Dogs in city parks: What the new plan might and might not include

The city’s moving toward a new proposal for dogs in Seattle parks – and this Thursday night, the Seattle Parks Board of Commissioners will hear how Parks leadership is leaning.

That briefing document prepared for the Parks Board hints at what might be in the proposed People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan, due out soon for public comment. It’s been a subject of discussion in several community meetings we’ve covered recently, starting with the Delridge District Council‘s meeting last November.

For one, the document says Superintendent Jesús Aguirre is NOT expected to call for “unfenced, (certain) hours-only” offleash periods in parks. It also says he’ll recommend limiting the number of dogs that can be brought to a park to three per person. And he’ll recommend that development of additional off-leash areas go “through regular new park development and/or existing park redevelopment processes.”

One more note from the briefing paper: “Beginning this month, there will be a two-person team, one Animal Control staff and one Parks and
Recreation staff, patrolling parks with the sole purpose of enforcing leash and scoop laws.”

The draft plan is now expected to be made public next month, with public meetings in April and May, and a final plan in June. Meantime, the board meeting this Thursday starts at 6:30 pm at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.).

55 Replies to "Dogs in city parks: What the new plan might and might not include"

  • quiz February 23, 2016 (3:04 pm)

    Best news I’ve heard all week:  

    “Beginning this month, there will be a two-person team, one Animal Control staff and one Parks and Recreation staff, patrolling parks with the sole purpose of enforcing leash and scoop laws.”

    Just wish it was a team of 10 people.

    • Joe February 23, 2016 (3:10 pm)

      Amen. The one officer is going to be busy but it’s long over due. Wish they could do this in every WS park since they are defacto off leash areas.

  • Ann Yong February 23, 2016 (3:44 pm)

    Would love for them to patrol my block for whoever the deadbeat pet owners are who don’t pick up their pet’s poop. No respect for other people’s property + Not loving your pet enough to pick up it’s poop = Shouldn’t own a pet.

    • helihu February 23, 2016 (4:38 pm)

      That is infuriating. What is even more inexplicable to me is people who go to the trouble of scooping, and then leave the bag on the sidewalk. Why??? Was someone watching? 

      • KM February 23, 2016 (4:49 pm)

        When I find bagged dog poop, I assume they accidentally dropped it. I accidentally dropped one a couple weeks ago and couldn’t find it when I retraced my steps. I was puzzled! I also notice loose trash in the neighborhood after garbage collection days and bad weather. About a year ago, I ran out of bags and had to go home and come back later in the next hour to pick it up. Glad I didn’t end up a target in the Rants section on WSB within that timeframe!

  • Rick Sanchez February 23, 2016 (4:26 pm)

    Look at that OLA map.  West Seattle is the largest blank space in the city.  And people wonder why “informal” off leash areas proliferate.

    Prohibition doesn’t work for drugs, alcohol, or off leash dogs.
  • NATURE February 23, 2016 (5:02 pm)

    Great news! It’s become a little out of control in the parks and on the beaches. Almost a lawless pet culture that has been getting worse recently in my opinion.


    Dogs must be on a leash at all times, period.

    Dogs are not allowed on beaches, period.

    Dog culture 2016 note: Not everybody is a dog lover. Don’t be afraid to pull on that leash and keep your dog at your side. Not everybody wants to pet/touch your dog, so please don’t assume we do. 

    You must pick up after your pet, too. It’s part of being a pet owner. No matter what. You must also dispose of your pet’s waste at your house, not someone’s receptacle along your journey. 

    Lastly, keep your pet out of people’s yards. You walk your dog, not the other way around, so pull that leash. 

    Being a pet owner is a huge responsibility and one must be ready to play by the rules when having a pet, especially in the city.

    • Amy February 23, 2016 (5:57 pm)

      Maybe I’m uncivilized – but what’s the problem with people tossing their bagged waste in someone else’s can?  As long as it’s in the right can and it’s properly bagged I don’t know what the problem is. I’m not trying to be a pill, I truly can’t think of a reason why.  I’d rather have people toss their bags in my trash than see it on the street. 

