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Extra patrols have been planned at Mary S. Young Park for leash scofflaws; police say problem is persistent

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Mary S. Young Park has a designated off-leash area, but police are frequently called about dogs running about on trails and in other areas.It seems harmless enough.

You're out walking your dog on the trails at Mary S. Young Park, and you want to give your pet a chance to roam around without the constraints of a leash. You know your dog — he'd never hurt a fly.

What's the big deal?

Yet when you unclip that leash, it's not much different than running a stop sign or jaywalking — if a police officer sees you, a citation could be in your future. On Aug. 26, West Linn Police announced that extra patrols would be sent to Mary S. Young Park over the next several weeks for what the department called "random leash missions."

"We get complaints all the time about the off-leash problem," WLPD Sergeant Mike Francis said. "We've done enhanced patrols to enforce the rules, so it's just a continuation of that. … We'll walk the trails and just engage folks in education and enforcement."

Francis said the leash situation has been a persistent and puzzling issue throughout his time in West Linn. While Mary S. Young Park has a designated area for dogs to roam free, dogs on the trails and other areas of the park must be on a leash.

"It's posted everywhere down there, so I'm not sure where the failure is for folks to understand," Francis said. "There's a tremendous amount of folks in the community who also use the trails and don't want to be molested by dogs."

Like a traffic stop, consequences can vary when it comes to breaking the off-leash rules. The maximum fine is $500.

"Typically it's a warning, but people are very passionate about this issue, so there will be warnings and citations to appear in court — no different than a traffic ticket," Francis said.

West Linn Tidings reporter Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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