on 37th between Brandon and Juneau with an off-leash black poodle or Portuguese water dog…how about picking up after your buddy? I get that your workout is important to you, but letting your pal leave a pile on the parking strip is very un-neighborly. And illegal.

  • Ralph November 19, 2012 (1:28 pm)

    I’m astonished by the belief of dog owners that they are somehow entitled to have a place for their dog to run free. You chose to have a dog in the City. If you want your dog to run free, buy some property in North Bend, and run them to your hearts content.

  • West Seattle since 1979 November 19, 2012 (1:55 pm)

    Carol, this doesn’t have anything to do with liberals. The strict laws are there, but can’t be enforced due to budget cuts.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident November 19, 2012 (2:07 pm)

    People walking their dogs off-leash in on-leash areas are bad enough. Not everyone is a “dog person” or likes dogs and quite a few are afraid of them.
    But what is worse is those people who feel the need to break the law and use every park as a OLA is the fact that very few of them bother to pick-up after their dogs have dropped a “land mine.”
    I just LOVE taking a walk in the park and stepping in poo!!!!

  • JeriO November 19, 2012 (2:53 pm)

    This is about living in a community where we all have different needs and interests. My taxes help pay for the ballfields, playgrounds, and park upkeep just like everyone else. However, I don’t have kids so is it reasonable for me to say that it’s astonishing that families believe they are entitled to places for their kids to play? No. It’s part of living in a city where we all have to figure out how to share, get along, and behave respectfully. The number of dogs and dog owners in our city is growing so it would be great to figure out how to have a small area in Lincoln Park or some other WS park, designated for dogs…even if it was just a few hours in the morning or evening as they do in other cities. I also agree that folks need to be much more aware of picking up after their dogs. Again, it’s about being respectful.

  • anti-obstruction November 19, 2012 (2:55 pm)

    I am a dog owner, a dog lover, and apparently, a sucker—as much as I’d love to allow my beloved canine companion her unbridled and joyous freedom to run, explore, swim, etc., I heard some time ago about something called a leash LAW and have complied with it ever since.
    I suggest those who feel this LAW doesn’t apply to them smile graciously, and accept with wry, good humor, the citation/fine if they are found in violation of this LAW.

  • Duke November 19, 2012 (3:06 pm)

    I hate being run down or jumped on by other people’s dogs. I’ve had way too many bad experiences from other people’s dogs running off leash and attacking me unprovoked. I’m talking more than a handful. More than 10 times. Ive even had to beat down a dog because it wouldn’t stop biting at me while its owner just stood there like a fool.

    “Oh but he’s a good dog and would never…” is all I ever hear.

    I agree off-leash area would be cool. I love dogs. I just hate irresponsible people. I originally began carrying a legal-carry knife just to protect myself against the innumerable people who take their dogs off the leash in public areas.

    Perhaps Fauntleroy Park could become off-leash or maybe a section of Camp Long? They aren’t as wide open and dogs might be less likely to attack each other because of the isolation in the paths vs wide open fields.

    Lincoln Park has too many great areas to ruin with dog-run paths, dog poop everywhere, or the overflowing garbage bags everywhere as I’ve seen at every off-leash park I’ve been to. Many of my favorite areas of Lincoln Park are wide open fields with no baseball diamonds, but just grass everywhere.

  • Kc November 19, 2012 (4:21 pm)

    I’d love to have a dog as a pet, but we prefer the larger dogs which need exercise. So instead of getting a dog then breaking the law and complaining about the lack of accomodation by the city, we’ll make the responsible decision and not get the dog,

  • J November 19, 2012 (4:42 pm)

    More people like Kc, please!

  • Kim November 19, 2012 (6:36 pm)

    I walk my dog in Lincoln Park every single day and to have comments from folks saying they never see off-leash dogs at LP is remarkable. I would average that for every five dogs on a leash there is one off-leash. Worse in the summer but that accounts for the city-wide draw. I would also average that for every ten off-leash owners, nine are nasty, scary and clearly feel the rules are for others but not for them. This is a great revenue maker for the parks – follow the FCA for more details as they unfold.

