Potential update to the Lincoln Park Dog Incident: “police are giving out tickets to owners with off-leash dogs”

by Prince Of Petworth April 18, 2016 at 11:30 am 67 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Potential update to the Lincoln Park Dog Incident.

In Lincoln Park this afternoon [Friday], police are giving out tickets to owners with off-leash dogs. I saw the guy let his dog loose and throw a tennis ball a few minutes before this. I honestly hadn’t noticed a cop, and I felt bad because there weren’t many people around, plus the dog seemed sweet. But after Kiki’s wounds, I totally get it. The owner was very respectful and patient during the ticket writing process, so kudos for that.”

  • Tony

    Wonderful! Props to that cop for sure. I hope the police continue giving out ticket to irresponsible dog owners. Dogs belong on leashes for their safety and the safety of others.

  • That Man A

    I run around Lincoln 3-4 times a week and while im sure all of those dogs are friendly and haven NEVER shown signs of aggression but its much better with all dogs on leaches for everyone… dogs included
    cant count time number of times ive seen dogs almost get hit by cars or owners chasing a dog halfway across the part to regain control of them etc etc
    the biggest thing to me is the simple fact that there are so many babies that play in the park
    i would not be comfortable with my (nonexistent) child running around in a park with so many unleashed dogs playing at their own will

  • Jamin Jimmy

    Any update on arresting the car jacker from right near there the other night?

    • MPD emailed this earlier:

      “Greetings First District Family and Friends,

      Recently, we experienced a small number of carjackings in our community. As no one was seriously injured in these cases, carjackings are very serious crimes that usually are first steps to suspects committing other crimes. As these offenses can typically happen to anyone of us, there are several things that we can do to guard against and reduce our chances of becoming victims.

      1. First off, when approaching your vehicle, walk with confidence, purpose and STAY ALERT.

      2. Be wary of strangers requesting directions or handing out fliers. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

      3. Always approach your car with keys in hand and LOCK YOUR DOORS at all times.

      4. Especially at night, avoid driving alone. Take a Ride Along whenever possible.

      5. When stopping in traffic, leave enough space between the car ahead of you to maneuver if necessary.

      6. Don’t stop to assist strangers in need of road side assistance. Help by calling 911 and reporting the matter.

      7. Avoid parking in low visibility areas that reduce your ability to see or be seen.

      8. Always take a moment to look around before exiting your vehicle to observe your surroundings.

      9. When arriving at destinations during late night hours, have someone to respond out and meet you if possible.

      10. Lastly, invest in remote car alarms that feature panic buttons in the event of an emergency.

      It is my hope that these tips will help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this crime. In the unfortunate event that you are confronted by an armed carjacker, GIVE UP YOUR CAR. Never risk your life or safety for items of property. Remain calm and look for significant descriptors about the suspect’s identity such as tattoos, dental features, scars, piercings, hair, height, build and clothing items.”

      • Jamin Jimmy

        So no?

      • Tony

        Don’t drive alone at night?!?! So, don’t walk anywhere alone, and don’t drive anywhere alone. Got it.

  • flieswithhoney

    The owner was respectful and patient so the OP made sure he/she took a picture and sent it to be posted on a blog. How nice. I’m so tired of worrying that any mistake I make is going to end up as fodder online. And no, I’m not the dog owner in the pic.

    • Anonymous

      Public shaming actually works to curb anti-social behavior. I’m OK with this.
      That said, the cops will stop ticketing in a week. And dog owners will now vigilantly look out for police before taking their dogs off-leash. Still can’t have nice things in DC.

      • flieswithhoney

        My comment is in response to how prevalent it is to post a pic of whatever someone is upset by, be it a parked car or unkempt lawn, which is only one side of the story. This pic wasn’t the best example but it was still possible to report it without including the dog owner in the pic above.

        • Anon

          It’s not like the OP took a clear identifying mugshot – I see absolutely no problem with a little (largely anonymous) public shaming. There’s a very good reason for the leashed dogs law. And there’s an even better reason why it’s not up to the personal discretion of the dog owner to decide whether the law applies to them.

        • textdoc

          “This pic wasn’t the best example but it was still possible to report it without including the dog owner in the pic above.” PoPville posts traditionally include photos.
          The owner in the photo is unrecognizable — it’s more likely that someone would recognize the dog.
          I got the impression that the OP was documenting the phenomenon (of dog owners being ticketed), not trying to shame this particular owner.
          The “one side of the story” thing might apply in other cases… but this is a regular park, not a dog park, and dogs therefore aren’t allowed to be off-leash. Seems pretty open-and-shut to me.

      • Leeran

        I think the point was that in the case of this photo, there doesn’t seen to be anything to shame.

