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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dog owners growling about off-leash tickets in Elysian Park *

Some frequent dog walkers in Elysian Park said they have noticed an increase in the enforcement of off-leash laws. One person named Natasha said officers and their vehicles have been a common sight in and near the park – which runs along the eastern edge of Echo Park and Elysian Heights – since Feb. 13. The officers have issued warnings, $250 tickets and taken other action against offending dog owners, said Natasha by email:

“Is this a way to collect taxes, harassing dog owners? There is also a rumor that they arrested a dog owner who was giving them a hard time. Watch out!”

Senior Lead Officer Joseph Orlanes with the city’s Office of Public Safety, which patrols the parks, said enforcement of off-leash laws has been stepped up in Elysian Park but that has been the case for the past several months now. Also, he said he was unaware of anyone getting arrested as a result of being ticketed or warned about leash-law violations.

Orlanes enforcement was increased  following complaints from Recreation and Parks staff as well as residents.  “This has been ongoing and will continue,” he said.

Update: New photo above shows an Angeleno Heights woman who was cited for leash-law violations on Sunday, Feb. 13.  The woman said she was ticketed even after she had put her dog back on its leash. Another member in her group who did not have a leash for his dog was temporarily handcuffed by an officer and then released.

“He kept asking what’s going on,” the woman said of the man who was handcuffed. “He kept being shut down. They decided that he was not cooperating” and handcuffed him. She said all three persons  plans to challenge their tickets.

Photo courtesy Angeleno Heights resident

96 comments

  1. I love dogs, but I don’t understand why dog owners would have a problem with keeping their dogs on a leash. It is a common curtsey to do so in an environment where dog owners and non-dog owners coexist and where curtain rules apply.

  2. I know we like to pretend that EP is filled with hipsters with off leash pit bulls “ruining the neighborhood” but its actually the older residents who have been here longer who often have a sense of entitlement about the trails and are the ones growling.

    Younger dog owners, especially of large breed dogs like pitties, are often the responsible ones.

    And yes, it is a way to collect money that is used to keep the trails and parks open to everyone.

  3. Good. Walking your dog without a leash is grossly negligent. The best thing for your pet’s safety is to keep it on a leash.

  4. I am a longtime, experienced dog trainer. I always suggest to my clients that they keep their dogs on a leash. Even though your dog may be perfectly off-leash trained and well behaved, you can’t count on the dogs of others to behave and not to be aggressive. Only if you have a leash attached to your dog can you protect it from a potentially dangerous situation.

    Dogs are dogs………they dart into traffic, chase squirrels, run away when attacked, etc. And don’t always think it’s the massive Pit Bull, Dobe or Shepherd that you need to watch out for. Those little dogs (Chihuahuas, Yorkies, etc) can bite, too! It’s our job as owners to keep our dogs safe and out of harms way.

  5. Setting the blame-game aside…..

    The Cops are on a revenue collecting frenzy in EP.

    Several weeks ago, they were handing out $190+ jaywalking
    tickets like candy at EP & Sunset.

  6. I totally agree with the comments so far.
    Keep your dogs on a leash. It’s that simple.

  7. In answer to Natasha’s email about the police “harassing dog owners” for tax revenue by enforcing leash laws, I would counter that the officers are primarily harassing a particularly leash-avert subset of the group and there’s a simple perhaps painfully obvious way to avoid getting pinched. An equally apparent option to avoid something as severe as an arrest would be to refrain from doing anything during the citation process that might give said officers any cause to arrest you.

    As to ageist Angie’s belief that citations are an exceptional civic fundraising tool, fact is their not really. Blogdowntown did an excellent breakdown of where the money goes for a $190 jaywalking ticket (coincidentally another law where one can avoid being cited by simply not breaking it), and found that only $22.54 — roughly 11% — ends up in the city’s coffers. As to Angie’s assertion that the money from off-leash violations goes back to maintenance of the very trails the scofflaws were cited upon seems highly unlikely.

  8. I’m somewhat (pleasantly) surprised at all the pro on leash comments. As a dog owner with a somewhat skittish dog who will get fearfully aggressive, I’ve had several encounters with dogs off leash running up to my dog with it leading to a scuffle. I understand wanting your dogs to run and feel free, but unfortunately not all dogs are super friendly and it can become scary for other dog owners.

  9. I agree with the above comments. If you don’t have your dog on a leash, then you’re being irresponsible. You may think your dog is friendly, but that doesn’t mean another dog will think the same; dogs are animals, and no matter how well trained, may react agressively in certain situations. I always walk my dogs on leash, yet we’ve still been attacked 4 times…. all by dogs offleash.

  10. It’s not a way to collect taxes, it’s a way to collect fines for walking your dog off-leash when it’s against the law. Your taxes actually pay for the guy to give people tickets for having their dog off-leash. The reason they do that is because there’s a chance your dog might not be as awesome as you think it is, and you’re not the only person that exists.

  11. i walk the trails all the time and i think the biggest problem in that park is the homeless people who live in the bushes in the park…..also theres a really bad part where they have a tent and use the bathroom right in the bushes the smell is really bad

  12. I am happy to see all the pro-leash comments, too! It’s safer for your dog and for other people and their dogs. People should not feel so “entitled” to have their dogs run around off leash in public. Get over yourselves. Also, responsible dog owners, who keep their dogs leashed, are also the ones who are probably picking up after their dogs and thank you! Dog waste on the street, or in parks, is gross and an environmental hazard since it washes out to the ocean through the storm drains without being treated as sewage. My own dog is awesome but he can’t be trusted off-leash and especially not around unleashed dogs that have no sense of boundaries.

  13. Will, I’m not ageist, I was actually pointing out the ageism that occurs when this topic is brought up in many circles. Inevitably (as just happened on the EPAA Group) someone blames young people who drink coffee and have pit bulls as if this problem was caused by new/young people moving to Echo Park. It’s become The Eastsider Constant Comment: blame the new hipster kids.

    If you’re on the trails and take any notice of who is actually breaking this particular law it is consistently long time residents who feel entitled to use the park as they see fit.