  • Neighbor November 19, 2012 (9:56 pm)

    @jeriO -thank you! I pay an incredible amount taxes to this city. I have voted for every school levy, every park levy, etc. and have chosen not to have any children to lighten my impact on this planet. Is it too much to ask that my adopted rescue dog be allowed to enjoy some of what I pay for? I get tired of the haters. I get tired of the self righteous breeders thinking that they have more of a right to the city’s amenities then those of us who are actually making sacrifices by not sucking the world’s resources up into our vaginas.

  • drahcir61 November 19, 2012 (10:15 pm)

    My dog is always leashed & after 3 knee surgeries plus hip dysplasia I get extremely annoyed when other unleashed dogs come running towards us.

    One wrong step or jump could be her last so I don’t need your “friendly” off leash dog wanting to play.

    The last dog that ran at us got kicked in the head, by me (the dog was fine but left quickly). If your dog is off a leash & running towards us, I have no idea if it’s friendly or not, so I’ll presume the worst to protect my dog.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man November 19, 2012 (10:42 pm)

    @Neighbor: Way to tie every personal issue you have into this discussion, but I don’t see a lot of people arguing against an off-leash area (whether rescue or purebred or with or without a vagina). I DO see a lot of people rightfully coming forth to state their objection to OFF-LEASH dogs and their rude, entitled owners. Who, strangely, pay the same tax as those of us who obey the law. Not saying you don’t–just not sure why you took the left turn you did. This thread needs popcorn.

  • Chelsea November 19, 2012 (11:26 pm)

    I’ve followed a lot of the forum discussions about this, and I just have to say to the rabidly anti-dog people that I think you are doing a very poor job with this discussion. Following people,confronting them, photographing them, tape recording them, the constant foaming-at-the-mouth rants… these things seem pretty extreme and crazy to me, and I would wager, most other people. How many dog attacks have there been at Lincoln Park? I’ve not heard of any in recent memory, not counting the geese I suppose. And personally, having been tormented by my uncle’s farm geese as a child who would literally hide in the bushes and jump out at us kids, I don’t view geese as helpless animals.

    I am in complete agreement with JeriO – This is a community filled with different kinds of people who have different needs. Sometimes living in such close proximity to people can be taxing, inconvenient or even down right irritating. A community-minded response would be to try and first understand what was going on from the other person’s perspective and what needs were driving the behavior and then seek a solution that would resolve the issue for both sides. Instead what I have seen from the people who brought this before the Community Association is an active, vehement desire to punish people who have bothered them. I vividly recall one poster, egged on by like minds, stating flat out that she did not want to see any accommodation made for the dog people, and that trying to communicate with them at all was pointless and all that would make a difference was punishment. Lots of it.

    This is a terrible attitude to take. I don’t even walk my dog off leash at Lincoln park and I feel somewhat antagonized, which is pretty telling I think. Westcrest Park IS really far away for most people in West Seattle proper, not to mention that there seems to be a LOT of car-related crime around there to judge from the crime reports here. I would love to see a closer off-leash park and if dog owners want to get together to promote this I’m on board.

    Two more quick points: For people who have safety concerns about off leash dogs, more areas for dogs to socialize might be in your interest too. When we got our dog last year I read a half dozen books and they all stressed the importance of socialization in helping curb aggressive and fearful behavior in dogs.

    And lastly, before we got our dog I knew my three most immediate neighbors and that was it. Post-dog and our daily (leashed) walks I think I must know sixty-plus people in my neighborhood, some of them quite well, including a trio of lovely older ladies that I now check in on occasionally. I honestly think its made me a better community member, so please don’t paint dog owners as ‘rude, entitled owners’. My main point is that if that is the attitude you’re receiving from them, you might want to take a step back and look at the method of communication you’re using.

  • MellyMel November 20, 2012 (12:41 am)

    It does seem that more OLAs wouldbenefit both sides of this argument.

