Seattle Animal Shelter’s reminder: No dogs on public beaches

The Seattle Animal Shelter has just reissued its seasonal warning – dogs aren’t allowed on public beaches.

It’s spring in Seattle, which means blossoming and hatching all around us. This is a particularly important time to ensure that immature wildlife have their best opportunity to flourish in the Northwest. To help protect the young wildlife, the Seattle Animal Shelter will be conducting emphasis patrols on all saltwater beaches in the city.

Dogs are not allowed on any of Seattle’s public saltwater beaches, even if they are leashed. This law helps us protect the fragile ecosystem along our shorelines. Marine mammals, such as seal pups that are typically born in April, use the city’s beaches to rest and warm themselves. Shore birds also frequent our beaches. Wildlife that interact with dogs are less likely to reach adulthood.

Uniformed animal service officers will be patrolling city parks with a focus on saltwater beaches and may issue citations to violators.

If you would like to report Seattle beaches where dogs are frequently seen, submit a service request at You can also contact the Seattle Animal Shelter by calling 206-386-PETS (7387).

That’s the same alert SAS sent last spring – though so far this year, we haven’t seen the civilian-installed sign that went up about that same time.

53 Replies to "Seattle Animal Shelter's reminder: No dogs on public beaches"

  • pupsarebest March 21, 2018 (6:47 pm)

    Throw the book at the arrogant, entitled, “special” dogowners  who know full-well they are in violation of the laws in question here.

    (For the record, I am a dog owner—and, from what I see whenever walking beachside, apparently a sucker, too.)

  • West Seattle Hipster March 21, 2018 (7:33 pm)

    Haha! Dogs can’t be on public beaches but squatters can camp wherever they want.  

    Our city is backwards.

    • Shapoopy March 21, 2018 (8:39 pm)

      Fine the  dog owners that run their dogs outside of the dog parks and use the money to house the homeless.  Two problems solved. 

      I’m sorry but ticketing irresponsible dog owners on the beach doesn’t go far enough.    


  • Morgan March 21, 2018 (7:46 pm)

    See it violated constantly at Lincoln Park and Lowman Beach.

  • Jarfrey March 21, 2018 (9:14 pm)

    I’m convinced that all dog owners have a reading disability that causes them to see the word “other” in front of the words “dogs” on warning signs.

    Because “they couldn’t possibly be talking about my dog.”

    • KM March 21, 2018 (10:32 pm)

      We don’t. Problem is, most people only notice the irresponsible owners. 

    • Wb March 22, 2018 (11:33 pm)

      Some parents have the same issue. 

  • Steve Duda March 21, 2018 (9:35 pm)

    ahhh…. nostalgia. 


  • gxnx March 21, 2018 (9:44 pm)

    All we have to do is take a couple of pictures or videos of the dog and owner and send to the authorities and then we get a reward.

    Turn in the doggie law breaker.

    Plain and simple

    • Jethro Marx March 22, 2018 (11:19 am)

      In Soviet Russia, you don’t turn in people, peoples turn in YOU!

      • BJ March 22, 2018 (11:51 am)

        First is it LEGAL to post pictures of people you don’t know. I hope you get caught and SUED.

        • WSB March 22, 2018 (12:06 pm)

          If someone or something is visible in or from a public space, yes, it’s legal to photograph them/it, regardless of whether you know them or not. No permission is needed to post such photo(s), either. Any potential issues could ensue from captioning or other context in how/where the photo is published and what is said about it, about the person(s) in it, etc., if it’s something defamatory and provably false – some helpful info here:

  • Joel March 21, 2018 (10:16 pm)

    trash all over they city – old appliances, garbage, parts to stolen bikes…etc.   RVs and cars with expired tabs,  no insurance etc and they are all good. – people living in the woods and the city cares about a dog on the beach?  nice priorities!