  14. elysian park neighbor

    I’m so glad to read this. I stopped walking my dogs in Elysian Park because I had so many crappy experiences with oblivious people letting their dogs off leash–and then being on their cellphones or being completely rude when I let them know that my (always leashed) dogs might not react well if their dgos ran up to us. It was so stressful that it defeated the purpose of going on a long walk. I don’t wish anyone ill, but the signs at all the entrances to the park state clearly that in the park, dogs should be leashed. My observation is that when they’re not, usually their owners are people who are lazy or don’t walk their dogs regularly, and so think it’s a hassle. I never thought I’d say this, but thanks, Office of Public Safety. Sure, it’s a good way for the city to collect revenue. Why not?

  15. “My observation is that when they’re not, usually their owners are people who are lazy or don’t walk their dogs regularly, and so think it’s a hassle.”

    Well, one comment from the other side – sometimes their owners aren’t lazy, or on their cellphones, or rude — sometimes their owners don’t have huge yards, and want to let their dogs have the joy of running free for just a little bit, while living in a place where it’s otherwise not safe to let your dog off leash.

    Now, if the dog is a behavioral problem (even a tiny bit), then of course you better keep it on a leash. And equally strongly, I believe that it’s every dog owner’s responsibility to clean up after their dog.

    Of course, I don’t think a dog’s pleasure should override a person’s enjoyment of the park – I just thought/hoped that the two things could co-exist in this one place.

  16. Angie, your perception and opinion of the older and entitled segment of the Elysian Park dogwalking demographic as being more irresponsible than the younger, hipper, caffeinated and pitbull-oriented segment is certainly and rightfully yours to have and to broadcast — and may very well be true!

    I can’t and won’t dispute it because I don’t have the incontrovertible facts and data you must have accumulated to have arrived at such a partial and potentially polarizing judgment.

    But I will argue against the defending of one group and the blaming of the other mainly, it seems, because you’re anticipating the opposite potentially happening.

    The more important point is dogs are being walked off-leash and irregardless of the age of the animals’ guardians its happening to such a degree that the authorities are doing something to reduce it.

  17. Good. Read the posted signs everywhere. Keep the dogs on leash.

  18. There is a dog park in Silver Lake if you want your dog to have the joy of running free.

  19. @pdway

    That’s really very sweet. Unfortunately those two things can’t co-exist if you selfishly and naively have your dogs off-leash. Because at the end of the day, dogs, to put it in as simple terms as possible, are dogs. No matter how trained/well-behaved you as their humans know them to be, they’re still animals and thus unpredictable. It’s not safe for you, your dogs, or anyone/thing you may encounter along the way. It’s also not fair to the rest of us who understand why certain rules are in place and thus have our dogs (whom we love very much and treat very well) on their leash.

    As for not having a backyard. Well, you know, violins and tears. You may consider taking your dogs to a dog run (there’s one in Silver Lake by the reservoir) or somewhere else (a boarding place, your new home in Chatsworth, etc.) where ALL the dogs are off-leash and it’s understood and it’s cool. Because the fact is it’s not just about the needs of you and/or your dogs. It’s about common courtesy, a general sense of awareness, and the fact that we all live in a major city, as opposed to say, a farm.

    My dog and I are all for this tax. Good for Jerry. Hopefully it will help pull people’s heads out of asses and clouds regarding this issue.

  20. I would like to see a leash optional part of the park. I don’t think it is too much to ask. It will be a place for obedient dogs who are well trained and have responsible owners. I walk my dog on and off leash in Elysian so far without incident. I do so because I am assertive, I put her on when I see a dog who doesn’t want to be bothered or an aloof owner, and I do this because my dog is well trained and it is a pure joy for her. The city can still ticket folks who walk dogs off leash in the leash only section and the folks who feel their dogs are fine off leash can enjoy the open trails. Simple solution.

  21. @P. Peeve

    Tried to word my note in a respectful manner, knowing that it was against the grain of opinions on here, why the need to take
    such a nasty tone in your reply?

  22. @pdway

    You’re right, I was being a prick. Sorry. For that I really and truly apologize. That being said, you’re being a prick when you walk your dog off-leash. Just being anything BUT respectful. What’s worse? My hurting your feelings on this forum? Or one of our dogs being hurt? If I was harsh, it’s because I honestly don’t think you get it. If you did, your dog would be on a leash and everybody would be happy.

    I’m out. Please keep your dog on a leash from now on.

  23. this is bullshit. get over it people. I take my off the beaten path.

  24. It is about time. WAY overdue. I was charged by a dog a few years back while running and the owner just smiled and said that “he won’t actually bite”. I let her know what I thought of that.

    Now if only they could give $2500 tickets for not picking up your dogs SHIT. Often it is the same entitled long term residents who don’t notice their dog just took a SHIT on our hiking path because they are off leash and around the bend.

    News flash for any dog owner, obviously the sentiment is that this is long overdue and the community is really over it. It is the law, and just like not wearing a motorcycle helmet or a seatbelt, you should be ticketed for it.

  25. I know off-leash dogs have been the subject of many posts on the EchoElysian Forum and on NELAlist and other forums in surrounding areas.
    I know from the Mt Washington perspective, there are people who are afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods because people let their dogs run free and the dogs are not controlled or people friendly.
    And since the park is home to wild creatures, dogs off leash can make their lives difficult or short lived.
    As someone who reads the local forums, there’s another issue that no one has mentioned so far: Lost dogs. People are always finding lost or stray animals, or people report their own animal lost. It doesn’t take long for a dog to run off and be lost if it’s chasing something and that can lead to heartbreak.
    A lot of people own dogs without knowing or learning much about them. Dogs like structure, so being on a leash is not an imposition on their freedom, it gives them a sense of security–you’re on the other end of that leash. For more freedom, I suggest creative play–frisbees, throw toys, etc.
    Dogs do enjoy play, esp. when they’re interacting with you.

  26. The people who are the most adamant about their “rights” to have their dogs off leash are often the same ones who let the dogs run out of sight, far around bends in the trail, while they chat with other people, talk on cell phones or do other things that make them totally oblivious of what their dogs may be doing up ahead.
    I’m tired of dealing with situations involving your unleashed darlings, people! If you insist on letting them run off leash, please, at the least, keep them in sight and in voice control.