      • Bob February 23, 2016 (7:06 pm)

        How about this for starters:

        I pay for the use of that receptacle. Not you.
        How about if I come to your house to unload my dirty cat litter?
      • chemist February 23, 2016 (7:50 pm)

        I only put a liner in my trash can when I start to empty my trash into it so I’d rather not find a little packet of poo in the bottom that’s been festering for several days.

        The county even made a little song to help encourage bagging the poo.

      • melissa February 23, 2016 (9:05 pm)

        Hoooo boy, Amy! Watch out, they’re gonna come for you now. People get all lit about about dog poop in their garbage cans. Except for those of us who don’t. Sorry for the onslaught of crazy that will likely erupt in response to your question.

        • Dick February 24, 2016 (8:07 pm)

          Word!  Take cover Amy!!!!

    • Rr February 23, 2016 (6:08 pm)


  • NATURE February 23, 2016 (6:24 pm)

    Your pet, your house/receptacle. It comes with being a pet owner. It’s just that simple. Thank you for being a good neighbor…

    • StayOffMyLawn!!! February 23, 2016 (7:21 pm)

      Your tone doesn’t really sound like someone that is trying to be a good neighbor.  Do you find that people respond well to you when you approach them with absolutes and preach to them on how they should act?

  • Junctionite February 23, 2016 (6:26 pm)

    Amy, people very frequently leave their bagged poop in my trash can, and no I don’t appreciate it. Sometimes these loose bags make it into the garbage truck, sometimes they remain at the bottom of my can until I am forced to finally put them in the larger bags. BTW, I have a dog, I love dogs, but I either leave my dogs poop in a public can or bring it home with me. Others should do the same!

    • Tina February 23, 2016 (6:39 pm)

      This is the same problem we have.  We have the smallest trash bin size, and when the garbage folks come to pick up, they grab the large bags sitting on top and don’t dump the bin into the truck.  Thus, any small poop bags sitting on the bottom/side of our bin don’t make it into the truck.  I also love dogs and have two, and throw away our bags in our trash only.

  • Eric1 February 23, 2016 (6:41 pm)

    I find it odd that dog owners feel the need to break the law (or change it) to suit their needs.  I love dogs but I live in the city so some of my favorites are out: Labs and pointers.  I have kids so no Akitas or Shepherd for me.   Which leaves me with companion dogs that don’t actually do anything. Thus I own cats; they can’t guard or hunt either but at least they poop in a box (I have inside cats so they don’t poop in your yard either).  A responsible dog owner would figure out what the needs of the dog are before they got it and not suddenly realize that the dog park is on the other side of the city and the space needed to entertain the dog really depends on what kind of dog you have.  Like marriage it is for better or worse and you gotta live with the deal you made.  Keep the dog on a leash if you have to walk it and pick up the poop.  Free tip #1.  Don’t let your kids choose the dog.

  • dlw February 23, 2016 (6:54 pm)

    Glad to see more enforcement, since people unfortunately don’t follow the rules. A friend from out-of-town and I went for a run on the Alki pathway a few weekends ago, and he commented that it was hard to look up to enjoy the views because of all the poop on the pathway that we were having to watch for and dodge.  It was embarrassing. And we’re both dog lovers.

  • NW February 23, 2016 (7:20 pm)

    Heard it just a yr back from a west seattlite attended WSHS in the 40s said it plain and simple about this area and the city and I quote “place is going to the dogs” 

  • heather February 23, 2016 (7:51 pm)

    Amy, it’s the same for me – smallest trash bin and because the bags of poo don’t get dumped I have to pick them up and add them to my large garbage bag. Then there are the bags that aren’t tied… yuck.

  • chemist February 23, 2016 (8:04 pm)

    Enforcement or warnings ?  The Seattle Times had a 2009 article “Dog owner says rules about droppings stink” that says in 2007 only 65 citations related to dog poo were issued out of 2,574 animal control citations total in that year (most of those citations were for unlicensed animals).

  • Mhp February 23, 2016 (8:59 pm)

    Why the issue with off leashed dog? Are they really offending you, hurting you perhaps? I bet not. As long as owners pick up the waste,  I fail to see any issue.