      • Shaw

        I’m not the guy in the pic, but I wouldn’t feel any shame at all if it was me, any more than I’d feel “shame” if someone took a photo of me getting an expired meter ticket. There’s nothing to feel “shame” about…

      • DCMau5

        once upon a time, before the wussification of America, neighbors would have conversate w one another about issues affecting the community, now we hide behind a bush, snap pics from a hundred ft away and post on social media from our entitle soap box this is pathetic

        • LittleBluePenguin

          Anyone who uses the phrase “the wussification of America” seems a tad pathetic to me. Social shaming is NOTHING new – there are just new/more platforms to do it now. If you want to strike up a conversation with your neighbor about issues affecting your community, more power to you. But many people in a city may also take into account the fact that they don’t know their neighbor all that well, and that he or she may punch them in the face and/or curse them out for having the audacity to share their opinion about how they parent/park/drive/landscape/walk their dog/throw out their trash, etc.

        • wdc

          Yeah! Before The Wussification, we could stick a scarlet letter on someone! Or maybe put ’em in the stocks in the town square. Or just completely shun anyone who didn’t toe the line.
          This picture-taking thing is much worse, right?

  • SusanRH

    I was running around Lincoln Park one day in early March and the police were out issuing warnings to dog owners who had off leash dogs, so I think this started before Kiki. As a person who was attacked by an off leash dog in Lincoln Park, I hope they keep this up!

  • wdc

    Most people: Excellent!
    Many people: A dog almost bit me/ my dog/ my kid once
    Those other people: My dog is better behaved that most people’s snot-nosed kids, and they don’t have to be leashed. Why can’t everyone mind their own business?? If you don’t like it, stay out of the parks.
    There. I think that covers it for this thread?

    • gonzodc

      Missed one: But did the cops arrest the shooting/mugging/carjacking suspect?

      • Jamin Jimmy

        It’s easier to distract the neighborhood from unsolved violent crime if you grease the squeaky wheels on the little quality of life things. You could walk into Lincoln Park anytime of day and issue these tickets.

        • textdoc

          I believe it’s U.S. Park Police who are issuing the tickets (for unleashed dogs in the park, which is USPP’s jurisdiction), and MPD investigating the carjackings.
          AFAIK, the carjackings did not happen in the park and therefore are in MPD’s jurisdiction. Also, I think the USPP hands crimes above a certain level to MPD — not sure whether carjackings are above that threshold.

  • anon

    Finally! For all the off-leash dogs I’ve seen in this city, I have never once seen any owners getting a ticket. I really hope this enforcement effort will extend to other parts of the city and not just Lincoln Park.

    • Brett M

      Don’t mistake this for long term enforcement…this is just a reactionary PR stunt, typical of Chief Lanier, to make herself and MPD look as if they’re doing their jobs…never lasts long.

      • longtermME

        Brett M – I realize you may not be a fan of Lanier and MPD but neither have anything to do with Lincoln Park. That’s NPS responsibility. If you’re going to fire shots make sure you get your information right. I thought I’d help you out for the next time. Cheers

        • Anonymouse


    • 8th Street SE

      I’ve seen it quite a few times in Lincoln Park, but they don’t catch many people because the dog owners all warn each other. Also, the Park Police park their car right on the park so it’s obvious what’s going on.

  • Shaw

    Eh, this isn’t in response to the incident from last week. The cops come out and do this every spring for a few days. And it’s US Park Police, not DC cops, so if you get a ticket, just contest it and it will get thrown out because US Park Police will *never* bother to support a contested ticket – they’re even worse than DCPD on that (or better, I guess, depending on your perspective).
    Like it or not, that area is a defacto dog park. It has been for twenty years. The people in that neighborhood have tried for *years* to get even a small space in the park fenced off to make a formal dog park, and Park Service won’t do it – instead, they fenced off the children’s playground area beside it! Much like you have every right to get in the left lane on the freeway and go 55mph, but it’s still a stupid thing to do, if you don’t want to interact with off leash dogs, you should avoid areas where you see them off leash.

    • wdc

      So, in your analogy, you are the person doing 90 on the highway, and it’s my problem for being law-abiding in the space where you want to break the law.

      • Shaw

        Not at all – I am, in fact, the law-abiding person who has enough sense to go slower than other people on the right side of the freeway, and who doesn’t get rear-ended as a result.

        • curious

          So I’m confused with your analogy. Do you obey the laws (Dogs on leash) or not?

      • marybindc

        So, in your analogy, you are the inconsiderate person going slow in the left lane, and we all have to deal with your “get off my lawn you speeding whippersnappers” attitude.