  27. On most days, the upper trails of the park average 9 in 10 dogs off-leash. On saturday and sunday afternoons, I’ve passed 50 dogs, all unleashed. It’s annoying. It’s dangerous. It’s selfish. It’s illegal.

    Is there a number we can call to report violators? I consider this a much worse issue than the vendors in the park.

  28. So glad that leash laws are being enforced. I’m tired of dogs running up my stairway and porch. I am a cat owner. My home faces Elysian Park. I wish the dog walkers that don’t live in the immediate area just go away. I’m tired of picking up after unleashed dogs and having, twice, my cats, when they were younger, chased up a tree on my own property. I make it clear that with no uncertain terms, an unleashed dog that either threatens me, my family, or cat, or tresspasses will face lethal force to be stopped. End of story. End of unleashed dog. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. The Bible teaches us that.

  29. This thing seems to be pretty wide spread right now. I’ve noticed a lot more enforcement at the unofficial Lake Hollywood dog park, and on the surrounding trails.
    Be careful out there!

  30. Another thing about dog walkers, not all, but many, those with leashed or unleashed dogs: Too many pick up the excrement deposited by their dogs, put in a plastic bag, and then dump feces in my trash cans. Sounds great doesn’t it..until a day or two later when the driveway and porch area smells very unsavory. Take your dog’s shit home, please.

    I am a dog lover, but feel a dog mandates responsibility and does not bestow entitlement. In fact, I consider that the area is overrun with dogwalkers..dogwalkers from out of area. Time to fire up the old motocross motorcycle and scare the troops with the 400 cc Husqvarna…wide freakin’ open on the park trails…tit for tat, ya know!!

  31. Its ABOUT TIME !!!
    The trails of Elysian Park have been used and abused by dog owners !
    Elysian Park is NOT a huge dog waste pit like it has become !
    The trails used to be peaceful , and now there are mainly a bunch if morons that flock to the park let their dogs run wild and think its cute when they jump all over you !
    I can’t even run on the trails like I used to because it is swarming with morons that read somewhere on an internet blog that Elysian Park is the holy grail of off leash dog walking !
    Rules are Rules ! Follow them !
    Or go back to Runyon Canyon , take your dogs , fancy cars and cell phones with you ! Ugh !

  32. Dogs off leash? How about the weird zombies cruising for sex and drugs? The cops certainly don’t seem to have a handle on that. Perhaps the fines for that aren’t as substantial. I hiked the east side of the park for the first time two weeks ago and I can assure you it wasn’t off leash dogs I was concerned were going to jump all over me. I’m all for cleaning up the park but let’s start with the glaring problems before we quibble over leash/off-leash.

  33. Leash your dogs and your zombies.

  34. I’m now considered an EP old timer, I moved to EP 20+ years ago, we were probably referred to as the hipsters back then and I’m sure everyone hated us…probably with good reason. At any rate, off-leash dogs are a huge problem in Elysian Park. From the old and entitled long time residents (possibly hipsters in their day) and new residents, hipsters or not, many walk their dogs off leash.

    The one common thread about off-leashers is that they all seem very entitled. When they put it to writing, all their dogs are well-mannered, it’s always those other people’s dogs who are unattended, aggressive and don’t pick up after “their” dogs. All seem to be martyrs for their “cause”. To which I reply, BULLSHIT. Put a leash on your dog when you go to the park, if you want to take your dog off-leash, get yourself and your dog to the off-leash dog park…that’s why they exist. For those who get tickets, you are victims of your own bad choices, so live with it, pay your fine and no one wants to hear your whining.

    I walk my dogs daily in Elysian Park, they are always leashed. I do not want your off-leash dog anywhere near my dogs – period. I don’t trust your dogs even though you say “s/he is nice”, I don’t care, don’t believe it and want nothing to do with your dog being near mine. How on earth would you even know if mine are aggressive or not, why would you allow your dog to be put into a potentially dangerous situation? By the way, mine are not aggressive at all, but I’ll never tell you that. And yes, mine have been gone after by off-leash dogs. I walk with protection now.

    Leash up or shut up and go to an off-leash park. No whining when you get ticketed.

    Old as Dirt

  35. Pro-leash. Anti-zombie.

  36. How about what they do in NY? Off-leash early AM hours. I think between 6am and 7am off-leash is allowed. After that, they ticket.

  37. Right on Frou and David Buchman. To change the subject a little. Those damn dog walkers are in front of my house (on Ewing below the park) all of the time and let the dogs crap and don’t pick up after them and when they do it goes right into whatever trash bin happens to be out. And I do see crap in my driveway that some irresponsible owner decided to just leave there or it was some stray dog that happens to walk by. Unfortunately, I have not caught them in the act to confront them. Also, the last time I walked the park it was filled with dog crap. It was disgusting. I have not been there since.

  38. They have been up there for weeks. I talked to 3 cops today about it and expressed my unhappiness with them doing a job that Animal Control should be doing and wasting police time, when we need them doing more important things. They where good humored, and said they where picking up the slack because of cuts in Animal control… and said a few bad apple with bad dogs just made it bad for the rest of us. On a side note, I got a ticket this last summer and it was about $180, not $250, either way big hit in the pocket. And yes they can arrest you if they can’t find info on you when they radio in if you have no ID, I almost found that out the hard way when I got my ticket and had no ID.

  39. @ frou

    Can you please describe these “fancy cars” that you speak of?

  40. The “fancy cars ” that block entrances to fire roads .
    Is what I “speak of ” of wise one , oh confucious .

    Whatever !

  41. Have been reading all the back and forth. One very good comment posted was about the creeps who inhabit the other side of the trail (trolling for sex) and why the police resources are being spent focussing on off leash dogs when there are surely more pressing concerns in our neighborhood (i.e. Armenian thugs selling drugs at Baxter St. school – yes one was arrested there last week and was ID’d to cops by Select Patrol.)

