City lifts dog ban at lakefront Timberlake Park
January 5, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 5, 2011
The city has lifted the dog ban at popular Timberlake Park along Lake Sammamish after 17 months.
City Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said the city decided to rescind the ban, because the regional animal services agency has promised to be more responsive to dog incidents at the 24-acre park.
City crews removed the “No Dogs Allowed” signs at Timberlake just before Christmas. The city has added signs listing a contact number for Regional Animal Services of King County in order to report issues.
Though the city allows dogs in the park again, canines must be leashed and cannot be on the beach or go into the water.
McGill said the real test should come in the summer, as crowds thicken at the park and parkgoers start to use the tree-shaded beach.
The city acquired Timberlake Park — a J-shaped piece of land nestled against the southern lakeshore at Northwest Sammamish Road and 182nd Avenue Southeast — in the 2006 South Cove annexation.
King County had allowed pet owners to walk dogs on leashes on park grounds. Issaquah kept the rule in place until July 2009, after complaints prompted the city to ban dogs in the park.
The city received reports from people about dog waste left along trails and open spaces, dogs knocking down parkgoers, and dogs fighting. Officials also heard about wayward dogs snatching food from picnic tables and darting into nearby yards.
In the days after the city rolled out the ban, dog owners howled about the restriction and city parks staffers reached out to residents for input about pet rules.
“The folks that were the dog walkers with dogs walking on a leash were always great. They weren’t the issue,” McGill said.
The city bans dogs in most municipal parks due to safety and sanitation concerns. Owners can walk leashed animals on sections of trails meandering through city parks.
Bark Park — built by Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities but open to the public — is the only off-leash dog park inside city limits.
Issaquah and dozens of other cities joined the county in the updated animal-control program last summer. The agreement emphasizes the use of pet-licensing fees to fund the agency.
The city generated almost $65,000 in pet-licensing fees in 2009 — dollars used to pay for animal services in Issaquah.