February 7, 2018 at 10:36 pm #59130
Over the course of the last few months there seems to have been an increase in the amount of off-leash dogs in Wallingford Playfield.
I have two young children (4 and 18 months old) and we visit there all the time.
Dogs are NOT allowed to be off-leash in the playfield, at all . . i.e. dogs have to be on a leash in the playfield. Dogs are NOT allowed in the playground area at all. These rules are so bloody clear!!!
I’d like to ask all responsible dog owners to please remind dog owners who they see with their dogs not on a leash to please put them on a leash. And I’d like to ask all parents, or other park visitors, to please speak up when they see a dog owner let their dog off leash.
I witnessed an incident today of a 7 or 8 year old child being chased by an off-leash dog, and the poor kid was almost frightened to death. The owner of the dog didn’t seem to give a sh!t and made little to no effort to get control of the dog. This is just not acceptable.
Animal Control are the the people responsible for violations, and they are the ones who should be called: 206-386-7387
This is not a complaint about responsible dog owners who use the playfield to walk their dog . . it is however a complaint about the irresponsible few who are ruining it for the manyFebruary 11, 2018 at 9:36 am #59148
Last time we had this conversation a surprising number of adults made the case that because there weren’t enough off leash parks, that they should simply be allowed to go off leash. Like — they just should! There are dog owners who are almost willfully blind to their dogs’ behavior. Thankfully the majority of dog owners are responsible and empathetic but I would love to see the venn diagram of off leash scofflaws and the absolute jerks who let their dog crap on my lawn and deliberately leave it there.February 18, 2018 at 7:29 pm #59179
I am a “senior citizen” woman. Last month I was walking my dog, legally, on leash, in Wallingford Park, at dusk. My dog was approached by an off-leash dog, and, since he felt vulnerable, my dog was scared of the situation. I asked the owner of the off leash dog to leash his dog. The owner refused, but moved his dog away. However, the off leash dog quickly returned to my on-leash dog. At that point I was trying to get out of the park, to get away from this harassment. But the off leash dog was more or less blocking the way.
Again, I asked the owner to leash his dog, commenting that it was illegal to have his dog off leash in the park. The tone of my second request was not particularly nice, but I certainly did not curse or say anything except for “Please leash your dog! It is illegal to have your dog off leash!”
After my second request, the owner of the off leash dog (a large man, much bigger and younger than me) started screaming at me, ordering me to “Get the fuck out of the park you fucking bitch.” It was quite frightening. Because I was scared, I was indeed trying to get out of the park and get away from this man, but my way continued to be blocked because his off-leash dog was making it virtually impossible for my on-leash dog to move anywhere. As I tried to leave, and his dog continued to block, the man continued to scream at me to “Get the fuck out of the park. You don’t belong here your fucking bitch. Arrest me if you think it’s illegal, you bitch.” It was very, very scary.
Finally the man called his dog back to him, the dog finally complied, and I quickly left the park. The man went the other direction with his still off-leash dog. I called 911 from the adjacent sidewalk. When the man saw me on the phone, he quickly left the park, walking away from me. The whole experience was very unnerving. I doubt the police caught the man.
Later I also reported the incident to animal control, but there certainly was not much they could do by then.
This man was even worse the most of the people who defy the leash laws. But most of the people I have spoken to who misuse our parks in this manner display an arrogant sense of entitlement, as if they believe what they are doing is fine and should be tolerated by everybody. It seems that this sense of entitlement will continue until leash law enforcement convinces these scofflaws that, regardless of what they believe they ought to be able to do, they are likely to be fined if they turn their dogs loose in our parks or on our sidewalks. However, with its current lax and minimal enforcement policy, the the City of Seattle essentially encourages the idea the leash law compliance is purely optional. We need to advocate for better enforcement.March 13, 2018 at 3:58 pm #59327
Have to agree with the current consensus, there are an alarming number of irresponsible dog owners using the park.
The park itself seems to have an identity/ownership problem, dog owners think it’s a dog park, parents think it’s a kid park, the school thinks it’s their park.