    There is also alot of nasty back and forth blaming long time residents or new residents. The reality is all of us feel entitled about how we want to enjoy our walks in the park. I’ve lived here a long time and for most of that time, people were too afraid to walk in the park because the trails were narrow and unkempt and there were gang members. Now in the last 5 yrs or so since the neighborhood has become more gentrified and the park trails widened and the park can safely be used for walking, running, etc. we are all wanting to use the park the way we want to and CONTROL the others who don’t match up with our version of how the trails should be used. Just because there is a leash law doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenged. There are lots of laws that are not necessarily in everyone’s best interest. Just cause it is a law does not make it the word of god.

    Very good suggestion was made about petitioning for off leash hours. Some of us from the Echo Park Animal Alliance list are considering looking into it. For those interested you can contact me at toppyteo@yahoo.com. If it is not something you want to help research however, please don’t email there to let me know you are against it.

    I personally find it offensive when people walk on the trail with thier ears jammed up with earbuds obliviously listening to music or whatever, ignoring everyone who walks by and not being able to hear what is going on around them. I had to yell at a woman three times the other day because a truck was coming up on the trail behind her but she was in lala land plugged into her ipod. Should there be a law about not using earbuds in the park because it is dangerous? Doubt that will ever happen. Wonder what would happen however if an oblivious music listener got hurt or mugged because thier attention was otherwise engaged. A lawsuit? Anyway, I digress. The point I am trying to make is that there are always going to be people doing things we don’t like – does that give us a right to try and control thier behavior? We live in a diverse and crowded city and when you are out and about stuff happens that you CANNOT control. For every story of an out of control dog there are stories of well behaved animals that share the trail. They tend to cancel each other out.

    Anyway, for those who want to see if we can get some movement on off leash hours please email as noted above. Thanks!

    Bettina

  42. @ zgirlla: I’d be tremendously interested to know what law any arresting officer would cite for not being able to “find info on you when they radio in if you have no ID.” An officer’s inability to access information is not the citizen’s responsibility. More specifically: Not having ID as a pedestrian is not a crime.

    Unless you’re operating a motor vechicle (or in certain cases needing to demonstrate proof of legal status in this country) there is no law stating that you must have identification with you. Taking it one federal step further, you are not required to identify yourself to police without cause under the 4th Amendment.

    However, if you are arrested for any other reason… say, for obstructing, or interfering with, or threatening, or fleeing from an officer citing you for walking your dog off-leash and away from that steaming pile of poop it just dropped, you could be charged with an additional crime if you intentionally misidentify yourself.

  43. I am very happy that the city is cracking down on this issue. I live around the corner from the park and was really excited to have a place to walk my little dog on leash through the park when I moved to the neiborhood over a year ago… Until this past summer when I was walking my dog on a leash and a 75lb pitbull barrels down the hill as my liitle guy freaking him out so badly that he started to flip uncontrollably as I tried to break it up the pit bull either scrached me or bit me.. The owner finally arrived and as I was bleeding I said to her strongly “leash” all she could say like most arrogant dog owners “there’s nothing wrong with my dog it’s your dog”. My little 10lb dog on a leash???

    Well thank you park services for giving back a safer E.P. to people who follow the law and their
    leashed dogs).

  44. Since Toppyteo broadly questions whether we or the city has the right to control behavior of people doing things distasteful to others, I’d urge any of those sex trolls she mentions at the top of her comment to email her and offer their assistance in exploring opportunities to petition for hours enabling them to do their thing free of persecution.

  45. B.S ! B.S ! Bettina!
    I HAVE NEVER EVER been afraid to walk in the park ! And I GREW UP HERE !
    I am more afraid now of being bitten by a dog !
    I’m so tired of peoiple saying Elysian Park was a scary unkempt trail ! Ooooh scccaarrryy !
    Such Lies ! Sounds like you never went up there !
    I have been going up there since high School in the late 70’s and it has NEVER been what you describe ! Cholos ? Get real ! They can’t hike in long cut off shorts and tube socks !
    Narroiw trails ? Muggings ? What park are YOU talking about ?
    It was rustic yes , but it has always been beautiful !
    What ? The park is not beautiful to you until it is perfectly coiffed ?
    Let people listen to music on a darned trail ! Why does that bother you ! Maybe they are trying to tune you out !

    No wonder there is a battle of “old ” and “new” residents !
    The new residents don’t have a clue , and the old residents remember how laid back it was before peoples only concern were property values !

    Echo Park resident since 1956 .

  46. Wow. Police officers doing there job, by enforcing laws that protect people from nit wits and their dogs that are off leashes? These people are the same people that let their dogs shit everywhere, and don’t have the common courtesy to pick it up. Leash your dog. You are not the “Dog Whisperer.”

  47. The police are doing their job. Sure there are a lot of better ways they could be using our tax dollars but, when they receive numerous calls about off leash dogs being a serious problem (Mt. Washington) they have to act on that.
    Report the park creeps/zombies when you see them. (if your cell phone will work in the park that is).

  48. Don’t be an asshole and leash your dogs, if you want to run them free go to the dog park on Angeles Forest

  49. I agree 100% with all of the pro-leash comments. Letting ANY dog roam off leash on public park land, sidewalk, streets is selfish, arrogant, illegal, and thoughtless to hikers, walkers and other HUMANS who use the trails and paths.
    Dogs are NOT predictable, they do not TALK so they cannot understand when an approaching HUMAN might be afraid of them, allergic to them etc. No dog owner can guarantee that a dog will not BITE, JUMP or ATTACK another approaching human. That is why there is a leash law!!!

    GET REAL DOG OWNERS! Your dogs are not entitled to the same rights as HUMAN CITIZENS. Keep them leashed, pick up their fecal matter, keep them muzzled if they bite!

    I hope every unleashed dog owner gets cited and fined.

  50. The city of Los Angeles has 9 dog parks:
    http://www.laparks.org/info/dogparks.htm

    To put that in perspective, the city of Los Angeles has 17 Skate Parks:
    http://www.laparks.org/dos/parks/skateparks.htm

    Yes, people should leash their dogs everywhere off their property. Yes the second largest city in the US should have more than 9 legal off-leash parks to service its 3.8MM citizens. A dog park in Elysian park would be a fantastic way to solve this neighborhood issue.

    Much love to the LAPD, skateboarders and dog owners.

