Enforcement of dog-leash rules to begin in Lake Boren Park

May 7, 2010

By Staff

City officials plan to begin enforcing dog-leash regulations in Lake Boren Park in the coming weeks.

Dogs in all city parks must be on leashes at all times, and Interim City Manager Rob Wyman said the city has been receiving complaints that people are not following the rule, specifically in Lake Boren Park.

However, the only location in which the rule is now displayed is on the park rules sign near the parking lot at the south end of the park.

“In fairness to them, they might not see that sign,” Wyman said about park users, especially those who may walk to the park or do not use the main entrance. “It’s entirely possible that people don’t know that’s the rule.”

He said some may see others letting dogs off leash in the park, and that may give them the impression there is no rule regarding leashes. For this reason, Wyman said the city will first place additional notices in the park to ensure users are aware of the rule.

“We want to kindly remind people,” Wyman said.

After placing the signs, Newcastle Police officers will begin patrolling the park on bikes. Police Chief Melinda Irvine said whether officers issue warnings or citations to violators will be circumstantial.

The fine for allowing a dog off leash in a city park is $250.


21 Responses to “Enforcement of dog-leash rules to begin in Lake Boren Park”

  1. Linda Sholand on May 7th, 2010 4:32 pm

    I was very disappointed to read that dogs have to on leash at all times at Lake Boren Park. In the past I’ve taken my dogs to the park just for access to the water. There are many conscientious and courteous dog owners who use the park. I think some consideration should made so that dogs could have off-leash access to the lake. Almost all the dog owners I’ve seen at the park keep their dogs under control and scoop up after their pets. Heck, I even scoop up when I see piles that didn’t come from my own dogs!

    Surely the north end of the park near the water could be utilized as an off-leash area. If it was posted as an off-leash area, people who don’t like dogs or who are afraid of them could avoid that section. It seems to me that this would be a perfect soluntion and both dog owners and people who don’t'want to share the park with dogs would be happy.

  2. Lou on May 10th, 2010 12:10 pm

    Why now are they deciding to enforce the dog leash law, they have allowed dogs to be unleashed for several years? This is disappointing to all the people and dogs in Newcastle that have romp around the park all these years. I do not feel this is a positive decision for alot of Newcastle resisdents.
    The council is only making a feel people happy with the decision.

  3. Lisa on May 10th, 2010 3:18 pm

    I was really bummed to hear that they are going to enforce the leash law. I have been taking my dog to Lake Boren for about a year, (I live in Newcastle).
    I have occured no problems. Just last week a two year old was playing catch with her. I do no think the council should be so strict with the leash law.

  4. Nick on May 10th, 2010 3:48 pm

    This is a shame and I do hope the City of Newcastle reconsiders this decision with an alternate that makes the park enjoyable for all it’s users. For those of us who love animals but for one reason or another can’t have them at home, getting to interact with the dogs at Lake Boren is a delight and a treat.

    I’d like to suggest as an alternate, making the park off leash prior to 10am and after 7pm, so those of us who do love the animals can enjoy them, off leash. Those that don’t will simply know when the park is off leash and can decide accordingly when to visit the park.

    Again, I’m not a dog owner and I have NEVER since Lake Boren Park was first developed, had a problem with a dog or it’s owner.

    We ALL should be able to enjoy the park. I find the mountains of trash left by families with human children far more disturbing than the playful sounds of families with canine kids.

  5. sarah on May 10th, 2010 4:19 pm

    It is frustrating, disappointing and disheartening to find the City of Newcastle being cowed by the vocal few who simply cannot get along with those who make choices different than they might make themselves.

    The dogs and their owners that frequent Lake Boren Park are responsible, tax paying members of the community who enjoy the park with their pets just as others enjoy it with their children, their church group, scouting troops, etc.

    Talk to the crew that maintains Lake Boren park and see what they have witnessed in all their time at Lake Boren. Perhaps you’ll learn that the dog owners that frequent the park recently had a poop party – to make sure the park was “clean” in anticipation of increased summer activity in the park. They might also tell you the amount of poop collected that day was minimal – because the dog owners take pride in keeping the park clean and user friendly – for ALL users.

