More official off-leash space for West Seattle dogs? Survey time

This is already under discussion in the WSB Forums, but in case you haven’t heard about it yet: The city is running a survey for dog owners that could lead to more official off-leash space.

West Seattle, for example, has one off-leash area, at Westcrest Park in Highland Park, and there’s a growing clamor citywide for more such areas within walking distance of more neighbors. Take the survey here and have an early say as the city works “to develop a Strategic Plan which will help set a policy for future dog parks as our city grows – and the number of dog owners grows with it,” according to the group Citizens for Off-Leash Areas, which says, “Seattle has opened a mere 2.3 acres of off-leash areas in the last 14 years, while the number of dog parks in America’s largest cities went up 20 percent in the last five years, according to an April report from the Trust for Public Land.” Find out more about the off-leash-area Strategic Plan via the city website.

35 Replies to "More official off-leash space for West Seattle dogs? Survey time"

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man July 27, 2015 (10:47 pm)

    To all my friends tired of the Lincoln Park off-leash scofflaws: please take the survey as there are many chances to voice your concerns on the current abuse of your favorite non off-leash park. You’ll feel better. I do.

  • lojo July 27, 2015 (11:02 pm)

    Dog park at Lincoln Park !!! Duh !!
    They actually allready have one it’s called the entire park and frequently dogs are off leash or in the middle near playfields, where it should be fenced in, raised up with water and trash access.
    Let’s get it done.

  • brontosaurus July 28, 2015 (12:27 am)

    West Seattle dogs need beach and water access! Give them a designated area of Lincoln Park. Edmonds OLAE is an excellent model for this.

  • brian July 28, 2015 (7:24 am)

    It seems Ws dog owners do as they wish, using Gatewood Elementary as an off leash area even though it’s posted as No Dogs Allowed. They use solstice park, Lincoln park, and even the tennis courts. I wish someone would enforce the current leash laws on the books.

  • Matt S. July 28, 2015 (8:33 am)

    @brian: I love crankily championing enforcement of things, but off-leash parks would actually help here, no? I don’t have a dog, but if I did I’d be looking for places to hang out and throw/catch/chase/whatever. If I couldn’t figure out where other dogs roam, I’d probably pick any big patch of grass I could find rather than telling Tater (my future dog) that we just can’t play. I’d support off-leash parks and hope that dog folks can be cool with some good play options and less emphasis on enforcement.

  • Born on Alki 59 July 28, 2015 (8:35 am)

    Yes, I second what Brontosauros said. Dogs need legal saltwater access somewhere in WS.

  • GoGo July 28, 2015 (8:59 am)

    Brian, please do not say “WS dog owners”. Most of us are responsible and abide by the laws. It really annoys me that some idiots make the rest of us look bad.

  • Ttt July 28, 2015 (9:09 am)

    I am a dog owner and DO NOT think lincoln park should have anything off leash. Schools should be off limits to off-leash dogs as well. We need other off leash dog parks. Dogs are not children, I love mine very much, but it is okay to put limits on where they can go off leash. I filled out the survey.

  • West Seattle Transplant July 28, 2015 (9:23 am)

    I visited Westcrest Park this past Saturday for the Grand Opening celebration. We parked on the South end parking lot and walked past the Pea Patch and Off-Leash area to get to the party. I was appalled at the amount of dog dropping land mines all along the path (outside of the off-leash area). I had to watch my 3-year-old’s every step to keep her clean. If the owners of dogs who used the current off-leash area don’t respect it enough to pick up their dog’s mess in the surrounding area, why would we be encouraged to provide more open spaces for them??? If this was just one pile, I wouldn’t have hardly noticed… it was everywhere! DOG OWNERS – TAKE CARE OF YOUR DOGS AND THEIR MESS. EARN THE PRIVILEGE OF MORE SPACE.

  • Cecelia July 28, 2015 (10:36 am)

    Schools are off limits to dogs, even closed ones however most people ignore it. If they gave a leash enforcement officer one of those little vehicles like they gave parking enforcement and had them go back and forth to the worse offending parks they could pretty much cover the cost of enforcement with the fines.

    I think another off-leash dog park is great. I don’t know if it will actually help the illegal off leash problem or not. The question is just where are they going to put it.

    As to saltwate access. Sorry dogs do not NEED saltwater access. It may be nice for you and your dog but they do not NEED it. Ocean dwelling animals need saltwater.