    Would leash enforcement/ticketing be something that could be privatized? If the scale of offense is as bad as people say, it seems like it would be a profitable small business.

  • Little Owl November 20, 2012 (1:38 am)

    @JeriO –thank you, exactly. Having a dog that very occasionally is off-leash at Lincoln Park in the morning, I think it is a great idea for Seattle to have special hours in the parks so we could play with our pups. And never! have I encountered an aggressive off-leash dog there. Now there are owners who don’t pick up after their pets and that is disrespectful to everyone.

  • Dick November 20, 2012 (9:25 am)

    Pjr, you couldn’t be more wrong about the woods at Westcrest park. They are as healthy as ever! Yes, people like me leave the OLA and walk their dogs in the woods. I have been going to that park for 14 years and those trails in the woods have been there the whole time. Westcrest used to have a big problem with drugs and prostitution. I used to regularly fund hypodermic needles in the woods and I’m pretty sure they weren’t left behind by a diabetic. Off leash dogs drove most of those problems away.

    Btw, the “healthy forest” initiative people that were working in those woods this summer trying to “restore” that green belt did more damage in a month than I’ve seen dogs do in nearly 14 years.

  • BWD November 20, 2012 (12:10 pm)

    Off leash dogs are illegal in non-off leash areas. Just because there are worse things happening in society and in the parks doesn’t make it okay to break the law.

    Those of us expressing our chagrin at the blatent entitlement of lawbreakers of any kind are not “whiners” or “breeders” or unaware and uncorned about societal issues. I don’t have kids. And,news flash, your dog is not a child. If your kid broke a law they should be fined/arrested too.

    You are not a special exception.

  • Chelsea November 20, 2012 (2:19 pm)

    So BWD, your concern here is that you’re adamant that everyone everywhere follows every law to the letter without exception? And this is purely a question of citizenship for you and, thus, you’re just as concerned about, say, jaywalking and littering at bus stops as you are off leash dogs?
    Because if not, then your real concern is that other people in the community are doing something that bothers you. And feeling put out at being bothered by other people, you want them to pay a price for having caused you unease so that they’re made unhappy in turn. Call a spade a spade at the very least.
    Lots of things people do bother me. Double and triple strollers on crowded sidewalks. Those plastic faux-car grocery carts that nobody can steer properly and block an entire aisle at the market. Semi trucks from the port merging onto the West Seattle bridge and grinding the flow of traffic to a halt. I could go out and find other people on the internet who are also bothered by these things, band together and go on a crusade to outlaw these things, but instead I recognize that, hey, being a parent with multiple kids trying to get around can be really hard. That those trucks, even the ones who are illegally forcing themselves into the far left lane, are part of our economy. I have yet to see much if any attempt to understand the perspectives of others in the anti-dog side of this discussion, and that lack of empathy makes it hard to empathize with them in turn.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man November 20, 2012 (3:06 pm)

    @Chelsea: Um, what? You state, “I have yet to see much if any attempt to understand the perspectives of others in the anti-dog side of this discussion, and that lack of empathy makes it hard to empathize with them in turn.” If you’re saying that we LAW ABIDING dog walkers are supposed to put ourselves in the minds of the LAW BREAKING, OFF-LEASH scofflaws to better understand their motives and thus decide to (once again) look the other way, you are way off base. You cite examples of jaywalking and littering, and put them in the same camp as breaking off-leash laws. More than likely, there will be a cop around to ENFORCE those illegal activities. The fact that cops are rarely in the park enforcing the NO off-leash law does not make it any less of a violation. In fact, what does bother me is the mere fact I DO have to protect myself and my pets from the law breakers. Maybe you can put yourself in our shoes and explain exactly where your entitlement comes from?

  • BWD November 20, 2012 (3:29 pm)


    You are completely incorrect in your interpretation of my statement. Your list of what you do not like is irrelevant to a discussion of illegal actions. Those things may be annoying but they are not illegal. The point is that laws are not discretionary and are applicable to all. That is a fundamental social contract of our democracy and not an argument for the fascist state you appear to believe I am advocating.