    These same City crews might also tell you how the dogs play. That each one is different. Some are avid swimmers, others love to play ball. Some wrestle or watch the squirrels. Others, too young or too old, just enjoy sitting on the sidelines and watching. One thing that they ALL have in common is owners that care enough about them to spend the time taking them to the park to exercise and to interact with other dogs.

    Let’s try to work together, people.

  6. Josh on May 10th, 2010 8:46 pm

    Very very disappointing and this smacks of a moneygrab. No way the tiniest slice of people in the community complaining about a few dogs off leash playing with their owners suddenly out of nowhere forced the city to start enforcing at a $250 a pop fine?!? Very lame solution. Perhaps a reconsideration is in order so that we can help everyone enjoy this beautiful park? Just a crazy thought.

  7. Danielle on May 11th, 2010 10:40 am

    I must agree with everyone that commented above. My 3 little dogs and I have built some wonderful relationships at the park and look forward to nothing more than running around with our doggie friends in the evenings and weekends after a long days work. Responsible dog owners control thier dogs just like responsible parents would control thier kids. I don’t see how it is fair to discriminate against either group. Perhaps the city can put up an inexpensive wooden picket fence- much like the one at the off leash dog park by Bellevue Community College- to close off the far area of the park. Please don’t take away one of the few places doggie souls get to roam free!!!

  8. Linda C. on May 12th, 2010 12:50 pm

    I own have owned 3 homes in Newcastle in the past 27 years and still own two. I have been going to Lake Boren Park since its inception, first for my Son, and now for my two little dog. Why is this suddenly and issue? The dog owners are courteous of the humans here and in the 16+ years I’ve been going, I’ve never had a bad experience with a dog or dog owner and I go to the park nearly everyday. Those of us who have dogs have the common sense to keep our dogs leashed if there are babies or small children in the play area and take our dogs to the north end of the park when it is busy. Many of us know each other and their dogs names. Why are a few complaints ruining it for the rest of us? If a few of us complained about a few noisy and unruly children would they ban or restrict those kids from the park? If the city can afford mega bucks for new playground equipment, maybe a fenced area in the north end of the park would be an accomodating solution for us taxpapers who have dogs and need an off-leash area. Face it, Olympus and most surround neighborhoods don’t have large yards. Our dogs need exercise too, and there is nothing better than playtime with other dogs, which includes running. We are charges dog license fees, not to mention increased our property taxes. We should also get park benefits and a piece of the money pie for our fur-babies.

  9. MJ Dobbins on May 12th, 2010 2:02 pm

    Newcastle is a great place to live and the kind of city which could accommodate both dog owners and non dog owners alike as so many of our neighboring cities. It is a pity dog owners now have to drive to another city to allow their dogs off leash. I would hope the city would consider the needs of so many dog owning residents. It would be interesting to know the number of residents who would be in favor of having a dog park in Newcastle.

  10. Doug Cole on May 12th, 2010 4:10 pm

    I think, based upon my six years’ experience in Olympus, that the great majority of dog owners (and I include myself) are reasonable and responsible people who take care not to interfere with others as they also enjoy the park. I think that the dogs we bring to Lake Boren Park are also well-behaved. I have never heard of any incidents involving dogs and anti-social behavior or problematic conduct involving children or adults and though I walk my two small dogs almost daily in the park, have rarely seen more than an infrequent dog ‘souvenir’ in the grass. I have, however, seen litter and graffiti on a regular basis. I think that some accommodation for responsible dog owners ought to be feasible–maybe an isolated, fenced, off-leash area to the north or simply a reasonable period of time daily when dogs might be able to play off leash–say a couple of hours in the morning and evening. Our tax dollars pay for this facility and we all ought to be able to use it together without infringing on anyone else’s right to enjoy the park. We all ought to be able to get along–we’re a community.

  11. Cath D on May 12th, 2010 4:22 pm

    My husband and I moved to Newcastle 9 months ago and have really enjoyed walking our dog to Lake Boren park every afternoon and letting him romp with the other dogs and chase squirrels. We have always been very considerate of others enjoying the park and have never noticed any problems with the dogs interacting with children or other people – most welcome the opportunity to say hello to the dogs. Isn’t there some other solution as others have mentioned above – a fence, a designated side of the park, specific hours etc.?

