Comments on the birth of this site:

Thank you for doing this.  Another area parks keeps dogs off of is golf courses.  I like the idea of off leash areas being switched to golf courses because they have a staff and patrons that will help enforce off lease rules.  I agree a no tolerance of off lease dogs, outside of their parks, is the only way to start to curb the aggressive behavior of dog owners.  Dog park fees could help pay for enforcement outside of their parks although fines would help do this as well.


I see dogs as a public health and safety issue. Seattle employees would never answer my question “when is it safe for children to contact with lawns heavily used as dogs’ toilets”.  I also see this as a soil and water contamination issue that the utility district of Snohomish county acknowledged early in my involvement with a stream side land owners project- I still keep their outreach mailer to Snohomish county residents.

As Parks management has been negligent in their enforcement of off leash regs, I believe Seattle public utilities has been negligent protecting our public resources from contamination.  Instead of joining forces to combat the problems of contamination and safe public access, they choose to bury their collective heads in the polluted sand.


I would say it is too much information for the internet.  I would simplify it and just say that, “Seattle Parks and Recreation, Animal Control adopt a zero tolerance policy in Seattle Parks. If they can prohibit smoking in the parks why not dogs.”

“There was an implicit contract between dog owners and the City in 1995, that if dog owners were given off-leash areas, that dogs would not run off-leash in the parks.”


3 thoughts on “Comments

  1. Letter clarifying why most of the Off-Leash Areas are illegal from Jane Koler, attorney who successfully sued the city to close the OLA in Volunteer Park. Please read and distribute

    August 24, 2016

    Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
    Seattle Parks and Recreation
    100 Dexter Avenue North
    Seattle, WA 98109

    Holly Miller, Director
    Office for Education at City of Seattle
    700 5th Ave #1700
    Seattle, WA 98104

    RE: Off-Leash Dogs at Golden Gardens Park

    Dear Mr. Aguirre and Ms. Miller:

    I represent Ellen Taft. Ms. Taft was the president of Citizen’s for the Protection of Volunteer Park, when that organization, filed suit with the city to close down the Volunteer Park off-leash dog area that was damaging specimen trees that were selected and planted when the Olmsted Brothers designed Volunteer Park. During that period, dogs were tearing-up the grass and impairing the viability of such specimen trees. Volunteer Park, because of its Olmsted design, is known as the crown jewel of Seattle parks.

    Golden Gardens’ design was heavily influenced by the Olmsted Brothers. It is located in the Ballard area of Seattle. Like the Olmsted-designed parks, it takes advantage of marine views – as the Olmsted brothers recommended – such views were incorporated as “borrowed landscapes.”

    Recently, it has come to Ellen Taft’s attention that dogs are running free in areas far removed from the designated off-leash area at Golden Gardens. Such dogs run free on a slope; they have destroyed the grass and that, in turn, will cause erosion during the winter months.

    The Seattle Municipal Code (“SMC”) flatly prohibits dogs from running free in areas other than designated off-leash areas. SMC §18.12.025 warns that “unlawful and inappropriate behavior diminishes these precious resources.” SMC §18.12.070 declares that it is unlawful for any person “to… destroy, mutilate, deface… lawn… any shrub… tree… plant… flower.”

    Here, off-leash dogs that are running free in an ad hoc off-leash dog area in Golden Gardens are causing serious damage to historic park landscaping. Although there is a designated, fenced off-leash area, individuals who allow their dogs to run free in areas of the park with manicured landscaping are threatening and destroying such landscaping. Dog urine is impairing the specimen trees. Dogs running around on the lawn are destroying it. This activity needs to stop. Our parks are a precious resource. Please enforce the City of Seattle’s ordinances. We need to preserve our historic parks.

    Very truly yours,


    Jane Koler



  2. I have the original ordinance setting up the off-leash areas. It is full of legal holes and can easily be challenged in court for any citizen’s group.

    Contact me at and I can send it to you.

    Particularly, the Charters of Olmstead Parks, which supersede any Seattle Ordinances, forbid putting up fences in Olmstead Parks.

    Ellen Taft


  3. At the Sept. 22nd meeting, I am going to propose that there is one DOG-FREE Park and one DOG-FREE beach such as Madison Park Beach, Currently dogs are not allowed on the sand and in the water, but on the grass; however, the Lifeguards are not allowed to enforce the law, and will not call Animal Control. They let large Pit bulls run around unleashed

    How about a park where even leashed dogs are prohibited.


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