    • AMD February 23, 2016 (9:14 pm)

      In some areas, they’re trampling plants or scaring animals that would really prefer to be left alone.  In others they sometimes scare kids or just irritate people of any age who don’t love to be jumped on or licked.  Sometimes this is the result of owners who don’t know, don’t care, or don’t pay attention.  Not all dogs will do all (or any) of these things, but the ones that have and will again have clearly ruined it for all of the others.  Asking people to mind their pets has not worked out, so the push is now to limit off-leash to places where it doesn’t matter if the owners are paying attention or not.

    • My 86 year old Mother February 23, 2016 (10:09 pm)

      Off leash dogs are not just about dog poop!

      My 86 year old mother was just recently out taking a walk minding her own business, when a dog that was not being controlled by its owner, jumped on her, knocked her over onto the concrete and broke her arm in two places and broke open the skin on her elbow which required stitches! She has been in excruciating pain and was unable to dress herself.  It does not take a big dog to knock over an elderly person or a child and the result could be serious harm or even a fatal injury.

      Pull your self involved head out!

      It  is completely irresponsible to allow your dog off leash and running loose anywhere in public spaces! 

    • datamuse February 25, 2016 (1:02 pm)

      I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been chased, and twice I was attacked.

  • Jeanie February 23, 2016 (9:33 pm)

    Totally agree with what AMD said. This has been an ongoing issue. I, too, adore dogs, but I have little regard for owners with a warped sense of entitlement. And if you see an off-leash dog in Lincoln Park, call Animal Control! Even if you just leave a message on their voicemail, you are making an impact. The more complaints, the more action will be taken.  Animal Control will not seize off-leash dogs – and we sure wouldn’t want them to! – but there will be fines. 

  • Jeanie February 23, 2016 (9:36 pm)

    As for bagged poop, rather than dumping it in someone’s private garbage can, why not tie the poop bag to your doggie’s collar or leash and then discard it when you get home? 

  • KH February 23, 2016 (11:57 pm)

    Perhaps in addition to working on off-leash areas, COLA should work on funding/distributing stickers people can put on their trash cans..if you have one, you(like me), could care less if people put their bagged dog poop in your trash can. I’d much rather that than you leave it on my lawn.    Just a thought.

  • TheKing February 24, 2016 (1:45 am)

    Whip, hook, round, threadworms and other creepy bacteria can toil in the grass and become a major problem if left unattended becoming a minefield yard for children and adults. It is not beneficial to the soil. Don’t put your dog poop in trash cans, there is a reason YOU don’t want to pack that around. It’s nasty. Makes me want to build a rock wall around my house with a moat. 

  • NATURE February 24, 2016 (6:24 am)

    I think it’s pretty clear from these comments that people, including myself, are tired of the shenanigans. Trust me, I don’t want to have to speak with anybody about what they should and shouldn’t be doing with regards to being a responsible dog owner, however so many of these folks appear to need be educated. It’s a lazy society issue and when a few lazy/rude dog owners make trouble, this is the result. I don’t blame you for not wa ting to pick up feces, carry it around with you, etc. who would?? That’s one reason of many why we don’t own a dog. Not everybody wants slobber/hair/etc on them, their clothes, furniture, vehicles, etc. Those that are saying that you don’t understand and what’s the big deal?? You are the biggest part of the problem. Sadly, the attitude from folks that don’t obey the rules create a bad name for those that do. I like the comments above about putting cat litter on another persons trash can. It’s true, I don’t leave my sons dirty diapers in people’s trash can, I take them home to my trash can. My baby=my diaper=my receptacle/responsibilitiy. In regard to picking up after your dog…what if I stopped and did a #2 on your front lawn, but told you not to fret, I’ll pick it up. Weird to think about it that way, huh? I don’t go on other people’s property, perioiod, let alone to defecate. Lazy dog owners are the pits and I’m sure their homes and vehicles smell terrific, haha. Anyways, keep it simple, keep it clean and keep it leased up and close to you. If you can’t follow these simple guidelines you might reconsider owning a dog in the city. Again, it’s purely common sense, so everybody join in and do it right!