  51. So, I’m a person who occasionally lets my dog off leash in Elysian Park. I strongly disapprove of walking dogs off-leash. We’ve had some problems with off leash dogs on the trails. But there’s a spot near the gated area with the pond (event venue?) at the top of a hill where there’s a palm tree that’s grown bent so it functions as a bench. Does anyone else know where I’m referring to? After a million times walking our dog past this spot and always seeing romping dogs, we decided to let ours off leash there and hang around and let the dog play. There are gopher holes all over there for the dog to investigate and bits of palm fronds and sticks for us to throw for her. Anyway, we consider that area an unofficial dog park, unless there are people without dogs enjoying that spot, which we rarely see. I agree that even this is somewhat inconsiderate of people in the park who do not like dogs or whose leashed dogs might be spooked when my dog comes over to sniff. But we’ve found this sort of happy medium between letting our dog have some free play in the park and being considerate of others. Curious what the rest of the commenters think of this, since opinions are so strongly held here.

  52. I really love seeing all the off leash dogs- I think it’s fun to watch the dogs run off trail and goof off together. It is one of my favorite features of living in Echo Park. I know many of the dogs by name and have met lots of fun and interesting people by meeting their dogs first. I understand that there are many risks and I respect that it is not comfortable for everyone, but I will miss the morning crew of unleashed K9 hikers.

    • i love to see my dog run the leash things we humans should have one we are more dangerous than the dogs. animals respond to us in a angry way because we use abuse them,

  53. @Bettina

    Are you seriously making the argument that an off the leash dog falls under the category of “…people doing things we don’t like” and that it doesn’t ” give us a right to try and control their behavior?”???

    A dog off the leash is more than merely “something people don’t like” – it’s a potential threat to both dogs and humans. It doesn’t matter if you’re dog is sweet as pie, because ultimately there’s NO WAY for ME to know that, and it’s totally unfair to subject someone to that level of discomfort. I for one experience extreme panic when I go for a walk in my neighborhood and encounter a german shepherd someone has allowed to just roam around (which is unfortunately not infrequent). This is not an unfounded fear, as I know MANY people who have been bitten or attacked by dogs. Would you be slightly concerned if you were alone and encountered someone with a gun or knife but they said “don’t worry, I’m nice?” Stop being so delusional!!

    And how is it in any way comparable to having concern for another person putting their safety at risk by using ear buds on the trail? That association has no logic.

    I don’t know why you think you are entitled to public land for your dog to frolic, but I think you need to realize that it was your choice to adopt an animal that has said needs. If you don’t have a yard or access to a dog park or another property where it is LEGAL for the dog to be off the leash, you unfortunately have made an ill-advised and irresponsible decision for both your self and the dog. I know plenty of people who would LOVE to own a dog, but realize that they don’t have the necessary space. The city makes no promises of providing land for dog owners. As you yourself said, we live in a crowded city, so maybe a large/active dog isn’t the best pet.

    • This is about as ridiculous an over-reaction as I have ever heard. It sounds to me like you have an irrational fear of dogs, and this is something you really need to control.

      No one wants to un-leash their dog in an unprotected area, but that fact is that LOS ANGELES HAS FAR TOO FEW DOG PARKS AND THE ONES THAT IT DOES HAVE ARE GENERALLY DISGUSTING. If the City would fix this problem, then the problem would be fixed. Why ISN’T there a dog park in Elysian Park, and Pan-Pacific Park, and other parks in the City? There certainly is enough space for one. Space that isn’t used at all, by anyone, for anything. In most “illegal” off-leash dog parks, if it weren’t for the dog lovers, the parks would be empty.

      To castigate people such as apartment dwellers or people without large yards for adopting dogs that need homes, in a country where 70,000,000 companion animals are euthanized every year because no one is there to love them, seems petty, selfish, and cruel. Additionally, dogs need socializing that puttering around lone in their yard does not provide.

      And, in closing, I think I am entitled to public land to frolic because I pay taxes in this City just like everyone else and have a right to City services that meet my needs, just like everyone else. Just who the hell do you think you are?

  54. After my leashed dog and I were jumped by an off-leash dog this morning on my run in Elysian Park I do feel the need to support the pro-leash support in the comments. I have been running almost daily in Elysian Park for 18 years and agree with Kiki about the safety of Elysian over the years. It just seemed that “back in the day” it was a community as we all knew each other from walking regularly in the park. We said “hi” as we passed on the trail, sometimes stopping to chat and many friends were made during those early years. Yes, folks are plugged into their iPods/iPhones but remember Walkmans? The difference is eye contact. A smile or a nod in passing immediately takes away the “us and them” mentality. Issues with off-leash dogs have existed as long as I have been a user of the park. I won’t go into the numerous times I have been tripped by spastic dogs and the bites to my leashed dogs by off-leashed canines. It is worse than before with the heavier use the park now gets. I say no to off-leash hours but yes to establishing an off-leash area/trail on the east end of the park. Let the out-of-control off-leash dogs chase away the cruising zombies and it is a win-win for everyone.

  55. Unleashed dogs are a safety concern. An aspect of our legal system is based the principle of substantive due process, involving unenuerated rights. Therefore, safety is basically the trump card… Leash wins.

    I am glad there is a place where people can have a lively debate about neighborhood issues, but please stop bickering about trivial problems.

    Let’s focus on some of the problems like violence and (hard) drug dealing. I would also appreciate this kind of debate on the zoning decisions that have been happening in the City’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM).

    Civility is free,

    Dog owner, EP since 98.

  56. echo park dog owner

    Why would anyone who hates dogs want to walk the one trail in Elysian Park where dogs have been running happily for years? The answer is one of simple neighborly etiquette. We will stay on the loop at Academy/Morton and you can have the whole rest of the park. Comments about what is and isn’t legal miss the point. We are a community of park users who (as a community) should remain incentivized to find a solution that keep everyone using the park.

  57. I dont really care either way but I guess if I had to choose I would say put em on a leash.

    Im more worried about the off leash sexing in the bushes that leaves condoms on the trail.

