Community Post

Dog Park in the CD (woof!)

Hey neighbors, anyone else want an off-leash dog park in the CD? There are a zillion small parks aimed at kids in the Central District, but no sanctioned off-leash areas for our pooches to romp and play. Some statistics to ponder – only 19% of Seattle households have children, but 33% have dogs. There are an estimated 125,000 dogs in Seattle but fewer than 90,000 children. My rough count (depending on how you define the borders of the CD) is that there are about 20 parks in our neighborhood, but not one dogpark.

I’m not anti-kid, but I am pro-pooch. How great would it be for everyone to have an off-leash dog park within easy walking distance of their home? I think it would be fantastic for us humans too – meeting our neighbors, creating good times and healthy play for the dogs.

Remember the Crack Park at 3rd and Bell in Belltown? I believe the dog enthusiasts were given 18 months to try to turn it from an open air drug market to a dogpark. It has been fabulously successful, and now the pooches in Belltown have a place to play. I’d love to see us do the same thing. Maybe we could pick one or two usually-empty kid parks in the CD and lobby the city to turn them into dogparks. I’m not really sure how to get this ball rolling, but I thought I’d start with a post here to see how much support there is for the idea. What do you think?

0 thoughts on “Dog Park in the CD (woof!)

  1. Isn’t there an off-leash park still on the NW corner of MLK & Massachusettes? Not that I wouldn’t want one closer and not so swampy, but the Blue Dog Dog Park is still there I think…

  2. That one is awful, and on the far edge of the neighborhood. We need one that is centrally located, within a 10 minute walk from most of the neighborhood, and in a spot that isn’t a wetland for most of the year.

  3. Great idea!

    I’d also recommend thinking about targets (i.e…which “open spaces” you think would be good) and including the folks in Madrona + Mad Valley. Folks in Madrona don’t have a dog park either and I can tell you they have a ton of dogs.

    Don’t forget that there is technicall a dog park at Mass Ave and MLK, but that thing is disgusting and rarely used.

  4. I think a dog park would be a fantastic addition to the neighborhood. There are tons of dogs and nowhere nearby to exercise them. An exercised dog is a happy/well behaved dog which benefits everyone. I know we are guilty of not taking our dog to an official dog park as often as we should.

  5. I know COLA is working hard to improve the Blue Dog. Has anyone else seen the goats!? It’s amazing. They’ve “rented” the goats to clear the hillside, and they’ve made short work of it! Also, they’ve recently added a bunch of small gravel to help combat the swampiness. The Blue Dog is convenient for me, and we take our pup there pretty often (in the summer anyway.)

  6. I have to defend Blue Dog on MLK and Mass: yes, it’s a disgusting pit during our lengthy rainy season, but! when it’s not raining, it’s a nice little park, with a good combo of open flat space and tall grass/trees area that the dogs enjoy. Also, a lot of dog walkers go there during the day (or they used to, anyway) and it was a great place for a big dog party.

    Anyway, I would definitely advocate for another dog park (more centrally located, perhaps?) in the CD – but I’d say let the folks in Madrona work on getting their own.

    Also, for folks nearer the ID/Beacon Hill – Jose Rizal is a nice, quiet dog park. I like it because it feels a little more wilderness-y.

    Keep us posted!

  7. I think dog parks are a great idea. But, if you take a look at the park at third and bell, it’s strictly dog only and not that much fun for anyone but animals and their owners.

    I think we need to work together to have a park where people can unleash their dog while also maintaining the area as fun for the kids that are here. I still get upset when I’m at volunteer park and people cant unleash their dogs to run around. If you know the history behind this, it’s because of one outspoken cantancerous old woman.

  8. Although I don’t have a dog, I’ve often see people using the large grassy area at Homer Harris Park as an unofficial off leash area. I think a fence around the grassy area might be a good off leash area. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone using the grassy area except for letting their dogs run around (except when they used to do the Movie in the Park a couple summers ago). This is the park on 24th Ave that’s across the street from the YMCA (on 23rd Ave).

  9. “Anyway, I would definitely advocate for another dog park (more centrally located, perhaps?) in the CD – but I’d say let the folks in Madrona work on getting their own.”

    i know folks in Madrona want one but the liklihood of two neighborhoods right next to each other getting a dog park is slim and none and slim just left down.

    the pt of working with Madrona or Madison Valley is finding a common park we all can use and both going to the City to get one. otherwise, we’re just working at cross purposes.