  12. Carolyn Agacinski on May 12th, 2010 4:24 pm

    I am very disappointed about this recent decision to enforce the leash law at Lake Boren Park. Since we have started going to the park over a year and 1/2 ago with our little dog Norton, we have enjoyed some sincere moments of bliss. I have stated to many people how Lake Boren Park is a little slice of heaven. My dog loves to meet all the people and their dogs, and although he has the same personality on-leash as off, most dogs prefer to meet off-leash, and are far less aggressive when they are not being pulled back by their human companions. Norton also is able to get better exercise off-leash, and display some independence and true joy. We have had no problems while Norton has been off-leash, as I always ask if he can meet another dog or child before I let him advance (he’s voice-controlled). When we come into Newcastle from the Renton HIghlands to go to Lake Boren Park, we tend to stop at the QFC and/or Safeway on Coal Creek before we go home. If Lake Boren Park becomes less user-friendly for us and our dog, we will have no reason to continue to come into Newcastle, and will do our shopping closer to our home in the Highlands.

  13. Donna Burger on May 13th, 2010 10:18 am

    I recently moved to the Newcastle area from Mercer Island and was thrilled to find a nice park that my two small dogs could play in without being leashed. I respect those who do not want dogs to come up to them, especially people with small children, and I always pick up after my dogs.

    I have now learned that I could be fined for allowing my two boys a bit of running room, they are both minature greyhounds, that they need to stay fit and healthy. The large dog parks are dangerous for this breed as their legs are fragile, and typcially small dog parks (when you can find one) don’t allow enough running room.

    If building an off-leash area is a consideration, perhaps a gate between the small and large dog ares could be incorporated. This was done at dog park in Kansas City and if too large, or rambuncous, dogs came into the large area I simple called my dogs into the small area. It gave small dog owners the option of controlling the situation.

    Or, perhaps posting certain times of the day where dogs may be off-leash if they are under voice command. Early in the morning and later in the evening for those that have to work but still need to exercise their dogs. Pioneer Park on Mercer Island allows dogs off-leash if they are under voice-command and it works very well.

    Thank you,
    Donna Burger

  14. Chris Ross on May 13th, 2010 4:43 pm

    Since I haven’t heard any receptivity from the city council towards pleasing dog owners I can only assume the few (in our community and those running the city) are letting their opinion determine all of our futures. Somebody who’s very pro-family and thinks everything should be done “for the good of the children”? Well, dogs are fur children for many. Honestly it got me to near boiling point when I read the articles of the latest Newcastle News. $191,000 for signs, $350,000 for a replacement jungle gym? If you really feel you need to blow this money divide it up and give it to the residents many of whom are working more and harder for less while the city apparently rides high on the hog, oblivious to the economy.

  15. Lisa on May 13th, 2010 8:07 pm

    What might work is something like Medina park it is about 17 acres and Lake Boren is about 20-22 acres. Dogs are allowed off leash Sept.-May, and then June through Aug. they have access to just one area of the park. There is no fence just a few signs two or three. Of course Dogs on leash can be allowed all year long.
    There are alot of play areas for kids mile post, chine creek/falls, another new one by the fire station. Those all I know, maybe there is anothers.

  16. Craig on May 16th, 2010 10:04 am

    Although I’ve lived in Newport Hills for 22 years, it wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered Lake Boren Park because I seldom drove south on CCP. I used to take my daughter there to play (she’s now almost 19) and that’s when I also discovered the shopping options. After my daughter moved to TX in 2002, I didn’t have any reason to go to the park, but continued to do most of my shopping in Newcastle.

    Four years ago I got another reason to go to LBP when I got Bo. Being a responsible dog owner, I kept him on leash until I felt assured he would obey verbal commands. I’ve been taking Bo to LBP every day, off-leash, for nearly all of the past 4 years. He’s well known as the squirrel-chaser and also for being one of the best behaved dogs around. We love LBP, it’s his “hood” and where I do the majority of my socializing.

    There has been little activity in the park during the winter, so we dog owners gathered under one of the roofs out of the rain to visit while our dogs played, watched squirrels in the trees, chased balls, etc. We use the park regardless of the weather. As stated before, when the playground side is being used, we take our dogs to the south side of the park.

