More Funding for OLAs!

Negotiations are starting on the 2018 city budget, and we need your help to get funding for more off-leash areas across the city. The size and number of off-leash areas (OLAs) in Seattle are inadequate for the number of dogs in the city, and the result is every neighborhood park with a grassy field is being turned into a defacto off-leash area. Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) wants to solve this issue by increasing enforcement, but that does not solve the problem, it only penalizes people who don’t live close to an off-leash area and are trying to provide their dogs with adequate exercise. City funds are needed to expand the OLA system so that all dog owners have access to legal off-leash land, but we can need your voice to make this happen. Click here to email the city council!

SPR has stated on several occasions that the current number of OLAs in the city is inadequate to meet demands, but instead of adding new off-leash areas, they are using the entire dog park budget on capital improvements at existing OLAs. While citizens deserve maintenance and improvements in existing dog parks, the SPR’s allocation of funds does nothing to address the demand for more off-leash areas. Between 20%-30% of Seattle homes have dogs. That is 20%-30% of tax paying citizens that are not getting the access their family needs to public lands. We need money in the city budget dedicated to constructing new, equitably spaced off-leash areas around the city. Make your voice heard by email the city council today!

We Need Your Help!

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Subject Line: Please include money to construct new dog parks in the 2018 city budget.

To: council@seattle.gov, info@seattlecola.org, info@carymoonformayor.com, info@jennyforseattle.com

To the Seattle City Council,

I am writing you today because we need dedicated monies in the Seattle budget for construction of new off-leash areas to meet equity and access goals of the City. Seattle claims to be the most dog friendly city in the country, but for dog owners who cannot afford dog walkers, doggie daycares, or other pay-to-play services, this is not the case. Seattle only has 26 acres of legal off-leash land, as compared to over 100 ac in similarly sized cities. These off-leash areas (OLAs) are often inadequate in size and are difficult to access without a personal car or if one relies on public transit. Dog parks have many community and social benefits for dogs and their owners and should be available to all communities in our city.  

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) has claimed on many occasions that our existing OLAs do not come close to meeting the demand of the nearly 200,000 dogs in our city. While citizens deserve maintenance and improvements in existing parks, the Department’s allocation of funds does nothing to address the demand. Between 20%-30% of Seattle homes have dogs. That is 20%-30% of tax paying citizens that are not getting the access their family needs to public lands. We need money in the city budget dedicated to constructing new, equitably spaced off-leash areas around the city.

The values of OLAs are many and they actually serve not only the dog owners but all citizens.  OLAs serve as “community centers” for dog owners. They encourage people to get out of the house and meet neighbors . Plus, they are great for deterring crime and encouraging positive activation of open spaces. OLAs also help dogs get much needed exercise and socialization. Well exercised and well socialized dogs are less likely to be aggressive, reactive, destructive, and less likely to excessively bark. In short, dog park dogs make better neighbors. Furthermore, providing legal off-leash land to underserved neighborhoods will give owners the opportunity to exercise their dogs legally rather than running dogs off-leash where they shouldn’t be.

We need money in the city budget dedicated to constructing new, adequately sized, equitably spaced OLAs throughout the city. The options for how to meet the demand for legal off-leash land are many, but only with specific inclusion in the budget and your directives to SPR will citizens be fairly served. Please include money for the construction of new off-leash areas in the 2018 city budget.

Sincerely,

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