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City crackdown on off-leash dogs in parks

The Seattle Parks Department and the Seattle Animal Shelter are stepping up enforcement at city parks being turned into unofficial “off-leash” areas by dog owners.

Park staff have created a “Top Ten” list of worst offender sites including Green Lake Park, West Queen Anne Playfield, Gilman Playfield, Bitter Lake Playfield, Ravenna/Cowen Parks and Volunteer Park.

Last weekend – the first weekend of heightened enforcement – Animal Shelter officers handed out 14 off leash citations, mostly at Volunteer and Ravenna/Cowen parks. Get this: Fines for off-leash, license and scooping violations range from $54 to $162, and can be up to $500 at a beach, according to a press release.

Dogs are allowed on leashes in most Seattle parks. They are not allowed with or without leashes at organized athletic fields, beaches, or children’s play areas. Here’s more info on official off-leash areas, including this little nugget: “If you’re female and you’re in heat, you are not allowed in off-leash areas (SMC 9.25.084).” To eliminate any confusion, they’re referring to the four-legged variety.