Elysian Park dog walkers better have a leash handy

Woman ticketed earlier this year for off-leash violation.

Several officers were out in Elysian Park this morning issuing tickets to dog owners had violated leash laws. A man named Robert spotted four police officers and park rangers – in and out of uniform – issuing tickets on the trail north of Academy Drive and near the Grace E. Simons parking lot.

Many dog owners were ticketed earlier this year in Elysian Park for walking their animals off-leash, including one person who was temporarily handcuffed and later released.


  1. A friend of mine was parking his car with his then 13 year old daughter to take a hike in Elysian Park. A woman with three dogs off leash approached him and asked “could you please keep your daughter in the car while I walk my dogs, I don’t want her to distract them and attack her”. Didn’t end very nicely, but a true story.

  2. Dog-lover and owner here — very pro leash laws!!! Makes it safer for me and my dog when we are out.

  3. Sounds amazing, Sandra, but I believe you. As an experienced dog trainer, I’ve heard it all. The important thing to remember about letting your dog off leash, even if he/she is trained/friendly/well mannered, you CANNOT protect your dog if an aggressive off-leash dog approaches yours. Our most important job is to protect our own dogs. Considering what’s out there, it’s just not safe to let your dog off leash. Still, some people think that a sense of entitlement is all they need to unhook that leash!

  4. @Sandy….so right – and add to that the threat from coyotes. I’m always astonished when I see people let their dogs (especially smaller breeds) run off leash in the park….don’t they consider that one wrong dash off into the bushes to chase a squirrel and “adios Fido?” Really thoughtless people out there for many reasons.

  5. Your Friend, Your Neighbor, You

    Hell yeah – I love when they do this crackdown. Leashless dogs and their rude owners can really ruin an otherwise nice morning walk.

  6. To be fair, you cannot protect your LEASHED dog if an aggressive off-leash dog approaches yours either – a leash is no protection against aggressive off-leash dogs. I can’t get away with my leashed dog any faster than my dog could get away on her own. To me the problem is the friendly off-leash dog approaching the less friendly leashed dog, who would be just fine if loose dogs didn’t come running up to him all the time.

  7. Dog owners need to take responsibility for their animals. Leash laws just make sense and I’m glad they are enforced.

  8. It’s important to look at the rules for dogs in sanctioned off-leash parks when discussing this issue. Places like Runyon require that a dog be under voice command if off-leash. That means that it is the owner’s decision, not the dogs, to approach people and other dogs, on or off leash. If your dog runs up to another dog or a person when off-leash and you can’t stop that with your voice command, you are not in a position to have a dog off-leash.

    When an off-leash dog runs at an on-leash dog without the owner’s permission the off-leash dog is out of control. Maybe 95% of the time the incident passes without conflict, so we all brush it off.

    Further, if an off-leash dog approaches my on-leash dog and my on-leash dog doesn’t like it, it’s the off-leash dogs owner who is responsible for the situation. I can’t tell you how many times my large dog has been blamed because someone’s small dog has aggressively approached him and he has used his voice and paws to say “UNCOOL.”

    So unless you can control your dog with voice commands, and that means control, not manage, you have no business with your dog off-leash in an on-leash environment. Of the 20-30 dogs we encounter every day in Elysian Park, I would say maybe 10% are under voice command and of those almost all are large breed dogs owned by people who understand that we all have a responsibility to be good dog ambassadors. So I say ticket until people step up and are responsible for their dogs.

  9. In complete agreement with EP neighbor and B. Hoping more of my SL neighbors would realize this. I always end up having to apologize to the same person for the same situation every week because her “friendly” dog charges mine.

  10. Yes! Now please come ticket the lady who lets her German Shepard roam around out of eye-range (!!!) every afternoon in the Silver Lake hills…

  11. Are these uniformed knuckle heads also looking out for the Gang members who spray graffiti all over the rocks and tree’s? kids skipping school?, probably not……rules rules rules.

  12. Leash your dogs. If your unleashed dog charges me I will kick him in the face.

  13. Mr. Silverlake, if someone’s dog attacks me or another dog that’s on a leash I consider that to be worse than either of the aforementioned examples. Don’t be an ass, the rule exists for a reason.

  14. Bravo! I had a similar story while walking my toddler in the park. An owner warned me that her off- leash dog often knocks over small children, and that I might want to pick my daughter up. Grrrr…

  15. I agree with Mr. Silverlake. Some of us park users think that the graffiti is a big problem in the park too. That doesn’t mean we’re asses Lauren. I know more owners of gentle dogs that have gotten tickets than I do taggers that have been busted for defacing public and private property.

  16. B goes all loopholey on the leash law with “So unless you can control your dog with voice commands, and that means control, not manage, you have no business with your dog off-leash in an on-leash environment.”

