Magnuson Park's off-leash dog area is opened for trial period on June 15, 1996.

  • By Patrick McRoberts
  • Posted 1/01/1900
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2281
On June 15, 1996, the first off-leash dog run area in a Seattle Park is opened in Magnuson Park at Sand Point. It is one of seven areas opened for dogs to run free over a year-long trial period. The off-leash areas have been subject of a very long dispute in which not all the snarls came from canines.

Councilwoman Jan Drago, who had led the charge in the Seattle City Council to create the off-leash areas, cut the ribbon at Magnuson Park.

City approval came after emotional lobbying by pet owners and without approval by the Parks Board. Citizens for Off-leash Areas (COLA) agreed to help clean up the fenced-in areas and report problems during the trial period.

The areas were later made permanent, although the extent of the areas, especially doggy access to Lake Washington at Magnuson Park, remained controversial.


Sources: Kyle R. Wood, "Dogs Sniff Out Off Leash Territories," The Seattle Times, June 10, 1996, B-1; "Free to Roam" (Photo), The Seattle Times, June 17, 1996, B-2.

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