  58. Well I’ve lived in Echo Park, next to Elysian Park, off and on, but mostly on, since before the Korean War. I’m likely the third longest resident of Park Drive when the years are added up. I generally dislike that we have been “discovered” up here and that the park and its trails have become a de-facto dog walking compound, leashed or unleashed. Large dogs on the street have threatened me, walkers have dumped dog droppings in my trash cans or left same along the street, littering has increased dramatically, as has traffic and noise. So, at the very least, please leash ALL dogs at ALL times and take the dog shit home and not leave it on the hill(s) or park in or outside of a trash can.

    I miss the old days of being able to ride my dirt motorcycle on park trails, days of not fearing stepping in a pile of feces, and days of not worrying about an ear-budded jogger or walker crashing into me. I am also tired of open fire laws not being enforced during the summer in the park (true, just ask me and the LAFD) and spontaneous gatherings of large social groups without license. Perhaps one answer is a permit to use the park in any manner, a license, if you will, say $50.00 per year. Then only the serious and responsible will use the park. The unwashed and scufflaws would then do well to work to earn the privilege of using the park. This would be similiar to what is required to use National Forest Lands.

    Those living on streets bordering the park would be exempt from the permit fee, as would all individuals above age 62. Mountain bikers would be encouraged to use designated trails (mountain bikes don’t leave crap or make noise or bite, btw) and a license fee of $10.00 bucks per year per bike could be charged. All collected revenues would go to help better maintain streets in the Elysian Heights area that has seen increased traffic due to the attraction of Elysian Park’s trails.

  59. Uh , No “echo park dog owner ”
    Emphatic NO!
    I don’t hate dogs just what has become of Elysian Park .
    EVERYONE has EVERY right to use that trail if you have a dog or not !
    Like 30 years ago and up until like 5 years ago Beforrrrrree the trails were over run with dog owners and off leash dogs , waaayyy befoire , say before you moved here from the valley ? it was peaceful .
    I don’t know what the hell “years ” that dogs ran happily in the park you are talking about !
    “We are a community” but segregate and let us have “morton/academy trail ”
    Yeah nice thinking, and contradictory .

    How about putting your dog on a leash , this way everyone can use the park .
    Its way out of control !

  60. It’s interesting (and encouraging) to see all these pro-leash comments, seeing as I walk my dog in Elysian every morning and I am definitely in the minority with our leash.

    Here’s the thing, my dog is sort of a jerk, especially when another dog is pummeling towards her, off the leash, pretty much uncontrolled. Some people have their dogs pretty well-managed, but even a well-managed dog can get pissed off and vicious when it meets my dog. And since the LAW is that we keep them leashed, I should be allowed to walk my dog, even if she acts like a jerk. Because I can control her. When all of us keep our dogs on a leash.

  61. Up until very recently I was pretty laissez-faire about the whole on/off leash thing. While some dogs were a nuisance (getting in my way, etc) I was willing to turn a blind eye because it was not a big deal.

    Now I have a problem with off-leash dogs and I am glad to see the tickets handed out.

    My son is a year and a half old and he and I like to walk the trails every once in a while. Needless to say he is little. This is a problem when a dog that is bigger than him runs up to him. I can tell that some dogs are friendly, so I am not uncomfortable – but it is not always clear.

    That’s not cool at all. But I can *almost* ignore it. What kills the deal is the owners’ sense of entitlement – it is almost like they are acting like I should have my kid on a leash. It’s pretty fucking shocking, really. Never apologetic and rarely quick enough on the draw to prevent something bad from happening should the need arise. Rarely do they appreciate the concerns that I might have, it’s always “Oh, don’t worry! He’s friendly!”. I mean even going through the motions to address my concerns would go far but that seems lost on some of these people.

    Point is: the tickets will ideally put some of these people back in check. And then after this wave of ticketing is over, they will think about how they relate to other users of the park.

    Glad to see that for the most part people here agree. I do like the idea that someone put forward about a designated time for off leash walking.

    PS: that hill above Grace E. Simons, with the palm trees? It is not a de facto off-leash area. Save yourself trouble: keep the dogs on a leash, there too.

  62. Seriously, you are going to fight your ticket because you put your dog back on the leash when stopped by the cop?
    “Yeah, I was speeding but now I’m not!”
    Pay the ticket and keep your dog on the leash crybaby.

  63. Here’s a thought for those here who see the crime as victimless and its enforcement wasteful (and perhaps even discriminatory), and who advocate in favor of exploring ways to make it legal, either throughout the park or in a section of it:

    To those people who’ve commented here about how as a community we should not impinge or restrict anyone’s enjoyment of the park and should remain vigilant and motivated toward making it a recreational resource accessible to and enjoyable by all, I invite you to swap out one prohibited activity for another. Simply replace “off leash dog walking” with “mountain biking,” and then surprise me by not changing your tune.

  64. @J.T
    Great angle and RIGHT ON on every point !
    Especially on the entitlement tip
    Like if you don’t have a dog you don’t have a right to be on the trails .
    Agreed, the DE FACTO area by the palm trees ? It is a public park , not an off leash dog park !
    Get in your car and drive or better yet , WALK your dog ON LEASH to the nearest dog park !

  65. I’m so relieved to see all of this support for leash laws. I rescued a dog several months ago who is sweet and well-managed but fearful. After several unpleasant events on the trail with unleashed dogs (whose owners were often not even in sight) we’ve had to give up our nightly hikes in the park. I wish that the dog owners that so firmly support their right to walk their dogs off-leash could consider my right to use a public park without fear for the safety of myself and my dog. And to also consider that rescued dogs have a right to be there, too–few of them will ever be confident enough to be secure when approached by an off-leash dog. That said, the hill is a great place for those dogs to run around and be social and have fun. But on the trail, the same dogs need to be leashed. The man who was handcuffed didn’t even have a leash for his dog?? I hope his fine is EPIC.

  66. Please remember that there are budget and priority issues with the Police Department. As officers are ticketing your neighbors for leash laws, they are not investigating serious crime in the community (like the shooting last night). It seems hard to believe that people would rather have officers patrolling Elysian Park trails, than looking into robberies, burglaries and gang issues in our community.