  • Chelsea November 20, 2012 (5:22 pm)

    Chuck and Sally’s Van Man, you seem to be fond of the word ‘entitlement’, as you use it frequently, but to quote ‘The Princess Bride’, I do not think it means what you think it means. At no point have I said that I feel entitled to walk my dog without a leash. In fact, I have expressly stated that I DON’T walk my dog without a leash. What I am saying is that most of the ‘loudest’ people in this discussion are going about it entirely the wrong way. There is very little empathy or understanding, merely anger and a desire to be punitive. And yes, I am saying that it would help to put yourself in the minds of the ‘law breaking off-leash scofflaws’ (your choice of words and all caps is pretty telling about your state of mind, BTW). What is driving the decision to break the law? Is there a solution that would help address whatever was causing people to choose to break the law while resolving the situation for you and others as well? That is constructive, and the very fact that the suggestion that we attempt to pursue a constructions solution instead of simply getting the torches and pitchforks makes it seem like what you and others really want is for THEM to PAY!!!11!1 And to people like me, that attitude is extremely off-putting and makes me not want to side with you on principle. I would much prefer the company of a scoff-laws to that of mean-spirited and self congratulatory narcissists.
    BWD: Am I really incorrect? Because you didn’t answer my question. Do you feel just as strongly about litterers and jay walkers? Because its the principle of the thing, right? Color me skeptical.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man November 20, 2012 (5:55 pm)

    Chelsea, for all your romantic arguments of “why can’t we just all get along?,” the fact remains that there are people who absolutely refuse to follow the leash laws and yes, they are aggravating as all get-out to people like me who do. I walk my dogs at Lincoln park frequently, and the experience is almost always strained by the inconsiderate acts of others. That is a fact. Heck, I once had to jump six feet off the sea wall down to the beach pulling my 80 pound lab with me because he was about to get attacked by an off-leash German Shepherd making a charge at him. If I have a “mean-spirit” on this issue as a result, it is because I am tired of people who feel they are above the law. Punitive? Perhaps. But please remember this as you’re passing judgement on the mindset of myself and others who follow the law: we are not causing the problem, they are. Honestly, I’m not even clear what your argument is given you also follow the leash law. Be nice to law-breakers? Sorry, but my patience has run out on that one. I’ve been looking the other way on this issue for years.

  • Chelsea November 20, 2012 (6:20 pm)

    I suppose I don’t see it as ‘romantic’ at all. My guess would be, at best, you will be able to get an animal control officer over to Lincoln Park for a couple of hours a day for maybe two weeks. The city can’t afford to hire any more of them, and there is no chance that any private citizens will ever be ‘deputized’ to write off leash citations. That is not going to do anything to solve your problem, and I think you know that as well as I do. So while I understand that you’re angry, I’m saying that angry is not really the best mindset to come up with a more lasting solution to this.
    Personally, I do think that we need a couple more off leash areas in West Seattle. They don’t need to be big ones, like Westcrest, but a couple small fenced yards where it was legal to let your dog romp about and have some natural socialization with other dogs. I’d love a bit of legal beach too, as my dog loves water. As part of a leashed walk, it would be great, and I think it would help immeasurably with leash-less people in the park, in that you could say ‘hey the off leash area is up that trail’ instead of ‘Don’t you know that there are LAWS!?’.
    I don’t believe that anyone gets up in the morning and says, ‘gee I can’t wait to break the law today!’. Nor do I think that anyone is out to personally aggravate you. What I do think is that people love their dogs and are recognizing their need to run about and play with other dogs. If they had a legal option, I expect that most all of them would take it, but clearly ‘you could drive to Westcrest’ isn’t cutting it for them and instead they are choosing to break the law instead. If you address the cause of that choice, then perhaps both you and they could happily coexist.
    You say that you’re not causing the problem. Perhaps not, but neither is being angry and focusing on punishment being part of a feasible solution.