    The actual municipal ordinance has NOTHING to do with a person/dog’s proficiency with voice commands: “No person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, except cats which are not in heat or season, shall cause, permit or allow the animal to stray, run, or in any manner to be at large in or upon any public street, sidewalk or park…”

  17. #Firstworldproblems

  18. Hallelujah. I had a pit bull jump and try to bite my newborn walking up there one day, the owner barely cared, said I should keep the baby held high. Uh… True story. Despite what some people seem to think, Elysian Park is NOT a dog run. I don’t care if your dog is perfectly behaved. It’s a wonderful park for humans to enjoy, and not for dogs to run roughshod over.

  19. Will, I’m not sure what your problem is with what I said since your quote doesn’t nullify anything I said, but I’m really not interested in engaging in yet another one of your internet comment section fights.

  20. Aw come on B! I haven’t had a good internet comment section scrap since whenever the last one was (though we also clearly differ on the interpretation of “fight,” with you perhaps including some sort of nonexistent voice command exemption in your definition).

  21. @Will. I think the regulations she cited were for OFF-LEASH parks, & she quoted them to contrast standards for less restricted areas with the expectations of many people who think that they can just let their dogs off leash in our ON-LEASH ONLY park & it’s not their problem. As someone who has had her small dog attacked on several occasions, I am fed up.
    I ALWAYS walk my dog on leash. She is a rescue dog and has had some bad experiences in her life before I got her and unfortunately, afterwards too. She is about 24 pounds and can growl most unpleasantly when she sees a bigger dog. I wish this was not so, but it is. Please remember, I NEVER let her off leash and pull her in to me when there’s a problem. I can deal with her alone, and I do. I always try to call out to an approaching large dog’s owner/s (even when it’s on leash) & warn them of my dog’s possible response to their pet when I see it approaching.
    A lot of people get bent out of shape by that alone. The incidents that have been the worst involve one couple and their large off-leash dog. The first time their dog approached mine, I tried to ask them to take him/her in hand, and not get the contact going. That I would request them to call their dog in rendered them oh so offended and, during our next meeting on the trail, even more so.
    After that came the day on which their dog entered the park off leash and ran onto a trail on which my dog and I happened to be walking. The dog stopped, looked, and charged straight at my dog. Luckily, the lady owner was in hearing (though not seeing) range, and came & got her dog before any physical harm was done. On that occasion she told me that her dog’s behavior was, essentially, my dog’s fault because my dog had previously growled unpleasantly at her dog.
    Yeah, OK! I went home & checked my dog, fortunately no injuries. After that, I began carrying a stick and pepper spray, because, without them, I would have to use my body as a screen between an attacking dog and mine. However, some time later, as my dog & I walked down a neighborhood street and past a fenced in home in the early evening, barking and growling came from within (as often happens when people pass houses). My dog responded in kind, and then next thing I knew, a large, angry animal had broken out of its yard and attacked my dog, going primarily for her face. I screamed, yelled, kicked, pushed it back with my stick. It was that same dog. Fortunately, the lady (of the couple that owns the dog) heard the melee and came out and got her dog off mine. She was nice and apologized.
    It seemed that my dog was not hurt so I took her home and did another check. Then I saw that her eye was full of blood. It was too late for the regular vet so I called the emergency vet & described my dog’s symptoms; they said she had to come in immediately.
    The emergency vet is expensive. Fortunately, the eye injury was one that could be treated and did not cause permanent damage, but the episode had been a horrible experience as well as a costly one.
    The next day, I went to the home of the people whose dog had harmed mine. The husband and wife were both there. I explained what had happened and said that I hoped they’d help me my out of pocket expenses from the vet bill. The husband was extremely unpleasant, said, NO!, he was raising children and could not afford to help me and that anyhow, the incident was my dog’s fault because she had made his otherwise nice dog mean by barking meanly at him in the park. I tried not to get belligerent, told him that friends had suggested I report his dog to the city but I had not wanted to cause him that trouble, and that I hoped he’d be able to help me pay the portion of the bill that my pet insurance would not cover. He said that he’d see, when I got the paperwork back from my pet insurer to come show it to him.
    When the pet insurance payment came, I went to their house on several occasions and they weren’t there. I never left a note because I dreaded leaving my personal information with people who had been so unpleasant and so intent on denying their own responsibility. So, after all was said and done, I paid for the damage their negligence had wrought and didn’t go back to face another possibly unpleasant incident. I’m sure these are generally nice people and probably would feel the pinch of paying another 50 or 60 bucks. But I feel the pinch equally. I’m also sure that their dog is a generally well behaved creature, but he is a dog and dogs have their issues & behaviors that result from them. If you get a dog, you have some responsibility when walking it, or even keeping it in a place.