    • Howard March 21, 2018 (10:30 pm)

      this an announcement from the animal shelter which is not responsible for the other issues you mentioned

  • CAM March 21, 2018 (10:25 pm)

    I was hoping the link would take me back to the article from last year but unfortunately it just links to the city page to report violators. 

  • Howard March 21, 2018 (10:44 pm)

    I grew up on a public beach, 30 years ago, dogs ran free all the time, it was pretty cool. But there consequences for not having control of them, I remember a dog that wouldn’t stop barking at a swimming deer that wanted to come ashore, the deer drowned. Recently I was at Seahurst, there was a dog off leash, running up and down the beach, owners were sitting on a log, staring at their iphones and a small seal was cruising the waters edge looking landward. The seal could have been fishing, could have been looking to come ashore, I don’t know, I don’t speak seal but I do speak human. So being a good Cascadian I ever so politely informed them of the situation that they were unaware of due to their eyeballs being locked of their screens and they chose not to understand or care, take your pick. Obey the LAW or ELSE……nothing will happen. And we all went back to our lives, the end.   

  • KBear March 21, 2018 (10:51 pm)

    Um, just because other problems exist in our city doesn’t mean we should ignore the issue of thoughtless dog owners ruining our beaches, nor does it mean we can’t care about other things. “Whataboutism” is a favorite tool of extremists on both ends of the political spectrum. 

  • thedawgfather March 21, 2018 (11:02 pm)

    Dogs didn’t cause the problems we have with wildlife on beaches in the PNW.  Humans did it.  Humans destroyed and continue to destroy fish habitat, ecosystems, and makes changes that are killing off orcas and pretty much most of the other wildlife.    

    I agree that seals and other animals should be kept from harassment by dogs, and that dog owners should pick up the dog poop….everywhere their dog poops.

    But there should be more places in West Seattle where you can take your dog to play in the water!  There are zero, unless someone knows something I don’t.  

    Again, the problems are not dog caused.  Why don’t we start getting rid of the humans instead?

    • Katie March 21, 2018 (11:44 pm)

      Dogs are domesticated animals brought here by humans. They are a human issue. I say this as a dog lover.

  • alki_2008 March 21, 2018 (11:24 pm)

    Since it’s “public” beaches that are noted, then does that mean owners of private waterfront are allowed to let their dogs on their own private land?  I’m not saying it’s a good idea because of wildlife, but wondering if that means they are not subject to the city’s regulations as long as their dogs are on “private” land?  Anyone know a definite answer to this?

    • heyalki March 22, 2018 (6:35 am)

      people need to stop being concerned with what people do on their own property so hopefully it doesn’t apply to them

      • lamotn March 22, 2018 (2:44 pm)

        But if everyone puts up shoreline armoring on their private property, lets their dog defecate in the water and lets their septic tanks overflow then that’s how you kill puget sound.  Classic tragedy of the commons, because individually puget sound is vastly bigger than any one landowner, but the collective actions of millions of landowners has a very large impact.

  • JanS March 21, 2018 (11:45 pm)

    Thedawgfather. Dogs loose on beaches is a health hazard, plain and simple. This is the time of year that people start bringing their children to play on the beach. Would you want your children playing in a place filled with dog crap or where they pee ?I didn’t think so. If you want places that allow your dog to play unleashed, then start working towards that, instead of simply thinking you are special, and ignoring the signs. Easy.

  • Seattlite March 22, 2018 (3:23 am)

    I will chime in to say that dog owners let their dogs off leash in Lincoln Park and Lowman Park as well….Both parks are on-leash parks.  These off leash dogs pose problems for little kids, adults, seniors and on-leash dogs.  Why these dog owners persist in breaking the law and making an uncomfortable environment for others…I don’t know. There are plenty of off-leash parks in greater Seattle where owners can take their dogs.