  10. We just got a dog this summer, and we found that if you do not have a mean dog, the best place to take them is to one of the “unofficial” dog parks in the city. Madrona beach is full of dogs every morning, for example, and Volunteer Park has lots of canine traffic in the mornings and late afternoons. Pretty common to to let dogs off leash to play with each other or fetch a ball.

    So, you don’t absolutely need a dog park to create a great space for dogs and people to interact. You just need to find a park that is big enough, and then get the word out that it’s a good place to take your dog.

    Maybe Pratt Park? Or Freeway Park in Judkins?
    Basically, you keep your dog on a leash until

  11. [Begin Rant]
    I used to think the same thing until I got busted by Seattle Animal Control last year, with a fine of $80. The fees escalate with each incident, so the next one would be something like $150. And luckily I had the dog licensed with the city and poo bags in my pocket or it would have been another few hundred dollars on top of that.

    Mind you that this was at about 8:45 on a Sunday morning, in a seldom used part of Leschi park up by the tennis courts. No one else was around at the time.

    The city has hired a bunch of new animal control officers over the last 18 months or so, and they are very aggressive with the tickets.

  12. and while i’ve been known to be a scofflaw in this area, taking your dog offleash in these areas makes any dog facilities harder to get in neighborhoods. people who have had a bad experience with an offleash dog in a non offleash dog area are much less likely to look kindly on a new dog park or facility.

  13. Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park off MLK has a huge section to the south of the fountain & terraced steps that would be perfect for a fenced off-leash park. I never see anyone use the park on a regular basis and that part is out of the way for any events that are held there. There is plenty of room to run and the drainage is pretty good.

  14. For all of you that let your dogs off-leash in unofficial dog parks be aware that you may well be ticketed.

    My spouse had our dogs off-leash at Cal Anderson early in the morning when the park is empty (7:00 am) and received a $110 ticket. I’m certain he was set-up–the officer smiled as he watched him unleash the dogs and then came over and gave him a ticket (it would have been $150 ticket but luckily our dogs are licensed). Amid a verbal berating by my partner regarding the officer’s harassment of a tax-paying citizen and the officer’s useless city job (like the cops that love giving jay-walking tickets–now there’s a worthwile community service) the officer admitted someone had complained about unleashed dogs so they were stepping up enforcement.

    So be aware and let your dogs run free at your own financial risk. It just takes the complaint of one bitter person…

  15. For someone who already exercises their dog vigorously and quite often, I am all about having a place where my dog can romp with other dogs officially in the CD (or Madrona or Madison Valley). I agree with the previous posts…although, I have been known to be negiligent about taking my dog off leash (especially early morning runs), creating “unofficial” dog parks in kid and neighborhood parks is not a solution to exercising your dog or legitimizing a park to be a dog park in our community. As a dog owner, I also recognize that some children and people are fearful of dogs and are unsure that their owners have proper voice control or handling of them. For example, how many times have we seen folks screaming for their dogs? Regardless of how not “mean” your dog is, Fido jumping up on an unsuspecting child to play or individual can be traumatic or risk a serious crackdown of “unofficial” dog parks, see response about tickets and neighbors complaining. That is why offering a fenced in park that all dogs can enjoy is a solution to not only exercising your dog, controling our parks, and having our dogs be social pack animals.

    Also, as there are dedicated kid parks there should be dedicated dog parks, I don’t subscribe to the philosphy of “why can’t we all get along.” Some dogs have not been socialized around children and vice versus and there should be places where they can respectively play on their own without any chance of an accident happening. This is being a responsible dog owner and parent.

    So sign me up for an official dog park in our neighborhood.

  16. I understand the frustration and a desire for a place for dogs to run, but I believe that it is difficult to identify a spot. I thought about this during the years that we had a dog. I know that there a number of small quiet open spaces that are not totally busy, but as a person who often walks, I enjoy passing through and pausing in these spots. Sometimes you can even hear the birds. We need a few quite spots in the city, the purpose of open space, right?

