In these hot August days, you're likely to see a lot more dogs taking a swim in Seattle. But there's only one beach dogs are allowed in Seattle, and that's in Magnuson Park.
The city parks department has a plan to fix up Seattle's dog parks. But to the chagrin of some dog owners, there are no new beaches or dog parks planned.
The city parks department has proposed a master plan for dog parks, with $500,000 to spend over the next five years. It's focused on improving the existing dog parks, with things like trail repairs and new water stations. It will also pay for two staffers to enforce the city's dog laws.
The parks department says it understands the desire for more dog parks, but there's not enough money.
That reasoning isn't sitting well with COLA, Citizens for Off Leash Areas. They want more dog parks and beaches, and special hours at public parks for dogs to run free. Ellen Escarcega is COLA's board chair.
Escarcega: "We've heard about three-legged dogs who are prescribed swimming from their vets, in order to build their muscle tone, and they can only swim in Magnuson. Or if you have a service dog, Magnuson beach is not ADA accessible. And equity issues – 'I live in Rainier Beach and it takes me four miles to get to a dog park.'"
She says when people don't have off leash areas nearby, they let their pets run free at other public parks. Escarcega says the city should allocate more money for dog parks than the $500,000 in the master plan.
The parks department is taking public comments until Oct. 14.