  • Kravitz March 22, 2018 (5:10 am)

    I have a dog and if I want him to enjoy romping around freely in the water, I take him to Magnuson Dog Park. Yes, it’s out of the way, but it is an area where this is allowed specifically FOR DOGS. I’m always amazed at the people who whine about the no dogs on public beaches policies. I wish the financial penalties were higher, because getting stung with a $500+ fine might rectify selfish and entitled behavior. Same thing goes for leash laws. Almost daily, I encounter at least one buffoon that is walking their dog off-leash, but they’re holding the unattached leash in their hand… not paying attention to Fido strolling far behind them, dumping in someone’s yard while they have no clue as to what is going on. 

  • anonyme March 22, 2018 (6:37 am)

    Note that the statement said that violators “may” be ticketed, not “will” be ticketed.   Typical Seattle wishy-washy non-enforcement.

    KBear: “whataboutism” – love it!

  • jm18 March 22, 2018 (8:44 am)

    Lincoln Park is the worst ever, I run there frequently at all times of the day/week. I’ve had dogs come running at me with their owners giggling yelling ‘don’t worry he’s friendly!’   I love dogs but..I don’t want them running at me, jumping on me, sniffing the produce at the grocery stores, sitting next to me at a restaurant where their hair is shedding everywhere.  Seattle is out of control with letting dogs go everywhere, what about people with allergies? The worse thing I see are so many dogs, some of them large, coming out of these tiny apartments, the owners leave them all day and I hear them barking..all day. Dogs are not an accessory.

    • Yes! March 22, 2018 (10:01 am)

      Thank you for saying this! I run and have come across off leash dogs in Lincoln Park who have run full speed at me. Sure they may be friendly but how am I supposed to know when they’re charging at me. First instinct is for me to kick it. Leash it folks!

  • John March 22, 2018 (10:00 am)

    If more people  would express their displeasure with the dog scofflaws, some of these entitled ones might change their behavior.  Taking photos of the scofflaws and expressing criticism of them, shaming them without actually confronting them might persuade some to obey the laws.

    I have  largely stopped walking our leashed dog along Lincoln Park’s shoreline paths because of inconsiderate dog owners, although conceding to them is a terrible option.

    If everyone who passes a bad dog owner calls them out for their irresponsible behavior, the violations would be reduced.

    The arguments for breaking the laws can not be addressed by adding new dog parks or dog beaches as these entitled people will simply respond that the additional dog facilities are not convenient to them or suitable for their dog, just as they do now.

    • Coldheart Craig March 22, 2018 (12:38 pm)

      Hey John, it wasn’t ever legal for you to walk your dog along the shoreline there, regardless of whether your pup was leashed and behaving wonderfully. The point is dogs are not allowed at all, in any way, on West Seattle beaches, leashed or unleashed, they are canine non grata.

      • Terrance March 22, 2018 (12:58 pm)

        Dude.  He said “shoreline paths,” as in the paths along the shoreline where dogs ARE allowed.  

      • John March 22, 2018 (1:00 pm)

        Right you are COLDHEART CRAIG.

        That is why I specifically used the phrase “shoreline paths” which are indeed legal, paved and off the beach for walking a dog on a leash.

    • Seattlite March 22, 2018 (7:23 pm)

      John — I agree with your comment.  Twice I mentioned to dog owners who had their dogs off-leash in Lincoln Park that Lincoln Park is an on-leash park.  Both times these dog owners said FU to me.  Which means to me that they don’t care about laws or if their dogs cause a safety problem.

  • Dale March 22, 2018 (12:12 pm)

    I occasionally take my dog to the beach in West Seattle at daybreak.  He is on leash until we arrive at water’s edge.  He swims out for sticks that I throw for him.  While he swims, I pick up trash along the beach.  That trash comes from humans.  When he is ready to go, he goes back on leash, and walks back through the park with me.  We ALWAYS leave the beach cleaner than we found it.  He has no interest in anything other than a stick.  Maybe some of the haters should realize that not all dogs (and humans) are the same.

    • Terrance March 22, 2018 (12:59 pm)

      The right way to do it.  Thanks Dale. 

