He Said/She Said: Off-Leash Dogs at Seward Park

He Said/She Said: Off-Leash Dogs at Seward Park

“He Said/She Said” highlights some of the most vigorous civil debates that take place in Go: South Seattle’s Comment section. The dialogue that occurs here between friends, neighbors and engaged citizens is one of the features that makes GSS such a valuable community resource. GSS does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.

To leash or not to leash? That is the question. It all started with a simple, open-thread inquiry from RVP regular Greener Grad:

Here’s a question about Seward Park: Why do so many people have their dogs off-leash there? I have been almost knocked over by dogs as they gallop up to my leashed dog, and I can imagine how terrifying it would be to be elderly (where a fall can lead directly to a broken hip and death!) Is there a problem with the off-leash areas?

AnonymousDogOwner responded with an economic/political approach:

The “fee” for having a dog off lease is $54. I have paid it once in 8-years. 3 walks a week times 52 weeks is 156 walks a year. Time 8 years of walking the dog is over 1,200 walks. Divide that by $54 and the “off lease fee” is five cents per walk. I can deal with that… Society sends messages about what is important.

According to Haley in the House:

There is no problem with off-leash areas other than dog shit everywhere and too many dogs. In a nutshell Seward Park trails are way nicer and IMO should be off-leash anyway. Sorry if my golden retriever knocks you over, maybe you should unleash your dog and go with the flow.

OTOH, typingmonkey says:

What you’re doing is at the very least, inconsiderate. I don’t know you. I don’t know your dog. Keeping your dog on a leash in public is part of the social contract. If you and Haley don’t understand that, I’m not sure you should have a dog.

JPC goes a step further:

I have spent some time talking about this with both Animal Control and the Police and this is the advice they gave me. (1) if the animal touches you and you didn’t want it to, call the police and tell them that the dog assaulted you. The police will show up and hold the owner until the animal control officer responds. (2) If you see a dog off leash and the owner won’t put them on a leash, follow them to their car and take a photo of their license plate. You can then file a report, make a sworn statement, and the owner will get fined. The only other strategy is to practice self defense, such as pepper spray. If a dog “assaults” you, you have every right to defend yourself. Self-righteous leash law scofflaws be warned. This is the strategy I am taking to preserve my right to lawfully use the parks in my neighborhood in peace and without dog harassment.

What do you think?

Photo/Jema Hayes


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