  • YetAnotherThread July 28, 2015 (1:06 pm)

    Wow, I’m really starting to think the off-leash dog problem is just confined to the loud people that frequent the WSB comment sections. Do you really think they wouldn’t enforce the laws if a majority of people demanded it and held politicians accountable for it? You can yell at your computer screen all you want, but the fact that it isn’t enforced should be a clue that you are probably in the minority on the topic. I loved the “DOG OWNERS – TAKE CARE OF YOUR DOGS AND THEIR MESS. EARN THE PRIVILEGE OF MORE SPACE.” comment. Do you seriously think that dog owners aren’t tax payers as well? Maybe they should demand that you earn the privilege of using their park as well, since you aren’t the only one flipping the bill for shared public resources.

  • Matt S. July 28, 2015 (1:28 pm)

    @YetAnotherThread: I object to being lumped in with caps-lock nutjobs. Focus your own trolling or by all means call out any of my stupid.
    A lack of enforcement doesn’t mean most people don’t care, it means they’re not cracking down on turd depositors. It could be that people don’t care, that there are more urgent issues, or that there’s no way to justify the cost to enforce more actively. I don’t have a dog in this fight, I’m just put off by the idea of people (and/or their domesticated animals) leaving literal sh-t for others to deal with. My guess is that more off-leash parks would actually *help* the situation by encouraging good outdoor-dog time and discouraging rogue dogging and pooping.
    And I think you mean “footing” the bill, unless “flipping the bill” is a thing and it doesn’t mean passing it on to others.

  • Lindsey July 28, 2015 (1:48 pm)

    I don’t have a dog yet, but we have put a deposit down on one, so this discussion will affect our family in the future. I took the survey the best I could imagine how I would operate with having a dog and I was honest. I’m hoping for more off leash parks in WS so that our family would not be tempted to let our pet off leash at the nearby parks and school. Luckily we do have a decent size yard for playing, but a big open space would be great. Does anyone know the story on the open lot on 48th & Charlestown? I often see dogs off leash there playing fetch and there appears to be a P-Patch, but I don’t think it is city owned.

  • Lynn July 28, 2015 (2:50 pm)

    The property at 48th and Charleston does belong to the city.

  • Matt S. July 28, 2015 (3:07 pm)

    Wow. From Google Street View it looks like it belongs to nature itself.

  • Happy Tuesday July 28, 2015 (3:43 pm)

    This plot of land is like other nearby open spaces (Schmitz Park school and Park, Hiawatha Park, WS high school, Alki Elementary/Whale Tail) it , Charlestown/48th, is used illegally as an off leash park. I can tell you for sure that it is on Animal Control’s radar so use at your own risk.

    The city has been slow to accomodate dogs which were at one time a suburb pet. Now there are more dogs than kids in the city limits. I think it’s crazy but it’s a free country and legal. Good luck with a new park. We seriously need it! May wAnt to look at increasing your insurance coverage. Lots of stories about dog bites these past few years.

  • Oakley34 July 28, 2015 (4:06 pm)

    WS Transplant: the inside of OLAs are generally more turd free than your average neighborhood sidewalk. The area you describe (not exactly sure where you entered) is frequented by dog owners who run their dogs off-leash. I see them almost every time I drive to the OLA parking lot. Not too far of a leap to say the types of folks who run their dogs off leash just a few hundred yards from a huge off leash park might also be the type to not pick up poop. The majority of OLA users are super friendly and respectful. I do agree that WAY too many owners are disrespectful all over this city in not picking up their dog’s waste. It’s a sore point for me…as you can see by the character count in this reply.

  • anonyme July 28, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    There are many, many laws that are not enforced in Seattle. Off-leash violations are just one of them.

    As to the comments that “dogs need legal saltwater access”…that’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. What about dogs in Kansas?

    More dog parks are a good idea. They will not solve issues of entitlement; scofflaws will still let their dogs run off leash. I also don’t think that natural habitat, such as that in Lincoln Park, should be sacrificed for this purpose.

    How about some of that property that the City is debating what to do with? There could be a number of small, neighborhood pocket dog parks that might be an asset and gathering place for neighborhoods.

  • WSince86 July 28, 2015 (4:22 pm)

    The 48th and Charleston property is an unofficial off leash area and even though we live at the end of the block we don’t use it for our dog in that manner. Lots of others do. Lots of people clean up after their dogs there, however, just as in all the other places mentioned above there are those that don’t! They leave their dogs poop, bags of poop, heck even coffee cups full of poop there for others to clean up. Or they take it with them and deposit it in the trash cans along the alley! I hope this doesn’t become an official dog park unless that means garbage cans and bags to go along with them.
    It is Parks Dept. property that neighbors had to beg to get mowed before the 4th.

  • Matt S. July 28, 2015 (4:39 pm)

    I’m disturbed by the thought of a coffee cup filled with poop, which takes one of my favorite things and turns it into a horrific disappointment.