    • Jon Wright March 22, 2018 (1:07 pm)

      Thank you for explaining your special circumstance and why the “no dogs on beaches” law doesn’t apply to you.

    • BAS March 22, 2018 (1:42 pm)

      Let’s remember this is about protecting wildlife. The issue of dogs on the beach is about the negative impact on ecological processes, including the beaching of vulnerable wildlife. The law banning dogs on the beach is there to protect the ecosystem, not to regulate irresponsible dog owners. While your efforts to clean-up the ecosystem are admirable, there are ecological consequences for having your dog on the beach.

      It does irritate me to see dogs on the beach because I know the negative impact on vulnerable animals. I am a dog owner and I take mine to Magnuson for a sprint and dip in the water. It’s the responsible thing to do.

      A lot of Amazonians are dog owners and are from out of town, so informing them that their dogs can inadvertently harm or kill local wildlife should help alleviate the problem. No one wants to kill a baby seal.  But, if they want to continue being irresponsible, then the fine should be at least $500.

    • fiz March 22, 2018 (7:33 pm)

      You are breaking the law no matter how much trash you pick up or how considerate your pooch is. Period.

  • jm18 March 22, 2018 (12:27 pm)

    Dale, your dog is still off leash. Great you pick up garbage but.. Not a hater, nor do I think there are ‘haters’ here, just people who don’t want dogs running up on them or being around so many people who think they are above the law. The law does not say, keep your dog on a leash..well, until you get to the water then it’s ok to take it off, then, immediately put him back on the leash when he gets out.  

    • Terrance March 22, 2018 (1:00 pm)

      And I suppose you never speed, or roll through a stop sign. 

  • anonyme March 22, 2018 (12:49 pm)

    Dale, maybe you should also realize that the restrictions on dogs on beaches are there to protect marine wildlife.  How does your special interpretation of the law achieve that?  I’ve personally witnessed a dog in the water maul and kill a young cormorant.  Who is being hateful here?  Dogs will be dogs, and in your case, humans often behave exactly as you do – entitled, spoiled, and pissy when confronted with the truth.

  • maryv March 22, 2018 (4:07 pm)

    As BAS states this is about the Wildlife and the EcoSystem and as I state not about your self righteous egos thinking you never do wrong by letting your dog off leash.

  • Dennis March 22, 2018 (8:02 pm)

    Thanks Dale. 

  • WSeattleite March 22, 2018 (11:45 pm)

    Hello, I am being “trained” that I only need to follow laws that I agree with. There is a bike helmet law, that appears to never be enforced,  new legislation prohibits me from taking a drink of my coffe as I pull away from the drive through coffee stand.  I have yet to see Law Enforcemt follow up on enforcing that law even though it would be the easiest to catch. Beyond that, my local taxes are at work, and the City Employees have been directed to not just ignore but enable those violating Federal immigration laws.  Dogs should not be loose on the beach. I believe that. But Seattle has created a culture whereby one really can’t comply with all the rules and regulations where some of them are idiotic, and a downright pat on the shoulder for violating other’s. That leaves the populace to ignore the “rules”, because clearly they should either not be taken seriously, or my “firm beliefs” Trump the law because I am morally superior.  Welcome to your own creation Seattle. 

    • JanS March 23, 2018 (12:05 am)

      WSeattleite..yes, a bike helmet law….unless, of course, you are paying a buck to ride one of the city’s new bike business bikes. They don’t come equipped with helmets. Ever notice that?

      Also…to Dale, who seems to think he is doing the right thing because it’s early in the morning. The signs do not say “No dogs on the beach from 9am to 5pm” …they simply state no dogs on beach at any time…that means early in the morning, too. Please take it to heart. I’m sure you mean well. You are still breaking the law, as others have stated. Therein lies the problem. Well, if Dale can do it at 6 am, I can do it at 1pm, or 2pm, or 5pm, when everyone else is doing it…because I keep my pup on a leash to the water’s edge. See how that works?

