Alex Henning goes for an evening stroll in downtown Langley Monday with her little dog Luna, who she always keeps on a lease. “She’s so tiny, she’d be supper for other dogs,” Henning said. “The Langley rabbits are bigger than her.” (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Alex Henning goes for an evening stroll in downtown Langley Monday with her little dog Luna, who she always keeps on a lease. “She’s so tiny, she’d be supper for other dogs,” Henning said. “The Langley rabbits are bigger than her.” (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Dogs still get to run free by the sea in Langley

Seawall Park exempted from new leash law

A de facto dog park was created for Langley’s pooches and pups when the city council passed a new leash law Monday.

The new ordinance mandates that dogs be on leashes at all times within the city limits, with the exception of Seawall Park.

The previous ordinance allowed dogs to be “under voice control of a competent person” within the city limits and only specifically required a leash in the business district, any public park or on the grounds of a school or church.

After hearing from several dog owners at Monday’s meeting who asked that a leash-free zone be established, city council members settled on Seawall Park as the best option.

Asked if Seawall Park was now a designated dog park, council member Dominique Emerson replied, “It’s a park that allows dogs to be off leash.” Several official dog parks exist within Island County, allowing hounds of all shapes and sizes to sniff, run and fetch at will.

Allowing dogs to be under voice control within neighborhoods led to problems, said acting police chief Don Lauer.

“We have had numerous complaints of dogs being off leash,” he said. “But because of the current ordinance, we couldn’t do anything about it.”

Councilwoman Ursula Shoudy added that the current ordinance also leads to lots of uninvited guests on her porch.

“I know my dogs may intimidate people so they are always on a leash,” she said. “But (neighbors’) dogs end up on my porch every morning and it upsets my dogs.

“Then their dogs end up running around Brookhaven. It makes for stressful moments.”

The new ordinance will take effect five days after it’s published as a legal notice, which should be about March 22, said Debbie Mahler, finance director.

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