  • Lindsey July 28, 2015 (4:51 pm)

    Thanks all! I didn’t realize the city had purchased the lot on 48th & Charlestown. I was curious since it seemed like a good place to potentially take a pet, but it seemed more neighborhood operated than Parks & Rec operated. I would think that there should be trash facilities at ALL Park & Rec owned places, but don’t think there are any at that location. @WSince86, I’m sorry that people use your personal trash receptacles for poo, that would irritate me as well. I’m a firm believer in “pack in/pack out” if there are not proper disposal spaces, and yes, that means if the trash facilities are too full, you take it with you and throw it away at home.

  • WSince86 July 28, 2015 (5:14 pm)

    Sorry Matt!! Pretty darn disgusting isn’t it?

  • D Baas July 28, 2015 (7:13 pm)

    My understanding is that less than half of all dogs in the city are licensed. (I heard this 2nd-hand, so it would be worth verifying.)

    Still, if the % licensed is that low, I wonder if Parks should make it a requirement that all dogs using an OLA be licensed? The revenue could help pay for more animal control officers, for instance…

    Just a thought.

  • Oakley34 July 28, 2015 (7:59 pm)

    D Baas- Licensing is already a requirement of use, but this is the sort of thing I imagine is only checked if there is a serious incident involving the dog at a park. I hadn’t heard the 50% figure, but owners who aren’t licensing are shortchanging themselves when it comes time to account for services for dog owners.

  • a dog owner July 28, 2015 (8:03 pm)

    Enforcement of licenses does take place from time to time at Westcrest dog park. Tickets are written for dog owners who don’t have a license for their dog.

  • Born on Alki 59 July 29, 2015 (7:56 am)

    Let me clarify “dogs need to have legal saltwater access”…dogs like to swim. It’s great exercise and low impact for older pups. It’s also great for flea control. Nearly half of Alki beach is set aside for volleyball. Why not a 100′ stretch of beach somewhere for dogs too? Unless you know of a lake in WS, saltwater is really their only swimming option. There are plenty of lakes and stockponds in Kansas. Sorry if you find my opinion ridiculous Anonyme. Frankly I’m sick and tired of our Parks tax dollars catering to a select few vollyballers who hog a good portion of Alki beach and even get special parking privileges to boot. Why not a saltwater dog park maybe by the bar-s outflow. Just my .02.

  • YetAnotherThread July 29, 2015 (4:42 pm)

    Matt S.: You know what I meant, but thanks for the correction anyways.

  • Matt S. July 29, 2015 (5:20 pm)

    @WSince86: I’ll be okay, I’m sorry this is part of your reality.
    @YetAnotherThread: I did look up “flipping the bill,” if that counts for anything. Despite speaking only English, I still manage to miss a lot.

  • Evergreen July 29, 2015 (6:10 pm)

    For anyone grumpy about those who don’t follow leash laws: It would do you a world of good to own a big slobbery dog, for you need that kind of wiggly zany devoted love in the worst way. Just like kids, dogs want to run and play with others in a variety of natural settings. My dog died of cancer about 5 years ago, but I definitely don’t regret all of those times we “broke the rules” and let her do the joyful scuttlebutt on lush urban trails. Life is for living, and dogs teach us how to do it fully.

  • Born on Alki 59 July 29, 2015 (9:11 pm)

    Evergreen, I couldn’t have said it better. That’s why were moving to our slice of heaven on the Canal. Amazing how well good dogs behave in their own domain without borders or restrictions. Let em live a little and they will be mans (or women’s) best friend.

  • Rachel July 30, 2015 (1:54 pm)

    I get so frustrated when I see people walking their dogs off-leash. When I am out walking my dog (leashed, by the way), how am I supposed to know that your dog isn’t going to attack mine? Letting your dogs off-leash in a non-designated off-leash area (be it the park or the sidewalk) is irresponsible and inconsiderate to those around you.

  • Azimuth July 31, 2015 (9:40 pm)

    People complain and complain about off-leash dogs. We have one lousy park on the far south end of West Seattle. There’s clearly a solution and that’s adding several more walkable small parks with maybe 1 or 2 more large parks. As we density, more dogs will come with all the people, so we better get ourselves in gear. I’d like to see water access in at least 1 park in West Seattle. Not sure where but most dogs love to swim. Right now I go to Luther Burbank which is fine but not ideal.

  • Angela August 9, 2015 (2:25 pm)

    I would love to have a dog park With local water access! It’s my belief that small pocket parks would only be useful for small dogs and wouldn’t be utilized by our family (who are responsible and ready with clean up bags). I have an old large dog that loves water and the only place we can take her is Warren G. Magnusen Park which is a pain to get to with our Seattle traffic conditions. I am sorry for those of you who have been burned by irresponsible pet owners, it frustrates me too. However, water access would be awesome for my old, arthritic dog.

Sorry, comment time is over.