  • Gman March 23, 2018 (4:17 am)

    Dogs hurt the precious ecosystem they say, but kids and adults are OK wandering around at low tide walking on and killing creatures of all kinds just to get a look at them, people also touch these creatures such as small crabs and starfish. And get this, city of Seattle actually encourages this behavior by placing volunteer ‘beach naturalists’ on the beaches at low tide, how stupid can leaders of this city be?

    • WSB March 23, 2018 (6:00 am)

      Actually, the beach naturalists educate people about taking less of a toll while exploring beaches, so they’re a good thing. And they are not placed there by the city; the program is part of the Seattle Aquarium, which is run by a nonprofit.

  • Rebecca March 23, 2018 (5:41 pm)

    Leashing up your dog in shared spaces is about respect, pure and simple.

    • Respect for dogs. I have heard numerous dog owners complain about their inability to walk their dog(s) on leash in the parks because other dog owners  insist on having their dogs off-leash. Whether because they are fearful of what their dog will do or what the other dog will do, it leaves them with no choice but to avoid walking their dogs in the parks. This is unfair. Dog owners obeying leash laws have a right to be in the park.
    • Respect your fellow park goers whether they be adults, children, elders, people with various physical/mental abilities.  I have talked to numerous people of all stripes who have had issues with dogs off leash. Complaints are generally about dogs startling them, dogs jumping up and/or knocking them over, some experience bites, often with the owner  preoccupied or oblivious, or where owners clearly are unable to control their dog(s).  Yes your dog may be very friendly. That is not the point. The last incident we had was  where an owner acknowledged her bad behavior and apologized for being distracted  with texting. That is a rarity. Most are defensive (if not hostile) if you  politely ask them to please leash up their dog. And they are the ones in violation. I hate being viewed as a dog hater. I have and always will love dogs. But then dogs are not really the problem.
    • Respect for nature. I think we have all seen the impact dogs can have on the home environment (think backyards with no more lawn or trampled plants, and the poop buildup when not picked up). Why do dog owners who insist on  unleashing their dogs in the parks think that what is not acceptable for them in their own back yard is acceptable for the people in their community who share the local park. They must think when the dogs poop in the woods it will have no impact.  Out of sight out of mind. Have you thought of the volunteer forest stewards and park staff who care for these places?  Birdwatchers looking up, stepping into a pile of poop? What about dogs chasing nesting birds, or injuring seal pups? Do we not want to help sustain a wondrous natural area/beach filled with healthy trees,  a mix of native plants, birds, seals,  and other creatures? Isn’t that what makes the park natural areas so special?
    • Please leash up so we can all enjoy the parks. 
    • If you want to go off leash here is the list of off leash dog parks:
    • And for those who see off leash violators, I know it’s hard to confront off-leash dog owners. No one want to be the ‘bad guy’ especially if you are a dog lover. But, with all the violators it is good to ask them to leash up. At minimum file a written complaint.  Without those complaints, unfortunately, I’m afraid the disrespect will continue:
  • Denise March 23, 2018 (10:17 pm)

    If the people who follow the laws don’t speak up more loudly and demand that the city do more, the problem of rampant illegal off leash dogs will keep getting worse. Speak up! Let the Parks Dept., the Council, and the Mayor know how you feel! Because right now, the scofflaws are winning. And it’s not a bad thing to ask people to leash up, or keep their dogs off the beach. Parks belong to all of us equally, and the scofflaws don’t get special privileges to run their dogs wherever they please. 

  • Huh March 24, 2018 (10:05 am)

    What? Laws MIGHT be enforced? In Seattle!? Offenders MAY be ticketed? Even the entitled Seattle dog owner?! Really? But surely not those with fake support dog vests…

    As much as I hate dealing with the ill effects of other peoples dogs (and I do), I am becoming numb to this, as well as catch and release burglars, and garbage mountains. 

Sorry, comment time is over.