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Off-Leash Areas and Dog Parks: Planning and Policy

This page provides resources related to public off-leash areas for local governments in Washington State, including selected examples, rules and regulations, articles, and other resources.

About Creating Off-Leash Areas and Dog Parks

Planning and Design

The following examples provide considerations for successful planning and design of off-leash areas and/or dog parks.

Washington Local Governments with Off-Leash Areas and Dog Parks

Examples of local government and local nonprofit organization websites for off-leash areas and dog parks.

Leash Regulations for Parks and Other Public Property

The following are examples of regulations for animals in public areas that are not designated as off-leash areas.

  • Clark County Code Ch. 8.15 – Covers leash regulations and exceptions for dogs in the county and establishes enforcement authority. Dogs are required to be on-leash within the urban growth boundary and any other designated areas when off the owner’s property, unless within a permitted off-leash area.
  • Seattle Municipal Code Sec. 18.12.080 – Dogs and other pets are prohibited from running at large in any park, except within designated areas. The Superintendent may ban dogs and other pets, or a specific dog or other pet, from areas of any park if it is determined they may be a nuisance. Lists designated areas where dogs may be off-leash and establishes regulations for such areas.
  • Skagit County Code Sec. 9.41.150 – A leash no greater than 8 feet in length is required for all dogs or other pets while in a county park, except in designated off-leash areas.
  • Whatcom Humane Society: General Park Rules and Regulations – All areas not posted otherwise require dogs to be on leash at all times. Provides rules for on-leash areas and spaces where no dogs are allowed.

Advocacy and Support Organizations

Examples of organizations aimed at advocacy for off-leash areas within Washington State.

  • Citizens for Off-Leash Areas (COLA) – A non-profit that works with Seattle Parks and Recreation providng volunteer stewards, and financially supplementing the Parks Department. Details of COLA's collaboration with Seattle Parks and Recreation can be found in Seattle Parks and Recreation: People, Dogs & Parks Plan (2017).
  • DOGPAW – A non-profit that maintains four off-leash dog parks in Clark County.
  • FETCH! – A non-profit organization dedicated to providing dog owners of Island County with off-leash areas. In partnership with the Island County Parks Department, FETCH! helps maintain three off-leash parks on Whidbey Island.
  • S.O.D.A. (Serve Our Dog Areas) – A non-profit organization formed to provide ongoing support and stewardship for the off-leash dog exercising area at King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond.
  • Kitsap Dog Parks - Membership organization that works in partnership with Kitsap County to establish, support and maintain dog parks in the County.

Last Modified: June 04, 2020