  • janis jerochim November 20, 2012 (6:42 pm)

    somewhere in Colorado there is a law where a well behaved dog that passes a test of good citizenship, gets to be off leash,certain times and places. This sounds less harsh and more balanced. Let good dogs and good people enjoy their lives!

  • J November 20, 2012 (10:13 pm)

    One of the things I think is tricky about this discussion is that there are several issues compounded into one. The issue of dogs illegally on the beach is compounded with off-leash dogs, for example. Some legally-leashed dogs use the beach illegally. The reasons for the leash law, and the reasons for the prohibition on dogs at the beach, are related but not identical. Each has specific reasons, which potential solutions have to address. Problems with off-leash dogs include: out-of-control dogs threatening humans, out-of-control dogs threatening other dogs, naturally-behaving dogs threatening wildlife, dog feces threatening wildlife, dog feces threatening humans, and dog feces annoying humans. Reasons to prohibit dogs, leashed or not, on the beach include: dog feces contaminating the water and beach, threatening wildlife and small humans, dog feces annoying humans, and dogs threatening wildlife. I’m sure there are other items to add to the list. I can see how adding an off-leash area to Lincoln Park might possibly address the issue of off-leash dogs threatening humans, but I don’t see how it addresses the other issues.

    The EPA notes “Studies performed on watersheds in the Seattle, Washington, area found that nearly 20 percent of the bacteria found in water samples were matched with dogs as the host animals.” http://www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/pubs/fs_swpp_petwaste.pdf

    I don’t see how setting aside beaches for dogs to swim addresses that issue.

  • WSratsinacage November 21, 2012 (9:37 am)

    One thing is for sure, West Seattle’s population has significantly increased in the last 10 years. Many residents have dogs but city resources have stayed the same or decreased. And now you have this out of control dog problem in parks (plural). When Lincoln Park gets cleaned up, there are a dozen more in WS that need to be fixed. It is reasonable to be frustrated at the current situation. Whether dog owners know the law or not, it is their responsibility. Police and judges don’t often take “well I didn’t know” as an excuse.. That’s another problem with society today. Lots of excuses and entitlement and not enough common sense or common courtesy. Excuses are like one of our orifices, everybody has one and they all stink!

  • Renee November 24, 2012 (9:33 am)

    All summer long the park is taken over by people with their barbecues and birthday parties and snot nosed kids and trash and clogged toilets. Stop complaining about a few dogs off leash. Most of you whiners won’t even be at the park on the rainy winter days that dog owners are. Winter is my favorite time at Lincoln Park, mainly because so few people are there to trash the place.

  • Tracey November 24, 2012 (10:47 am)

    My favorite are the people who let their children under the age of 5 walk around with (leashed and unleashed) humongous dogs on the playground equipment. It gets even better when their kid keeps bringing the dog up to my leashed dog (who is a small dog, wary of big dogs) and their parents don’t do anything about it even when asked not to do that. So, I have seen all kinds of combinations of this unleashed problem at Lincoln Park. But, definitely the worst has been just what I described, unsupervised kids being dragged around by unsupervised dogs on the playground which probably violates about 5 laws all in one.

  • Pat November 24, 2012 (6:10 pm)

    Lincoln Park has so many sensitive plant and wildlife areas. I wonder if a part of Solstice Park (not the woods or the paved area at the top, and above the P-Patch) might be a better area for a fenced off-leash area? The slope above the P-Patch is grass rather than careful or natural plantings, and the combination of flat surface at the top and steep slopes on the sides might be good for giving the dogs some exercise.

  • Jennifer November 24, 2012 (10:18 pm)

    Dogs are better off off-leash. An off-leash dog is a happy dog. Most owners cannot move fast enough to exercise their dog happily.

    If say, 50% of the parks in W. Seattle were off-leash, I’m sure dog owners would respect the leash laws in the other 50%. As it is, though, one off-leash area for a community this size is absurd. Dog owners have the choice to give their pet exercise and joy or to violate the law. It’s no surprise many choose the latter.

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