RANT: Dog AttackOff Leash Dogs at Lincoln Park

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    We witnessed a dog attack on the gravel beach path at Lincoln Park Monday 6/22 just before 7:00 pm. A woman was walking her small dog on leash when a large black pitbull came from the brush on the beach, took her small dog in it’s mouth and proceeded to shake it. It took three adults to remove the small dog from the pit bull’s mouth. After the removal I requested the couple who owned the pit bulls (they had two, only one attacked) to leash their dogs. It was intimating to have these dogs running around us. The owners leashed their dogs and took off toward Lowan Beach. We escorted the small dog owner to Coleman Pool where she received assistance. Unfortunately, the small dog did not survive the attack. Dog owners: please have your dogs on leash at Lincoln Park at all times!


    I am the woman whose dog was attacked on this walk. We had only had our puppy for three months. She was precocious with a big personality and made everyone around her happy. My heart is completely broken at the loss of her. Please please please leash your dogs. Even if you don’t think they could ever do something horrible. You just never know, and its better safe than sorry.



    This is horrible and makes me so angry! I am so sorry about your pup, Lauren. I often politely remind people that it’s not an offleash park but from now on I’m calling the Animal Control number and reporting. I understand they are understaffed, but if they spent 1-2 weeks fully patrolling and ticketing at Lincoln Park not only would they make a lot of $$ but I’m sure the instances of off-leash dogs would decrease dramatically. So frustrating!!!



    I am so sorry to read about the attack and death of your precious dog. The pitbull needs to be put down immediately and the owner should be charged with a class C felony, $10,000 fine. Was this reported to the police?


    Csw2119 I called the Seattle animal shelter and reported it to them. I am just waiting for a call back from an officer. At the time I didn’t want to call 911 and wait because my puppy needed immediate attention.



    Getting the contact info of someone who has just broken the law and realizes there may be consequences is seldom easy…

    however..this is a timely heads up that this isn’t a person freedom issue.. it’s a matter of public safety… and as such it’s time we all spoke up



    That’s so gut wrenching. No words left to describe the selfishness of these folks. So sorry for your loss.



    If I was the victim of this terrible crime I would pursue a civil lawsuit. If the owners of the other dog have insurance they’d write you a fat check instead of going to trial.

    Won’t bring your dog back… but might save the next victims.



    Agree with Skeeter. This is not something Animal Control can really help with as they have been told about it for years and the problem is still there. Dog owners need to be held financially responsible. It seems the only way to get people’s attention is when you take a chunk of their cash.

    Lauren – I hope you can get justice for you and your dog and hopefully keep the next dog safe. Sick of this ongoing issue and sad to read most owners turn tail and run vs accept responsibility.



    Lauren, I’m so sorry to hear of this tragic loss, and that you had to witness it. Condolences to you and your family.

    joannbylincolnpark, thank you for stepping in and helping Lauren.

    And I agree with skeeter. If either of you were able to get valid contact info; civil suit. I’d also like to see criminal charges brought against the off leash dog owners. This behavior is unacceptable, and totally inexcusable.

    As skeeter mentions, it won’t bring your puppy back, and won’t ease the pain of loss, but you should be fully reimbursed for any Vet care, if there was some, and it *will* send a message.

    If you don’t wish to keep any money awarded, above any costs incurred, maybe donate to an animal abuse charity in your pups name.

    Finally, to anyone reading this, whether someone that walks their dog(s) off leash, or simply thinks off leash dogs are no big deal; this is one of *many* reasons there are leash laws…




    I’m so sorry to hear about this. A police report should definitely be filed. When pit bulls bite down, they actually often can’t let go. I heard of an incident at Alki where people had to hold the pit bull’s head under water until it almost drown in order to get it to let go of a small dog. That dog did survive, fortunately. Frankly, I used to carry a pocket knife when walking my dog, in case of coyotes. I was more than willing to protect my dog that way if it came down to it.



    Over the years I have sent emails to a succession of mayors asking for help and have worked with a succession of Animal Control managers. I sent this a few minutes ago to our council member in the hopes that he can do something.

    Dear Council Member Rasmussen,

    As you may have noticed over the years on the West Seattle Blog, West Seattle has a problem with off leash dogs roaming and attacking people or other pets. The latest incident was last night at Lincoln Park.


    I have been in touch with Animal Control (Tracy Bahrakis) about my concerns for years and have reported many violations that I have seen at various West Seattle Parks. I have been bitten myself.

    I have email documentation going back 5 years of reports to Animal Control.

    I am writing you today to ask for help. This problem is out of control and despite citizen efforts to help solve the problem, off leash violations happen multiple times per day and attacks happen far too frequently.



    No justice for this incident, but I was in Lincoln Park a week or so ago and Animal Control officers were giving tickets to people who had their dogs on the beach. Drove their truck right down on the path from the north end. I wanted to stand up and applaud!