  67. Pro lease. Have you see a small dog killed by a larger dog in Elysian Park, I have.

    And several others who, like me, were at a yard sale on Sargent Pl. We heard terrible screams from a woman, we rushed to the railing over Morton, sounded like a rape in progress and there below where Morton hits the trail up was a woman witnessing her tiny dog being thrashed and ripped to death by what may have been a pit bull. Tiny thing was being shook like a teddy bear.

    A Latino man in his truck tried to ram the pit, honked his horn, the woman was helpless and screaming, we could nothing but witness. The small dog was tossed a final time, believe it was dead at that point. Pit runs off.

    Latino man in truck helps woman lift dog and they race off, I hope to a happy ending but am pretty sure it was dead or far beyond medical help. Pit with bloody muzzle jogged away, it looked happy with itself.

    This incident occurred over 10 years ago but I seldom remember it till dog talk comes up, like this thread.

    Laws are enacted because they are needed, that’s the short story.

  68. Andres brings up a great point about budget/resource restrictions, but he seems to take issue with those supporting its enforcement rather than against those who are creating and sustaining its enforcement.

    I’d argue that instead of finding fault in those who are in favor of the police activity he should be directing his disdain at those who have brought it about. Because the sooner and more consistently that people abide by the law the sooner our police officers can turn their focus away from the trails and to the more serious crimes occurring in the community.

  69. For all you curmudgeons lamenting the unleashed dogs-it’s only going to get worse once Echo Park closes-so get used to it-or go somewhere else where there are no unleashed dogs.
    Like Hell.

  70. Please refrain from saying a pitbull may have attacked a tiny dog if you do not know what breed the dog truly was.
    Pro-leash.

  71. One clarification. These are not LAPD officers. These are the Office of Public Safety (OPS), General Service Department Officers (GSD). If you notice their uniforms have a patch. LAPD do not. Their whole purpose is to patrol Parks, and Public places. So they actually are doing what they are supposed to do–enforcing park ordinances like off leash violations, cruising, loitering, homeless camp removals, and drinking and smoking in the parks for instance. They exist so LAPD can concentrate on more serious crimes. We get a monthly GSD crime and enforcement report at our CCSEP (Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park) meetings. First wed of the month, 7pm. Barlow Hospital, Williams Hall.

    Just wanted to clarify the enforcement point.

    cp

  72. @ Pitbull Mama, have owned dogs, know dogs and I was being gentle — it was a pit bull, a vicious, ugly mean pit bull.

    You can tell I don’t like the breed. One doesn’t need to love every breed fo canine. If I can predict where this is heading, “pits aren’t vicious,” tell me how many Golden retrievers are involved in such attacks…..

  73. Does anyone have the contact for OPS and GSD to write or call them? I would personally like to thank them for their efforts in Elysian Park. Anytime I see one of them ticketing I do go over and thank them personally, but I’d like to do it in writing.

  74. I am starting a fan club for WILL CAMPBELL! Everyday on this thing!!!

  75. The police (and Council offices especially) DO respond to large numbers of complaints, that’s one of the best ways to get things done. Clearly someone has been complaining about the off-leash dogs, moreso than people are complaining about the cruisers (probably because no one goes over there). Start calling and complaining about them and we might see increased enforcement on that issue too.

  76. Sometimes twice a day, “Fan.” Three or four if you count my fake names!

  77. jogger tired of being barked at

    So glad the leash law is being enforced! Elysian Park is beautiful terrain for the people to enjoy. If you want a dog park, go to the dog park in Silverlake. Sick of dogs barking, fighting, jumping on me, tearing up hillsides, etc. It’s totally out of control Pitbulls off leash, jumping on me with my newborn, that’s what I think of when I think of Elysian Park these days. And these people with a self righteous sense that dogs are people too. They aren’t. And they destroy natural areas.

  78. Always appreciate the intelligent responses. How sad that some people on this posting site feel the need to act out and get nasty. Says more about their personal problems than the issue they are commenting on. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion to be expressed in an appropriate way. Isn’t that the purpose of a sharing forum?

    – Bettina

  79. @toppyteo

    Intelligent responses like saying your are “personally offended” when people have earbuds on ? Says a lot about YOUR personal problems ! Speak for yourself .

    Plus, you obviously know nothing about the park .

    Elysian Park has always been a great place not a scary park like you described in your previous post .

  80. Let me start by saying that I grew up in Echo Park and have lived here my whole life. I love dogs, I have a dog and walk her in the park with a leash. There is no question about it, it’s illegal to walk dogs of the leash in this park. The park is not segregated, there is no “dog only” area- the park is for the use of all LA citizens. This includes small children and people who are afraid of dogs. No matter how much you feel your dog is your baby, a dog is an animal and you never know what it might do. It is not fair to the rest of the community to have dogs off leash, especially with the owners ignoring/not having control over the dog.

    The last time I was on a walk with my leashed dog a gentleman had two large dogs off the leash that ran straight towards my dog and almost attacked it. The guy did nothing, did not even look up. A dog on a leash that is being attacked by other dogs will lash out and my dog tried. I was being responsible whereas the other guy was not. Another time, my senior mother was walking her dog on leash, other off leash dogs ran up to it, her dog reared up and she was knocked over. Now she tries to find a time when there aren’t many other people out. Lastly, a little girl on my street was attacked by an off leash pit bull who bit her on the chest. She was bleeding profusely, mom was screaming, neighbors were out with- a knife, a gun, and a baseball bat. All it took was me pouring a bucket of water on the dog who finally let go. She was taken to the hospital and almost died. THE DOG WAS OFF LEASH!!

    Keep the dogs on leash, it’s the law and it’s there for a reason. Find an off leash dog park if it’s so important to you. It’s too bad that so many police are out there ticketing and wasting our money on this task, however, people are not paying attention any other way. Are you paying attention now?

    And yes, would it hurt so much to just say hello or acknowledge another human being? I try to be positive about our neighborhood changes, but at least in the old days with gangbangers and cholos everyone said hello.