It’s obviously everyone’s park, but don’t let your dog off the damn leash.
I recently had some lady’s off-leash (and large) dog run up to me as I was jogging on the sidewalk at dusk and she just helplessly called for it as it ran to come sniff me, I had no idea if I was going to get bit by an overprotective animal.
I saw the same thing happen this weekend, a large dog running up to a very little kid and the owner just saying “Oh don’t worry he’s just playing! He’s friendly!”
That’s an accident waiting to happen.March 13, 2018 at 9:24 pm #59328
Over the weekend (Saturday, 3/10/2018 around 3pm), an off-leash pit bull at Wallingford Playfield attacked an elderly man. It is my understanding that the dog bit and broke the gentleman’s ankle with the foot nearly twisted entirely off. The police were called and the man was taken away by ambulance. This incident is obviously terribly unfortunate for him, but it easily could have been one of the many children who play at the park every day in that very spot along the trail. Please call animal control any time you see a dog off leash at the park, 206-386-7387. The more that you call, the more that they will patrol and fine off-leash owners. The police officers reportedly said that not only are dogs not allowed off-leash at the park, they are not even allowed to be on the grass.March 13, 2018 at 11:31 pm #59329
Fair warning – every time I see an off-leash dog at the park, I’m calling animal control. I’ll make it a point to walk through the park at least once a day(yup, I got that kind of time). I encourage others to do the same. Maybe they won’t respond to the first call, or the second, or even the tenth. But enough calls on a constant basis and maybe we’ll see some enforcement.
My kids have lost toys to, been jumped on, and chased by off-leash dogs too many damn times at this park. I’m done accommodating a**hole dog owners.March 14, 2018 at 8:25 am #59331
I, too, have been threatened with assault by folks running their dogs. In one case, the owner (it is the owner’s action after all, not the dog’s) was allowing his three off-leash dogs to roam through the playground. It was night, and no one was in the playground, however the owner was oblivious to where his animals were doing their business. Note that I was not even commenting about leashing the animals, just asking him to keep his animals out of the play area. He responded by walking to one inch from my face to belligerently refuse and tell me to call the cops after threatening physical assault. Not typical, I am sure, but these folks do exist so be careful.
I used to post fairly regularly each winter pleading with dog owners to honor the law. With nearly 20 years of leading community work at the park, experience demonstrated that the primary source of damage to the playfield in winter, when the field is most vulnerable, is due to dogs. This has only gotten worse as new folks move to the neighborhood and previous agreements are forgotten.
Understand that this is a sand-based turf field. Dogs dig huge holes. Dogs shred the turf surface as they race and turn. The surface is very soft. Would you run dogs on Safeco Field? This is a million dollar field. The defense offered is the “it is just one dog” or “the off-leash areas (OLA) are ugly”. I thank those that respect the current law and agreement by dog owners when the OLAs were created in the 1990s – “give us these areas and we will not be in other parks”. Dog owners also promised to “police their own”. Living near the park, I often see folks drive up and unload several dogs to run on the field. My question is, if you can drive to WP, why cannot such folks just go to the city-funded, off-leash area at Woodland Park?
Wallingford Playfield is a very heavily utilized resource. Parks has a huge struggle just trying to stay ahead of maintaining the turf. The field is supposed to be closed from when youth soccer ends in November until around April, when the turf gets stronger. In recent years, Parks has not been closing the field in the winter and the quality has suffered, despite their sincere effort to restore the field each Spring. There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the WCC and Parks pledging to limit scheduled use to only “kiddie soccer” practice after school and games on Saturday until around 2pm, in order to try to keep the field in condition for all to use.
Take a walk across the field. Observe the plethora of dog prints, scrapes and ankle-twisting-holes that render the field less safe to use by residents, including kids, frisbee folks and families. Also please understand that, faced with the annual maintenance effort to keep the field useable, Parks may one day propose to eliminate the turf, fence the field off, and install artificial turf. Not only will dogs be prohibited access, but the majority of the public that just wants a place to drop-in and play will also be excluded. The Wallingford community has been consistent, for at least the 30 years I have lived here, in asking that the play field be kept available for drop-in use as a flexible expanse of grass where families can gather, play, have pick-up games, fly a kite, not to just those participating in organized sports.