    I think it’s unreasonable for the city council to act on the few complaints without hearing from the rest. Since the enforcement has begun, this is the first opportunity I’ve seen for the other side of the coin to voice our opinions. I’m sure the pro-dog voices will far outweigh the anti-dog complaints.

    Again, as stated before, most of the dog owners I know are responsible and the dogs are well behaved and respond on command. Some of the dogs obey far more quickly and with no whining than some of the children in the park; I know mine does.

    The park should be for everyone. For some of us, our dogs are our family. Medina worked out a simple solution without changing the appearance of the park and with very little cost. I don’t see why Newcastle can’t do the same.

  17. Karen on May 17th, 2010 7:26 am

    I have been a resident of Newcastle for over 21 years and lived for 16 years in Olympus, the view from the back of our house was of the park. We watched it be developed. My recollection is that this will be the 3rd time the playground equipment will be replaced.

    I think the park is big enough to accommodate both dog owners and non dog owners as many other cities do. It’s also not very “green” to have to get the car to drive to another location for off leash.

  18. Valerie on May 18th, 2010 11:30 am

    Unlike others, I have always assumed that unless there is a sign that says off leash is allowed, then a public area requires a leash. That does not, however, mean that I like the way that works in Newcastle. We have two dogs, and there is NOWHERE we can go to actually let our dogs run to retrieve a ball inside Newcastle. If i go to one park i get dirty looks from people who do nothing but watch to make sure my dog doesn’t drop something that I don’t clean up.

    I would LOVE to have Lake Boren park allow dogs off leash but do understand that could require $$ to fence and maintain the area. I would be willing to pay for the use of the facility if it provided room for my dog to run, perhaps splash in the lake, and befriend other dogs.

  19. Anya on May 18th, 2010 1:41 pm

    It is very sad that Newcastle is becoming a hostile environment for the dogs and their owners.
    Sure, it has always been in the Lake Boren park rules that dogs must remain on leash, but until recently adults, children and animals were able to enjoy each other’s company in the park and be respectful of each other’s privacy without any trouble. There is no reason it has to change.

    If the city wants to impose hefty fines on rule-breakers, will they do it across the board, including kids who use bikes and skateboards on tennis courts and those who don’t clean up after themselves or just single out the dog owners?

    I do not believe that the couple people who complained and screwed it up for the rest of us had any right to do that. Sure, there are rules, but there are always reasonable diviations, so unless those complainers are a law-obedient perfection who never ran a yellow light, talked on theirs cell while driving or ever exceeded a speed limit, they have no business complaining about others bending a rule.

  20. Sue on May 18th, 2010 2:26 pm

    My 2 little boys & a silly Boxer – LOVE LAKE BOREN!
    We have met so many friendly families & most of them Dog Lovers –
    any dog you meet there is super friendly & from my experience – there has NEVER been an issue with them being off leash playing – plus most dog owners use their common sense and DO NOT take their dog OFF LEASH esp. if their furry child does not play nice with others..

    Please put in a well fenced off leash area for our furry friends to play and for their owners to meet new people! It will only enhance Newcastle & our beautiful park.. You have OUR VOTE! Thank you.. Sue W.

  21. Christine on May 18th, 2010 2:46 pm

    I am strongly for a dog park and was told this was the appropriate place to voice my opinion.

    I will probably not use the dog park for my dog because she doesn’t always do well with other ones, but I have complained to the city in the past about the number of off leash dogs that come up to my leashed dog and makes my dog upset. I am very glad they will finally enforce what has been the law for a long time.

    A dog park will allow me to actually walk my dog with my kids to Lake Boren. I can’t do this now because there are so many unleashed dogs all over the park. And 95% of them comes up to my dog and I have to pick her up because I fear for a fight as she tries to protect me and the kids. The owners always apologize and say their dog is friendly. Unfortunately, when a leashed dog encounters an unleashed dog, it is “fight or flight” as our dog trainer says. Since our dog can’t flee because she is tied up, she has to fight because she feels threatened.

    A dog park should eliminate unleashed dogs in the park. If one is built, I strongly agree there should be a separate area for small dogs. We stopped taking my 20 lb dog to dog parks because she was by far the smallest dog and most dog parks don’t have a separate area. That is probably why she has become dog aggressive recently because she can’t socialize with other dogs off leash.

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