  22. I agree with libertad.

  23. I’m a dog owner who lives two blocks from the park and trails. Everyday I walk my dog on a leash and and angered by the so many people walking their dogs off leash, not paying attention, texting, I-pod walking or just don’t give a crap. I say ticket them all, and the punks that graff the trees and rocks. Plus I have seen an increase of plastic drug bags left on the ground. Please more police presence, heck the gun range is in the park, they should do PT running in the trails.

  24. I’m surprised at how may people are for this on leash dog walking considering how may of us walk up there without, myself included @ times. Leaving the issue of dogs on or off leash, do we really think this is a good use of Police time and effort. This is animal controls job. Earlier this year there where 4 police officers everyday for a month. How is this justified when I can’t get them to come out when I have a real crime happening because of lack of man power. This is a really bad use of resources and I don’t want to hear about cut back at animal control, that’s skirting the issue.

  25. I’ve had dogs. I’ve had cats. It just amazes me that people walk their dogs off leash. I cannot think of ANY reason why a dog owner should do this. We aren’t living in a backwater… it’s an urban area. Go to a dog park if you need to watch your dog run free. Same thing with cats. What right do cat owners have to let their cats run freely in the city and defecate in folks gardens and kill birds ? I think dog owners who walk off leash should get progressively more expensive tickets. Cats roaming freely should be caught and brought to the pound. Their owners can pay to release them. I think if a dog or cat is caught off leash more than twice, it should be taken away from the owner permanently. To the people who say enforcement is a waste of police resources… I agree – KEEP YOUR ANIMAL ON A LEASH and then we won’t need to have police officers “wasting their time”.

  26. As usual I agree with a big man.

    There was once a big dog with a pretty face. He charged my dog. I smashed his pretty face with my little foot. The ugly owner with his pretty dog now had a smashed dog face which made him look pretty. Ironical.

  27. Oh Barbara it’s called a post not War and Peace.

  28. @Barbara Understood, but with B’s quote that I referenced in my initial comment B created a bit of a blur with the implication that having voice-command of a dog somehow allows their owners to let them off-leash anywhere. That may be the case in designated areas of Runyon Canyon (or dedicated dog parks), but I just wanted to clarify that is not the case anywhere in Elysian Park.

    PS. Robaire may take issue with the length of your comment, but I say don’t listen to that; take all the space you need.

  29. @duderonemy – Both are problems and both should be ticketed, it’s not an either/or situation. The reason that they usually don’t nab taggers is because they are TRYING not to get caught, unlike people who brazenly walk their dogs off the leash even though they know full-well its illegal.

    As far as ‘friendly’ dogs, once again, how the hell is a cop or anyone for that matter supposed to have access to that dogs track record? Moreover, the owner is STILL breaking a law. If you could negotiate your way out of every citation by claiming good intentions that would be wonderful, but think about how warped the law in general would become with preferential treatment and profiling (more so than already).

    And yes, I do think someone is being an ass when they dismiss the leash law as a “rules, rules, rules”, when there is a very good reason for its existence, as evidence by the overwhelming support on this board. As much as we love our pets they are still animals. I don’t let mine invade your personal space and I expect the same courtesy.

  30. Wutta loada krapp. Okay. We will walk on leashes where the kopps can see us..20 foot leads. Uze guyz dont like it–tuff.

  31. Ticket, ticket, ticket…I wish they were there every day to do so. I HATE when people let the dogs off-leash. There are designated areas for that, Elysian Park is not one of them. I always walk my dogs leashed. I got tired of them being charged by off-leash dogs, so I bought a big walking stick, that wasn’t good enough so now I carry a stun gun – very openly. I absolutely will not hesitate to use it to protect my dogs. Your off-leash dog runs/charges mine – how the hell do I know “he/she is friendly” and how the hell do YOU know that my leashed dogs are friendly – or not. Morons, entitled and arrogant.

  32. It’s nuts that anyone would defend walking their dogs off-leash. I understand that there are times to break the law, and all of us have jay-walked or made illegal left turns at some point in our lives, but the truth is that walking your dog off-leash can, and frequently does, cause problems that include the death of your animal, injuries to you, and a lot of tension in the neighborhood. While in my car, I’ve had to dodge the aforementioned roaming German Shepherd in the Silver Lake Hills because its owner decided she didn’t want the extra hassle of having her pet on a lead. At one point (not in Silver Lake), I was attacked by an off-leash dog and, as anyone who’s been bitten by an aggressive animal knows, it’s not fun: it’s expensive, there are shots and doctor’s visits, and I guess I’m just lucky that my dog was inside at the time because I know of a few people whose dogs were killed after being attacked by much larger, aggressive breeds. There are plenty of places to take your dog if you want them off a leash: those are places those of us with small dogs (or dogs who aren’t friendly with other dogs) don’t go, and you’re welcome to take advantage of them. But to tell us that we need to protect ourselves and our animals from your unfriendly, unrestrained pets is not cool. We need your help to do that: keep your dog on a leash in Elysian Park and on the busy roads, we’ll do the same, and nobody will come knocking at your door after your dog bites them asking for you to chip in with their medical or vet bills.

