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PARKS: Point Defiance off-leash park lacking

Letter by Toni E. Magelssen, Tacoma on Oct. 4, 2010 at 2:01 pm with 9 Comments »
October 4, 2010 2:25 pm

Metro Parks is not living up to the standards it set for off-leash dog parks as stated on its website. In part, this statement reads that components of an appropriate off-leash park should have open terrain and good visibility. Also stated as appropriate is perimeter fencing with separate areas for different sized and/or activity levels of animals.

I addressed the Metro Parks board about my complaints on Sept. 27 and was told that the Point Defiance Park off-leash dog park will remain as is – no fencing, heavy underbrush. Visual contact can’t be maintained, and dogs can’t read the signs designating the boundaries. In reality only about an eighth of the touted seven acres is usable.

Seattle has 11 fenced, off-leash dog parks. Portland has five fenced dog parks and 27 unfenced parks which are in open areas to allow for good visibility of your dog. Metro Parks is not addressing the needs of dog owners in the community in a timely manner.

I was a part of the team of citizens that was shown the area to be the Point Defiance dog park more than a year ago. We were told the area would be fenced, including an area for small dogs, and that the underbrush would be removed.

I would like Metro Parks to explain why it isn’t following its own “Components of an Appropriate Off-Leash Park.”

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Publico says:

    I assume you support the income tax initiative and oppose overturning the taxes on soda and candy, otherwise we are not paying for your secure dog area. Sick kids come first.

  2. ronniew says:

    You know what? Every place can’t be all things to all people. My favorite signs are the parks in Juneau. They read “dogs must be on leash or under competent voice control at all times.” If you can’t keep your dog in sight, and under control, please use a leash AT ALL TIMES.

  3. Flanagan says:

    How bout leaving your dog home.

  4. ~
    as someone who runs and bikes in that park, I am all for the off leash dog park being properly fenced.

    There are already enough problems with inconsiderate dog owners who refuse to leash or control their animals in the park as it is.

    Why not make it easier for those who want to be responsible and take their dogs to an appropriate place to run free?

  5. Metro Parks provides few secure areas for off-leash dogs and the City imposes a $249 fine, with zero provision for competent voice control. If cost is the issue in a recession, how about loosening up and allowing leash OR voice command. I think most dog owners would be fine with that provision until such time as the economy recovers and we can afford fully fenced off-leash areas.

    Draconian, unnecessarily strict and punative off-leash laws without provision of acceptably secure parks is untenable. You’re setting up a situation where othewise law-abiding citizens have no practical choice but to be lawbreakers.

    Allowing voice command is a simple and zero cost solution.

  6. reformedliberal says:

    Package the fencing project along with a pay increase for Park Board members, and resubmit it. That’s how parks get improved around here.

  7. schipperke says:

    Per the City of Tacoma Public Records Tacoma Municipal Court has filed 46 infractions for violation of TMC 17.02.050 Dog Off Premises To Be On Leash between 01/01/10 and 09/30/10. We all know there are more dogs off leash than attached to a leash in our park and playgrounds on a daily basis. I would like to know how a person uses “voice command” in 7 acres of dense bushes and trees. Perhaps with the use of a loudspeaker is the answer. There are some breeds of dogs who are never to be let loose in an uncontrolled area such as the Afghan Hound, Schipperke and many others. Metro Parks needs to step up to the plate at Pt Defiance and complete the project.

  8. Sweetlilbaby6948 says:

    Instead of complaining about the park not being fenced in why not get together with other people that go to the park and raise money to get the supplies to fence in the off leash area?
    I’m sure the parks department would be fine with people donating money or supplies to better the park.
    As for the brush, talk to the park department about being able to plan another clean up party. Get a big group of people to volunteer to come in and clear out the brush.
    Just going and whining to them about what you want isn’t the way to get things done. If you truly want the park fenced and cleaned up then you need to get up and do something about it.

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