When we redesigned the Park and built the playground in the late-1990s, we strove to not duplicate resources that were present at other nearby parks. The City will ALWAYS be short of park space. ALL users could make the claim that they do not have adequate access to everything they want. A large expanse of open grass can be used for a variety of activities. It was an ongoing battle for many years to encourage Parks to recognize drop-in use as an activity. The bureaucracy can track scheduled use, and made several attempts to convert WP to a dedicated sports field such as a ball diamond or fenced-off soccer field, which excludes rather than encourages flexible play.
In addition to the severe damage that hundreds (not just a couple) dogs inflict on the turf surface, the heavy off-leash activity also threatens to lose access to the field for ALL users – for drop-in activities, for scheduled sports – if Parks elects to fence the field and install unhealthy artificial turf in the false economy of trading first cost for maintenance cost. There is more at risk here than some dog owners might be considering.March 14, 2018 at 11:26 am #59336
I encourage everyone to call animal control to report off-leash violations. It is probably unlikely to have much immediate satisfaction of a citation, but the city keeps records of complaints to determine the “squeaky wheel” that receives the resources. With enough complaints on record, we may actually see the city hire additional animal control officers.
And ALWAYS call the cops if a belligerent dog owner gets in your face or makes threats. Be careful, too, if you elect to approach a dog owner. Keep your wits about you! Again, having a record of violations is the first step to creating change in a bureaucracy.March 14, 2018 at 11:52 am #59337
Leash yer dogs,
But I just wanted to note that Wallyhood’s fraud/spam detection is flagging all of these posts as suspect. Sounds like the dial needs to be turned anti-clockwise a hair.March 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm #59352
How can one tell if a post is “suspect”?March 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm #59353
I saw animal control at the park at least twice last week, so the message is getting to animal control and they are responding.March 16, 2018 at 8:42 am #59368
New and AmusedMember
I have to agree with the original post. The signs could not be clearer at the park entrances and these owners are willfully disobeying the rules to suit their own selfish needs.
I have a young daughter and it would be nice to go to the park without the fear of some rogue dog going after her.
There have to be places to take dogs, and if you want them off the lead, then it is up to you to make the effort to find these places and follow the rules.
There are so many good dog owners, and it is sad that a selfish few, ruin it by taking them off the lead, letting them mess on our lawns (without cleaning it up), or thinking they can throw their bags in our dustbins as they walk around.
It’s your choice to get a dog, so find a place for exercise, pick up your mess and take it home with you. That’s all we ask.March 16, 2018 at 2:16 pm #59369
Just to add to the importance of leashing dogs: This week an elderly person (resident of nearby University House), walking around the playfield, was charged and seriously injured by an unleashed dog. Please, please leash your dogs!March 17, 2018 at 11:16 am #59370
It’s not just Wallingford Playfield where loose dogs are a problem. My (always legally leashed) dog and I are routinely confronted by loose dogs and their frequently belligerent owners at Meridian Playfield, Gasworks Park, Green Lake, Magnusson Park, Golden Gardens, and Discovery Park.
It is absolutely true that calling in leash law violations brings more enforcement. Even easier: if you report under “Other” in the City’s Find It Fix It cell phone app, the person reviewing the report will promptly forward the report to Seattle Animal Control.
The idea of asking people to leash their dogs in the interest of protecting our parks and making them welcoming for all is very nice — but it doesn’t work. Sadly, I have found that it is almost always unpleasant and sometimes even dangerous to interact in any way with the owner of an off-leash dog. I do not speak to such people at all, unless I’m forced to because their off-leash dog has confronted my leashed one. However, I ALWAYS report any leash law violation I observe via Find It Fix It.March 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm #59378
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