  33. If anyone wants to send a thank-you to the Northeast division, Captain Murphy’s email is: murphyw@lapd.lacity.org

    I don’t know the email to the rangers, if anyone has that please share it. I’d like to thank them, too.

    Maybe as we come across them we should to start taking pictures of off-leash people and their dogs and posting them on a board, FB, a website, etc? Perhaps a cheaper alternative/deterrent than having to have rangers and police officers out there every day.

  34. Good to read all these passionate viewpoints. Now that I have your attention, I would like to draw your attention to a much larger issue. Lately I have seen a severed dogs head, a severed chicken’s head, and a severed pigs head left in Elysian Park. The other day I stumbled into what is suppose to be an arboretum of sorts off the Grace E. Simons parking lot. You know what I found in the woods there? Two thrones –spay painted gold and silver- carved out of two trees. The plant information labels are all tagged with EXP gang slogans and the place is littered with empty bottles of alcohol. Now, I hope all you passionate folks will put your money where your mouth is and get the police to rid the park of whatever satanic rituals are taking place in the park long after the dog owners have left.

  35. @ photospice: You wandered into the Children’s Garden. Many years ago, with either permission from, or directly by, the City, the trunks of some trees that had to be removed were carved into chairs etc. No satanic group came & made thrones, benches or the other arrangements in the Childrens’ Garden. The chairs were recently painted gold and silver to cover years’ worth of tagging, but sadly, were soon covered with tags again.
    Most of the tagging is gang-bangers’ work, lots of the rubbish is left by thoughtless people of all kinds. The City and police should be informed about the severed animal heads, and WHERE you saw them so they can find the source of that and STOP it. But, they are probably not related to the existence of the Childrens’ Garden.

  36. I think it is a very good use of police man power. Off leash dogs represent a real threat to public safety. They can an do bite children, people, other dogs, and wildlife. I walk there all the time and have little fear of being mugged, but do worry about being bitten whenever a strange off leash dog approaches.

  37. @barbara…Im not suggesting there is a relation between the children’s garden and the severed heads. What i am saying is-the gang bangers rule that park at night, slaughter animals there, and have late night gatherings getting drunk and stoned there. The thrones are covered with EXP tags and are a perfect fit for the gang bangers. I don’t see it being use as a childrens’ garden at all. Point is, I wish everyone writing here were as passionate about the lawless gang activity at Elysian as they are about dog walkers not using leashes for their pets. A severed dog and pigs head were found on separate occasions near the Academy parking area in the bushes. I called the authorities about the dogs head. Chicken parts were found in this area you refer too as the childrens’ garden by me.

  38. I seriously doubt it’s the gang members leaving severed animal heads, chicken parts or pig hearts behind in the park. I think that’s a very different group of people.

  39. Claiming good intentions is basically them saying “but I am white! You should be getting the minorities…”

  40. @robaire- haha! To be honest, I don’t even know who’s side she’s on my eyes started crossing half a page in. If you have a valid point, surely it could be made with a few sentences.

  41. Lauren and W Overbye.. think we’re all experiencing the same person here in the hills who needs to leash their dog.. This post has given me the courage to tell the owner to leash the dog rather than picking mine up every time I see her.

  42. I would actually like to see some of these people sent to prison. They don’t seem to get the danger that they pose to the community. A message must be sent.

  43. As usual I agree with A big man.

    And Thank You Ash….

  44. How often are they ticketing these days? A law is a law. When I take my small dog to Runyon I expect other dogs to be off leash. In Elysian I put him on a leash. I just had a guy stand by and even keep walking as his big dog rushed mine causing my LEASHED dog to defend himself. When I told the man and his wife, who never even stopped walking past the incident, that there is a leash law he informed me that “I was in the wrong place” and that there was no such law.

  45. As a former person who loved walking my dog off leash everyday in the park when I lived in the area to me the price of a ticket was just going to be the price of allowing her a little freedom, my thought was to have a time of day when it would be ok for people to allow their dogs this little bit of freedom and had I stayed in the area I was going to start a petition to forward to the city which I guess the current people who frequent the park haven’t thought about doing, as always the city is in need of $$money$$ and why not pick on dog owners.to fill their coffers.

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