  81. I walk with a group in Elysian Park almost every Tuesday. Happy dogs greet us, which adds to the pleasure of the walk. It seems like all of the off-leash dogs are pretty much under control of their owners. On-leash dogs ALSO bark at and annoy people. In fact it is mostly on-leash dogs that bark and are annoying. I guess they are on-leash because they are poorly behaved or just annoying because they are so unhappy at being on a leash. People obviously need to be courteous and leash any dog which is ill-behaved. I love the dogs and never had a problem in the park over many years. I guess all the vicious and dangerous out-of-control dogs that people are writing about take Tuesday off.

  82. Well, Darrell, I’m sorry you have such a bias against pitbulls. I have had both breeds and all have been wonderful, loving dogs.
    Because of some people’s misperceptions about the breed and because I am a responsible owner, my dogs are always on a leash in a city park. Period.
    There are many other parks in LA besides Elysian that are just as nice or better. I hope those of you that prefer Elysian can come to some sort of peace over all this.

  83. L. Spangler- It doesn’t matter if the dog isn’t ‘ill behaved’, the point is that only the owner knows the dog and it’s not fair to put passers by in the position of wondering if it’s a potential threat. Also, the definition of ‘ill-behaved’ is pretty subjective, like with those dog owners who say “don’t worry, he/she’s friendly!” when their dog runs over to me and starts licking me/sniffing my crotch/jumping up on me or whatever. I really don’t care if your dog is the reincarnation of Buddha, get that thing off of me! Not everyone enjoys those encounters.

    Pittie Mama – Regarding “some people’s misperceptions about the breed “: pitbulls have a reputation for brutality because there have been many MANY cases if it happening! I get that you have had some great dogs, and of course not all pitbulls are vicious and it depends on the owner yada yada, but come on, are you really going to say it’s a ‘misperception’ that they are involved in violent attacks more so than most breeds??

  84. @L. Spangler: It seems clear that you are not a dog owner, or at least not an informed one. To assume that on-leash dogs have behavioral problems is incredibly ignorant. The only thing you can assume about an on-leash dog is that it has a responsible owner. If you knew the first thing about dogs you’d know that it is dangerous to have dogs that are on-leash (as required by law and common sense) in the same space as dogs that are not. That’s when you get fear, and fear is what makes them bark, lunge, and sometimes become violent. This is why there are fenced dog parks where EVERY dog can (and must be) off-leash. It’s great that you enjoy dogs you don’t know approaching you–try taking that same walk with a pet of your own and see how much you enjoy it. Actually, come to think of it, that would be a great thing to do before weighing in with any further offensive assumptions.

  85. A couple of years ago two dog owners got their faces bit off by thier own dogs. I think that one of the dogs was a Lab, and in that case the dog bit the owner when she was asleep. You can say that your dog is well behaved, but the dog is still an animal that can snap. I keep my 4 month old puppy on leash. He is Shibu Inu, and they are known to not like other dogs. My new neighbor let his bulldog/pit mix off leash, and he ran up to us. I picked up my puppy, and he growled at the dog and the dog growled back. I thought that he was going to attack us. I was about to pull out my knife to protect myself & my puppy, but then the owner called his dog back. I estimate that his dog was about 90 lbs., and when he ran up he seemed friendly, until my puppy growled at him. Bottom line is that dogs are unpredictable. You will be sorry on the day that your dog does bite someone, and your stupid ass gets sued. You will cry when they try to put down your dog for bitting someone. By the way don’t cry when you do get a ticket as well, because they should give additional tickets to the owners for being dumb. Get a clue.

  86. So glad that this leash/dog impactation in Elysian Park has been presented at this forum. Am glad that most people are pro-leash and not anti-dog. I also propose that dog walkers from out of area NOT be allowd to park on streets bordering Elysian Park. So many do so and impinge upon valuable and limited parking resources, e.g., on the north end of Park Drive. This creates safety issues (fire, police services), extra trash issues (not everybody can police his/her environment perfectly, not done via volition, the inadvertent trash) and an impactation upon the informed that live on this street and need to park on the street and, for example, take groceries into their homes. I propose that those who walk leashed dogs in the park be assigned to park elsewhere, e.g., in the parking lot of and adjoining Grace Simons Lodge. I also think a fenced area to allow unleashed dogs to romp would be appropriate.

    I feel those of us that live on a street adjoining the park are now subjected to a situation (due to numerous dogs) akin to the loading and unloading of chattel..in this case, not bovines or animals of the equestrian persuasions, but canines. But given the numbers, the impact, odor, noise, potential danger, and inconvenience is just as impractical as that one could find in an area zoned (as) “horse property.” Dogs and dog walkers on Park Drive, for example, are impacting a peaceful environment to a degree that degrades our quiet and serene lifestyle. There are very simple solutions to this problem and I am sure that most avid and responsible dog owners can respond with good will and help seek an objective solution for all.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    David Buchman

  87. Echo Park has become Santa Monica. It’s over… Nevermind the dog, beware of owner. Bla bla bla bla… boring.

  88. I think joggers and stroller-pushers should be ticketed.
    Go gentrify the next East side town already!

  89. Kevin and JAC: You are so right on; I am waiting for the first Gelatto Botique featuring Gelatto and baked deserts that have been “drizzled” with various organic syrups. Likely such a “shop” will open in a defunct used appliace or clothing store IMO.

  90. Yes, misperception and sometimes just plain ignorance.
    And Kevin, LOL!! I agree….

  91. ^^^ So then what exactly is the misperception (according to you), and what is the truth?? Is it a misperception that pitbulls have the potential to be vicious, or just that it happens as frequently as you think people believe it to?

    Without any clarification/expansion upon that, it kind of just sounds like you’re saying ‘nuh UH!’, which isn’t really a very effective way to make your point.

  92. And once again, the weird Echo Park brand of xenophobia appears…

  93. It’s not that pit bulls are more disposed to being aggressive. It’s that when they are aggressive, they have the physical power to do serious damage. If you raise an angry chihuahua, it’ll bite a lot of ankles. If you raise an angry pit bull, it could kill someone.

    Eliah is exactly right.

  94. And Great White Sharks prefer only ocean mammals for food.

    Unfortunate when they mistake a human for a seal or sea lion, like pit bulls mistake toddlers for…what?

    C’mon, they bite and like it. And don’t like to let go.

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