Declaration

Whereas

Parks currently has rules to keep dogs on leash and keep all dogs out of certain areas such as beaches and playlots. These rules are routinely violated.

People who have dogs off leash in Parks are generally aware of the rules and ignore signage.

Off leash dogs are frequently off trail damaging and destroying vegetation, compacting soil, denuding slopes and impacting wildlife.

Off leash dogs widen trails and create informal trails fragmenting natural areas encroaching into wildlife habitat, stressing wildlife and reducing wildlife population.

As off leash dogs increase in number, lawn and trail use by other patrons decreases until perceived as de facto off leash areas.

Humans and dogs are increasing in population and hence encroachment into and impact on natural areas and accompanying natural life communities are increasing.

While Parks is flooded with off leash dog and off leash dog owner complaints, Parks has stories but no comprehensive studies on overall impact of off leash dogs.

Off leash areas do not direct off leash dogs, but only create overspill with accompanying issue mentioned above, and it is the responsibility of Parks superintendent to monitor impacts of off leash areas and to close them when negative impacts are determined.

It is the responsibility of Parks to ensure the comfort and safety of all patrons and to take good care of facilities and natural areas including vegetation and wildlife.

We propose that

Park’s conduct a thorough study of off leash dogs’ impact on parks patrons’ social comfort and deterred use, natural area vegetation and moss communities, soil compaction and chemistry, slopes especially with homes above, and wildlife including birds, reptiles, mammals and insects.

Park’s superintendent direct a thorough review of impact of designated off leash areas, and determination as to need for further environmental impact study.

Parks study the financial and environmental cost, graphing projected cost of off leash dogs with and without shift in Parks strategy (i.e. at current rate of increase versus reducing off leash dogs)

In lieu of considering adding more designated off leash areas, shift paradigm and strategy to off leash rule enforcement and increase the amount of natural area wildlife habitat acreage.

Parks hire a wildlife biologist to monitor and advocate for wildlife and their habitat through environmental intervention and administrative input on rules and patron use.

Study separating Parks into two: recreation facilities and natural areas, with a separate specialized staff structure for each.

Parks enforce its existing rules by:

-Requiring all staff to ask off leash dog owners to leash their dog every time they see an off leash dog, and where a name or license plate is known report off leash dog owners to animal control.

-Hire as many Park Rangers as needed to immediately respond to reports of off leash dogs, and to collaborate with Animal Control in authorizing Park Rangers to write tickets for off leash dogs.

-Animal Control and Park Rangers issue no verbal warnings for off leash dogs, only write tickets.

-Tracking both violations and rule compliance.

One thought on “Declaration

  1. “Off leash areas do not direct off leash dogs, but only create overspill with accompanying issue mentioned above, and it is the responsibility of Parks superintendent to monitor impacts of off leash areas and to close them when negative impacts are determined.”

    The increasing number of dangerous dogs, primarily Pitbulls and their crosses, cause several safety issues for non-fighting bred dogs, their owners, and park Patrons. This is a growing concern worthy of immediate inspection.

    Our animal shelters in King County are overflowing with disproportionate numbers of Pitbulls in comparison to the number of other dog breeds (and yet Seattle Humane Society and other Kinv County Pitbull Rescue organizations continue to bring Pitbulls here for potential adoption). The misconception that these dogs are as safe a companion animal as any other dog breed contributes to the growing number of Pitbulls and their ignorant, ill-equipped handlers in King County off leash dog parks. This leaves non Pitbull owners and their dogs searching for undesignated off leash alternatives. For this reason and no other, I now consider off leash parks too dangerous to take my dogs to and no longer use them.

    The remedy to this situation isn’t simple. It begins where Pitbull owners acquire their dogs – Pitbull breeders, animal shelters, Pitbull rescue organizations and elsewhere. Pitbull owners often surrender their dogs to shelters, not identifying them as dangerous or potentially dangerous. We learn of the consequential carnage in the media far less often than it actually happens, especially if it’s dog-on-dog injury or death. Breed specific legislation (BSL), whether by creating breed-specific off leash areas or by banning Pitbulls from municipalities altogether, is the obvious immediate solution. Spay/neuter and euthanasia are permanent remedies.
    Seattle loves it’s dogs and they’re not going away soon. Anti-BSL activists are as fierce as their dogs. There are enough misunderstandings about the fighting bred dogs to go around but the realities remain constant: these dogs are wildly, unpredictably dangerous and should not be tolerated in public areas. Leash law enforcement becomes a mute point because Pitbulls are stronger their handlers and the leash they’re on (it’s appalling to me how many Pitbulls are at the business end of retractable leashes, as if rhey were a toy poodle)! Ceasar Malone even states that Pitbulls too strong and unpredictable for all but the most experienced.

    In the absence of US pro Pitbull lobby, Canada attempts to enforce BSL inclusive of public muzzle laws. But, unless a dog is conditioned to a muzzle early on, it’s simply difficult/dangerous/inhumane to introduce beyond puppyhood.

    Please enact and enforce BSL in Seattle and King County Parks.

    Liked by 1 person

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