Dogs in parks belong on their leashes

With the return of warm weather, the kids, teens and dogs are all back in North Kitsap parks. The bad news is that the dogs aren't on their leashes, even though signs clearly tell owners to leash their four-legged friends.

With the return of sunshine, Raab Park, Waterfront Park and any other patch of grass, the kids and dogs are back. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that many of the dogs are not on leashes.

In Raab Park on Sunday dog-walkers strolled right past the “keep dogs on a leash” sign on their way to play in the park with their four-footed friends. Most of the dogs we saw off-leash were not in the “off-leash area” provided by the park specifically for dogs to run and play off the leash.

Instead there were dogs of all sizes running among some toddlers who were flattened, delighted or terrified when a large dog bounded up unexpectedly. Softball games among teenagers were interrupted by dogs running loose, and there was at least one dog fight that broke out when a non-sociable dog (on a leash) was approached by a dog off the leash.

A youngster on Bainbridge Island recently required extensive facial plastic surgery after an unfortunate encounter with an unleashed dog in a park. After that event, Bainbridge put teeth into their “no unleashed dogs” in parks rules. Perhaps Poulsbo needs to consider the same approach to unleashed