Off-leash parks are good for dogs, their guardians and the whole community.
- Promote good canine physical health and socialization, reducing nuisance behaviors and making dogs better canine citizens
- Discourage delinquent and criminal activity in parks
- Encourage people to exercise and stimulate social interaction with other people
- Accommodate senior citizens and the disabled, who cannot always walk their dogs on leash
- Build a community of people committed to parks, community involvement and the environment
- Encourage compliance with local leash laws and reduce the number of dogs likely to end up in shelters
We naturally tend to assume that off-leash parks are primarily for the benefit of our beloved dogs, but experienced dog park users know better. Off-leash parks offer just as many benefits to humans as they do to dogs: both to dog guardians as well as the wider community.
From Seattle Mayor, Greg Nichols —
"Parks have a real role in the socialization of a city. Off-leash areas really expand upon that. We also recognize that dog guardians and their pets create an atmosphere of safety in our public parks."
From Ali Rutzel, the head of Citizens for Off-Leash Areas (COLA) —
"People say, 'I never knew my neighbors until I went to the dog park.' You meet all these wonderful people and the only thing that you have in common is that you have a dog and that you love dogs - you wouldn't meet these people anywhere else."
From John Etter, Parks Planning, Public Works Maintenance, Eugene, OR —
"Off-leash parks are community centers for people just as much as for canines."
From Dr. Lynette Hart, director of UC Davis' Center for Animals in Society —
"Dogs facilitate friendly interactions among people, as they so actively solicit play and offer greetings. Establishing a dog park creates a community center of activity where friends and neighbors gather to relax. Users of dog parks are self-policing so as to maintain the appealing environment. Creating dog parks is a method for more efficiently educating dog guardians and facilitating them in assuring excellent behavior with their dogs."
From The National Parks & Recreation Service booklet, Planning Parks for Pets —
"Designating an area where dog guardians can allow their animals to run off-leash successfully remedies this problem in parks where the concept has been introduced. Violations of the leash law and subsequent public complaints have decreased; and dog guardians have a place to legally exercise their pets. Off-leash areas allow dog guardians to be law-abiding, easing the burden of enforcement on animal control officers and freeing them to do more important work, such as animal rescue and control of dangerous animals."