  • Bisker16 February 24, 2016 (6:26 am)

    Did somebody just ask ‘what’s the problem with leaving dog poop in someone else’s trash can’ really? Did someone just ask ‘what’s the problem with off leashed dogs, I bet they haven’t bothered you’..?! I don’t have dogs, yet I see their bagged poop in my trash can after the garbage man has emptied it..note the word ‘after’. I have dogs ruining my garden and more than enough times I’ve been exercising around Lincoln park or the neighborhoods only to have dogs jump on me without a leash and the owner staring at me like ‘isn’t my dog so cute’..please put security in the grocery stores so I don’t have to use carts where people put their dogs!

  • NATURE February 24, 2016 (6:45 am)

    Good point, Bisker. Why do people have to bring their dogs everywhere??? The post office, grocery store, Home Depot, and just about every other place. Why has this become acceptable?? I won’t even frequent a food/beveridge establishment that allows dogs inside anymore (so gross) because for whatever reason it is becoming more and more acceptable. I have a dog friendly friend that explained to me how easy it is for a dog to be categorized as a “service dog”, so that isn’t helping either.

  • February 24, 2016 (6:53 am)

    Clearly the city doesn’t see this as a pressing issue, since their response to patrol over 450 parks within the city, is to send out ONE two person team. This is just their response in hopes to push this issue further under the table. Why not deputize Parks Dept. employees, who are out all the parks every day, so that they can issue violations that occur within the parks? Or at the very least get them to communicate with Animal Control/SPD when they do see a violation? The city has a HUGE resource in the people they ALREADY employ to keep their parks clean, how about using those same people to also help keep those same parks safe for all?

  • GoGo February 24, 2016 (7:35 am)

    What I want to know is why is it ok for (almost) everyone’s cat to use my yard as their bathroom?  Is cat excrement somehow less offensive than dogs?  I don’t want my dogs eating your cats crap nor do I want to find it when gardening.  Also loved it the other day when my husband washed my car and 20 minutes later there were muddy cat prints all over it.

    Why shouldn’t cat owners have to follow the same rules?  Keep your cat in the house or leash it!

    • sam-c February 24, 2016 (8:23 am)

      I’ve always wondered that too.  I’m always seeing various cats roam through my yard, I don’t know if they are lost or ‘outside cats.’  They get the dog all worked up as the cats walk past the back door, and the cats leave their litter in the kid’s sandbox. …. thanks, cats and cat owners.

      why do cats get a pass?

      • chemist February 24, 2016 (12:41 pm)

        I think cats are exempted from seattle roaming laws by seattle code here…. but leaving feces behind or destroying property are not permitted.   I guess you can demand the owner of the cat remove the feces.

        It is unlawful for the owner to:

        Permit any animal, except cats and pigeons, to be at large or trespass upon the property
        of another.

    • datamuse February 25, 2016 (1:06 pm)

      I would guess that, since a cat’s response to seeing a strange person is to avoid rather than approach, fewer people have had directly negative experiences with cats. (Having said that, my cat was indoor only, and so wasn’t going to be pooping in anyone’s yard.)

  • WSince86 February 24, 2016 (7:40 am)

    So sorry about your 86 year old mom!  Really hope the responsible owner did the right thing and covered the medical bills.  A friend of mine who is barely 5′ had a big dog jump up on her a few years ago, it’s paws were literally on her shoulders, knocked her over, ended up throwing her back out severely.  She was off work for a week.  The dog owner just laughed and walked away.  

    TheKing is right, all sorts of nastiness is created when people don’t pick up their doggie doo.  Your dog, child or you may step in it and drag it into your home.  Your dog may lick their paw and then they have worms!   Just pick it up and dispose of it in your own can, it’s not rocket science.  

    Couldnt agree more, Nature and Bisker16.  Dogs don’t belong in stores,  restaurants , etc.  I love my dog, however, I would never entertain the idea of taking him into the grocery store.  Service dogs, by all means.  Pseudo-service dogs? Enough already.

  • Cynical girl February 24, 2016 (8:21 am)

    I’ve seen dog owners let their dogs play in Forest Lawn cemetery. I guess the pet owners figure it’s no big deal since everyone is dead and won’t complain.  

