Edmonds Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By Brian Soergel
Edmonds Editor 

Dogs rule: Pets now free to roam parks and waterfront pathway – on a leash


August 22, 2019

Maria A. Montalvo

Lulu, whose owner is Edmonds Beacon contributor Maria A. Montalvo, walks along the path at Marina Beach. On a leash, of course.

If you have a dog in Edmonds – and who doesn't, really – you may be confused about just where your canine companions are allowed on leashes in our pet-friendly city.

Be confused no more.

The rules about dogs in parks have been changed and codified into Edmonds law. It's much simpler now, City officials say.

City Council members have approved an updated code regarding dogs in parks on a trial basis. Repeat, trial basis. This means dog owners need to play along. So dogs in parks must remain on a leash and in the owners' control.

According to the City, Edmonds does not have a significant dog enforcement team, so it appreciates the efforts of dog owners to self-police themselves. A bonus: In addition to expanding opportunities for pet owners, parks crews are installing additional dog waste stations in parks.

"I get new people, and also people who've been in Edmonds a long time, call me and say, 'If I abide by the rules, where can I walk my dog? And I pick a city code' " said Carrie Hite, Edmonds' former Parks and Recreation director, who now holds a similar position in Redmond. Hite was instrumental in crafting Edmonds' new park rules for pets.

"And I said, 'Well, the asphalt or pathways in Sierra Park, the inner trails of Pine Ridge Park, all trails in Maplewood Park. It was just very regulated, and it's really hard to enforce. We had to refer to our code all the time."

Before she left, Hite spoke to dog owners in town, park crews, and the City's park maintenance manager. Essentially, the City's former code was written because – surprise – dog owners were not picking up after their pets.

Edmonds wanted to limit where dogs were allowed.

"But that was a long time ago, and we're in a time where people are picking up after their pets more, and we are prepared to add some doggy bag stations in our parks," Hite said. "We just thought it would be a friendlier approach for the city and for citizens to say, hey, you know, we're going to allow dogs in the parks. Just make sure they are on a leash, the owner is in control, and you pick up after your pets."

New dogs in parks FAQ

What is the biggest change?

You can now walk your dog along the waterfront pathway all the way from Brackett's Landing North to Marina Beach Park. You now no longer have to detour around Marina Beach to get to the off-leash dog park. Also, you may take your dog (on a leash) into parks provided you keep them off of athletic fields (soccer, baseball, etc.), playgrounds, and the spray park.

Can I take my dog to the Frances Anderson Center Playfields?

Dogs are not allowed on athletic fields or playgrounds, which essentially eliminates most of the Frances Anderson outdoor play area, with the exception of the grass hillside and sidelines of the athletic fields.

Can I take my dog to Civic Park?

Yes, you can walk your dog on leash at Civic Park, but keep them off of the playground an baseball and soccer fields.

Can I take my dog onto the beach?

Only in the off-leash dog park. Our beaches are marine wildlife sanctuaries and are off limits for dogs.

Can I take my dog onto the fishing pier?

No animals are allowed to enter or remain on the fishing pier unless they are service animals being used by those needing accommodation.

Can I take my dog with me to my kids' game?

Yes, you can have your dog with you on the sidelines, provided you do not allow them onto the athletic field.

I have children who are very afraid of dogs; where can I take them that will not have dogs?

Dogs have and will continue to be prohibited from all playgrounds (and the spray park) for this very reason. The idea is to keep kids safe – and sanitary.

Are dogs allowed at special events such as the Edmonds Arts Festival, Summer Market, and the Taste?

Each of these events lease space from the City and are authorized to establish and enforce their own rules with regards to dogs, provided they do not allow them onto playgrounds and that they remove all dog waste from fields at the conclusion of the event. This includes special events held at the Frances Anderson Center; events are authorized to determine whether or not they will allow dogs on the fields during such events, provided they abide by the rules.

Can I play fetch with my dog on fields?

You can do that at the off-leash park at Marina Beach; all other parks require you to keep your dogs on their leashes.

Can I take my dog onto school grounds/fields?

Yes, as long as you abide by the Edmonds School District signs at each location.

Maria A. Montalvo

Lulu at Marina Beach Park

What do I do if I see someone violating the dog rules?

Beach rangers will be patrolling beaches during summer and reminding dog owners to keep their pets off the beach. In addition, Edmonds has two animal control officers who cannot be in every park at the same time. The City asks that dog owners support its efforts in self-policing each other to the extent they feel comfortable. If at any time you feel threatened, or unsafe around an animal (any animal), call 911.

Many of the parks have signs or stencils on the ground stating "No Dogs Allowed." Will those be removed?

Yes, the City is working to update the signage in parks to reflect the new rules and to install more doggie waste stations in our parks this summer.


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