    The Dog Park near MLK and Massachusetts was very popular and hopefully still is. Even people from around Genesee Park used it and propably would not advocate for any portion of Genesee being transformed to a Dog Park. Advocating for the improvement of the one at Massachusetts would be one positive action. The little park on 24th is quite small, along pedestrian routes, and seems very pleasant to sit in. How many dogs would you want there at one time? I imagine that wherever it was located there would be a lot of use and controlling who uses it not possible. The area at Massachusetts was probably identified, if I remember correctly, (correct me if I’m wrong) it is not really near many pedestrian type destinations. I would look at the large parks, find areas where pedestrian traffic is likely to be almost nil and areas that can be easily and attractively fenced. Also explore the upkeep required to keep it pleasant.

    During the years that I gave this thought I did not come up with any great ideas.

  17. There is in fact a dog park in Genesse, however, it is approximately 10 to 15 minute drive to get to. There is a great open space on 34th between Pike and Pine, I believe the Alvin Larkin Park, (I know technically Madrona), I have never seen anyone in it and it is essentially an open field with one picnic table.

  18. I second Ace’s opinion! It’s not just the ticket. I have a kid who was attacked by a “not mean” dog. Not nipped–attacked. The scars are forever. The emotional scars can also be great. Kids need to be able to run freely w/o fear of a “friendly” dog coming near. Dogs need to be able to run freely w/o children in the way. If you take your dog into a park where the NO DOGS signs are posted, sorry, but you deserve the $110 ticket…no set up, the sign is posted-I think even the fine is posted. And, no, I’m not bitter, I just believe that some laws make sense, & as they say, be ready to pay if you’re gonna play. Yes, I realize that some kids need to learn to be around animals. I agree, & when walking my dog, I teach neighbor kids (with their parental permission) how to approach a dog…

  19. I see you are correct about Genesee. The I-90, MLK and Massachusetts one is definitelyis, of course, closer. If the upkeep is the main issue with that one then advocacy might be a possibility and maybe easier than identifying another parcel. I note that the neither Volunteer Park area nor the Montlake area have off-leash areas.

  20. bunch of lazy selfish lonely people. raise some money and buy a place to run your dogs. i bet you ‘responsible’ dog owners keep your pets locked up 23 hours a day. shame on you and your abuse to your pets and parks.

  21. Thanks everybody, there are some great ideas here. I’ll check out COLA and I’ll check out many of the other locations in the neighborhood suggested here.

    I’m a fan of having areas just for dogs off leash, both for the safety of the dogs and for kids. Off leash areas, at a minimum, should be securely fenced so that the dogs can’t run into traffic. Ideally, they also have garbage cans, poo bags, and if we’re really lucky, water for the dogs and a vestibule at the entry point.

    I second what Ace said about socialization. Even a well trained dog can behave in a way that is traumatic for child, and we’re all better off if we can prevent that situation from happening in the first place.

  22. People walk dogs past my house all of the time, and I myself have 2 dogs, that don’t like leashes much. Dogs need to run and it’s very inconvenient to have to go to Magnuson or Mercer Island. A dog park is a great way to get people out, and aren’t we always looking for ways to get people out and socializing in the CD? Sign me up. My husband and I would love to help. His company is always looking for a new place to dump woodchips, which are a great environmentally friendly way to keep a dogpark from getting muddy.

  23. If it means you will keep your dogs on leash everywhere else… I bike commute and I often find unleashed dogs running around in a few areas I ride through. Even a “nice dog” or a small dog can knock me off my bike (not to mention the STUPID woman who throws tennis balls around corners on multi use trails in a manner that makes her freaking 90 lb lab run at me! – geeze I don’t weight much more than the dog)…. so please, please keep your dogs on leash. Because I value my skin I’m not shy about requesting extra patrols from animal control and they are very responsive. In return I’ll be happy to support setting aside an area where you can safely exercise your dog.

    Oh – and your not even supposed to have dogs PERIOD at city play fields. Not only because no one wants a kid bitten, but because even if you pick up your poo there is still residue and you can’t pick up pee. Junior tends to stick his hands on the ground and in his mouth an awful lot……

  24. i live at 23rd and jackson. me and my pup mischa head over to blue dog (MLK and Mass.) park a couple of times a week. we are looking for little dogs to play with as this park is full of big dogs!