    I am so sorry for your lose Lauren! It really angers me that people do not leash their dogs.



    Oh this is so horrible and maddeningly preventable. I am so sorry for your loss, Lauren! You must be so traumatized. We had a similar attack on a puppy YEARS ago (our puppy survived the attack, but it was terrifying). Even the seemingly sweetest dogs can do something unexpected – especially if they think your dog is prey (which is likely what happened in this situation). Also, you never know if your off leash dog might run up to a leashed dog who could hurt your dog. It’s just not worth the risk to other dogs or to your dog. Think about it and then leash up! It’s the right thing to do.



    Sorry for your loss.



    Lauren, my condolences on the loss of your beloved dog.

    Your response here is magnanimous, to say the least, under the circumstances.

    I agree with others who feel you should pursue this legally.

    I would be incredibly angry, especially as the cowardly owners of the attacking dog apparently ran from the scene, rather than assisting you and your dog.

    I walk my puppy almost every day at Lincoln Park and there are ALWAYS dog owners there, who obviously believe the law doesn’t apply to them, letting their dogs run free and wild.

    It’s not that my dog wouldn’t love to run off-leash and play, it’s that I follow the frickin’ law.

    If you are one of the many scofflaws I encounter there, and you wonder why I’m unfriendly, it’s because YOU are selfish and clueless.

    Lauren’s horrible experience is reason enough to leash your dog, regardless of the fact it’s the law.



    pupsarebest – how I feel exactly. I recall one of many interactions with off-leash dogs – when I saw the dog running loose, I stopped and held my leashed dog close. The owner said “oh, i’ts ok, he’s friendly!”. I replied, “so is my dog, but this isn’t an off-leash park.” The owner made a “harrummph” kind of noise and kept walking. Pissed me off! Not to mention another time when a big off-leash dog ran up to my sister-in-law who is terrified of dogs during a nice walk in the park and ruined our entire afternoon. So damn selfish!



    Lauren, I am horribly saddened to hear of your loss and am mortified to think the owners of the dog that caused the attacked walked away. I hope that charges are brought against the owner and the situation has some degree, if at all possible, of resolution. I am continually amazed at the folks at LIncoln Park who feel that the law doesn’t apply to them because of how “well-trained” their dog is walk their dog off leash and let it frolick in front of signs that clearly state dogs are not allowed on the beach, or off leash. My sincerest condolences to you neighbor :(



    Isn’t this considered leaving the scene of a crime? If not, it should be.

    It would be helpful if there were either an official or unofficial procedure for tragedies like this. First, the offending owners should be required by law to a) stay at the scene if animal control is on the way, or b)provide contact information. That would be official protocol.

    Since we all know that these sorts of people could care less about the law, much less about the safety of anyone else, there needs to be a second protocol. Please note that I am not criticizing the actions of anyone involved in this particular incident; I’m only suggesting that there be a blueprint for action.

    First, offer help. Don’t assume that the owner of the injured dog has it under control. Witnesses should immediately come forward and offer assistance, even if another witness already has. Offer contact info, even if the victim/owner says they don’t need it. Often, the dog owner will either be in shock, or not realize the extent of their dog’s injuries until too late. Pictures should be taken of the offending dog and dog owner(s) before they have a chance to take off.

    If the offending owner refuses to provide info and attempts to leave, as many witnesses as possible should follow them as far as they can, calling police on the way. Get their license #, their address – whatever it takes. I’m not saying to gang up on them, threaten them, or to otherwise escalate the situation. But this crap happens way too often, and such individuals literally get away with murder. It has to stop.



    This is sickening and I’m so sorry this happened to you. Sorry for your loss.

    I agree with what anonyme described. Offer help, take photos of the criminals. Did any-one get photos of the attacker-dog’s owners?



    Sad that even between dog lovers, there is a schism.

    It’s caused by the arrogant irresponsibilty of some dog owners who won’t follow the law, and gives all dog owners a bad name for some in the community..

    I like anonyme’s suggestions, and it makes me consider beginning to snap photos of any off-leash lawbreaker, calling Animal Control, and waiting to see what happens.

    Nothing will change until there is a MAJOR crackdown on the offenders.



    Most dog owners insist their dog is perfectly friendly and safe. Let’s suppose that’s mostly true, and the hazard is only from a few exceptions.

    I do not know which ones those exceptions are.



    they all become exceptions when they race up to a leashed dog that doesn’t like other dogs …

    then their owners had better hope that the dog owner obeying the law is willing to step between their pet and your dog.

    just saying.



    JKB: You are right on, and I don’t care how “perfectly friendly and safe” a dog is — those are a recipe for disaster for my daughter who is HIGHLY allergic to dogs. The friendly, come up and lick/sniff you all over types are detrimental to her health.

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