  • Defensive Porty February 24, 2016 (8:45 am)

    For all of the discussion about individuals’ trash cans, it should be noted that it is illegal established by law to access someone else’s trash can, put in or take anything out.

    Also not discussed is the dynamic of a off-leash dog approaching a leashed dog.  The leashed dog, being restrained and with its master can react defensively.   This recently happened in Lincoln Park when our dog bit clear through the nuzzle of a small unleashed  dog that approached her while we were walking.   When people approach, you can warn them  if your dog is not friendly to strangers.  Not with off leash dogs.  We felt terrible for the bleeding dog, but not so for its irresponsible owner that put her dog and us in such a sorry predicament.

  • Candor February 24, 2016 (9:28 am)

    Real big problems going on here… seriously, someone lets their dog run around in an open cemetery? and someone put a dog poop bag in your trash, ahhh!!

     Yes, that was all sarcasm. Get real people.  


  • February 24, 2016 (10:02 am)

    Candor, it’s people like you that are the reason this is such an issue. If you don’t care about off-leash dogs running everywhere, fine, but there’s no need to be disrespectful towards other people’s loved ones who might be buried in that cemetary. Grow up.

  • LC February 24, 2016 (10:24 am)

     Maybe science can engineer a genetically modified pet that doesn’t poop.  Seems like the only way this hot button topic will be put to rest. This topic is more galvanizing than abortion! 

  • miws February 24, 2016 (10:40 am)

    <blockquote>Maybe science can engineer a genetically modified pet that doesn’t poop. </blockquote> 

    • LC February 24, 2016 (10:43 am)

      Ever try putting a leash on a rock?

  • Les albireisenoble February 24, 2016 (10:44 am)

    On the brightside, if this is our biggest issue (which it clearly dominates these forums) life is pretty good.

    pick up your dogs poop

    leash your dog if you are treading on someone else 


  • AB February 24, 2016 (1:20 pm)

    I completely understand not wanting dogs running off leash everywhere. I have a hyperactive dog who I take many places but ALWAYS keep on a leash. If I didn’t he would probably be hit by a car or jumping on an elderly person. I find it funny though how many people are so bothered by people not picking up their dog’s poop. I do see it happen occasionally but not all the time. What’s more annoying is the fact that I can barely let my dog out in the backyard because the neighbors cats go to the bathroom back there SO often and he will eat it because it’s EVERYWHERE. Should we create a law to keep cats on leashes or indoors? They are a far greater inconvenience to me than the dogs I see. And no I don’t know who the cats in my neighborhood belong to because there are so many of them, therefore I can’t tell our neighbors.

  • rr February 24, 2016 (2:45 pm)

    Enforcement can’t happen soon enough. At lincoln park counting 4 dogs on the beach right now!

  • TH February 24, 2016 (3:03 pm)

    And nobody is talking about dog owners who bring their dogs to athletic fields during soccer matches, baseball games, etc despite posted signs and countless sports league emails letting everyone know that it is against the law. All the enforcement team has to do is show up at a youth soccer match and they’ll see dogs everywhere. I’m a dog owner btw, so don’t understand how people think that the rules don’t apply to them…

  • February 24, 2016 (3:23 pm)

    RR, did you call Animal Control? 

  • Kelly Nolan February 24, 2016 (5:58 pm)

    As a dog owner, I do not care if others use my garbage can for dog waste when my can is left out before or after pickup.  

    I do find it annoying when the neighborhood cats use my yard as their litter box!  Where are all of these owners?

  • StayOffMyLawn!!! February 24, 2016 (6:58 pm)

    The West Seattle Blog:  #1 place in Seattle to vent frustration about everything that annoys you about dogs and their owners!

  • David Hutchinson February 24, 2016 (10:11 pm)

    Looks to be pretty much a city wide concern. Check the webpage referenced in the story above. Under “PART 2: COMPLAINT AND VIOLATION RESEARCH”, there is a map showing the distribution of complaints along with some additional stats.

    Link is:

  • Jeanie February 25, 2016 (3:42 pm)

    I hope that everyone expressing their concerns here about dogs in parks will also express them to the decision-makers! Speak up and speak out!

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