The Medina City Council is considering changes to the off-leash dog rules that caused a stir when they were enacted last year at the popular...

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The Medina City Council is considering changes to the off-leash dog rules that caused a stir when they were enacted last year at the popular Medina Park.

After some citizens complained that dogs running free were disturbing picnics and knocking over children, city leaders decided last July to ban unleashed dogs from a northwestern section of the park (about a third of the total area) between mid-April and mid-October. They also agreed to revisit the issue in a year.

Now, the council is considering two main changes: Allowing dogs off-leash throughout the entire 15-acre park from 6 to 9 a.m. year-round, and shortening the seasonal restriction to May 1-Sept. 30, according to City Manager Doug Schulze.

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The council will continue to consider alternatives and may vote as soon as Sept. 12.

Schulze said the council came up with the proposed changes after receiving comments from community members and recommendations from city staff.

“A number of people didn’t like the changes last year,” he said.

At a meeting Monday night, residents made suggestions to the council, ranging from eliminating leash laws altogether to banning off-leash dogs throughout the park, at Northeast 12th Street and 82nd Avenue Northeast.

Many dog owners are still angry about the restrictions passed last year, while others worry that without the rules, non-dog owners who want to enjoy the grounds would be prevented from doing so.

Allyson Jackson, a longtime resident and dog owner who has also used the park with her children, suggested the council tweak the seasonal ban of off-leash dogs in the park’s west end to allow the dogs if no other park users are present.

She also said that the dog uses should generally be moved to the east end, separated from the rest of the park by a stream and several ponds. “That way people can picnic without worrying,” she said.

Jackson also suggested the city create a formal tracking mechanism to ensure that rules are obeyed and enforced.

According to a recent city survey, 20 percent of residents want dogs on leashes all the time within the park, almost 30 percent want dogs under voice control with no leash required year-round (the rules before last year), and a third of citizens agree with the current rules.

Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or nsinger@seattletimes.com