    • Anon

      Hahaha – you can’t be serious with that last point. “The dog/runner/child was definitely asking for it.” Stay classy, bro.

      • Shaw

        That’s not what I said, but thanks for trying. There is a difference between “asking for it” and being smart. You’re “asking for it” if you go into a minority neighborhood and start mouthing off about white supremacy (even though you certainly have a first amendment right to do so). You’re being smart if you see something that you perceive to be a risk, and you therefore choose to avoid it.
        You certainly have every legal right to step into a crosswalk in front of a car that’s running the light, too, but you’re just as dead regardless. Being smart means sometimes realizing that just because you have a right, it may not be the best idea to exercise that particular right at that particular moment in that particular context, and deciding to do something different instead.

        • skj84

          I mean that’s exactly what you said. Please explain how: “if you don’t want to interact with off leash dogs, you should avoid areas where you see them off leash.” is not blaming victims of dog attacks?

          • Smilla

            This. @Shaw was definitely blaming the victim — AND trying to justify breaking the law (letting dogs off-leash).

          • Shaw

            You know what? If you’re one of those people who sets out to *become* a victim by deliberately placing yourself in situations that you know are dangerous from the start just to prove a point that you have a right to be there, then yes, whatever happens to you is your own damn fault. You deserve blame. You’re not a “victim” at that point – you’re an instigator. It’s not hard for most people to understand “don’t be stupid”, though apparently some have more difficulty grasping this concept than others. The mere fact that you have a given right does not excuse you from liability and blame if you choose exercise it in a stupid way – see my above analogy of a white supremacist voicing that opinion in a minority neighborhood.
            And no, I never “justified” anybody letting their dog off leash there. I just stated that it was a fact, and had been for twenty years, that people do it. Everyone knows it. Anybody who doesn’t know it already who has sight or hearing can tell from a good distance that it is happening. That isn’t “justifying” anybody doing it any more than saying that a given intersection is a known open air drug market is “justifying” people selling drugs there. It’s stating “X IS an existing condition of this location”. That’s not the same as saying “X SHOULD BE an ongoing condition of this location”.

          • wdc

            Being in a park where lawbreakers let their dogs off-leash makes you an “instigator”?
            How about “having a vagina where a rapist hangs out”? Asking for it, amirite??
            Or “owning anything worth any money in a neighborhood where people steal things”. Got what they deserved! Nothing more to see or say here!

          • skj84

            Lawd a Mercy, Shaw. Are you a troll? Running, walking, or just being in a park where its illegal to let unleashed dogs run free is not attempting to be a victim. Its trying to enjoy the free resources safely. I was chased frequently by a neighbors dog when I was a kid. It would break free of its enclosure at random times. Was I supposed to stay inside all day long? Not walk home from school? NO! It was the neighbors job to keep the dog in check, which they weren’t doing. It is up to dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash in a public, non dog park area. Full stop.

          • Shaw

            @WDC – Impressive insult to rape victims there, and quite a disservice you do to them by such a flippant remark. Way to go. *slow clap*
            @skj84 – You seem to have completely missed my point. Let me try, one more time, to explain, this time with a new analogy. You are walking down the street when you see two people arguing. Both of them pull out guns and start shooting at each other. You can decide to a) run away or b) walk right between the two of them asserting your right to be there. If you get shot while running away, you’re a victim. If you get shot after choosing not to run away, but instead to keep walking through a gun battle saying “I am a citizen and I have a right to be here enjoying the use of this sidewalk and you doing something illegal in the same place at the same time will not stop me!”, then you’re just an idiot. It doesn’t matter if what someone else is doing is legal or illegal if it poses a threat to you. Avoiding it is the smart choice either way. Jesus.

          • skj84

            Um. That doesn’t even make sense. If one is walking down the street they would have the expectation that no one is going to bust out a gun and start shooting. The odds are they are in a safezone. And even if they happened upon a gunfight, its not their fault they got shot. Its the shooters fault. You are basically saying anyone who gets attached is asking for it. Be it attacked by a dog or shot. Good Lord, you are insufferable.

          • Shaw

            That last feeling you mention is quite mutual, @skj84!

          • skj84

            Yeah, well at I’m better, smarter than you. And have a keen grip on reality. So leg up for me! Have a great life darling!

          • HaileUnlikely

            Shaw – it gets kind of confusing on here, because there are multiple people who post under the name “Shaw.” Are you the one that compared the condo board asking owners for a list of people to whom they gave their keys to having a covenant refusing to sell to people of a certain race or something to that effect? If not, my apologies. If so…um…also my apologies ;)

    • anon

      Not altogether surprising, from the poster who doesn’t feel obliged to follow his condo association’s bylaws if he disagrees with them.

    • caphill324

      I live a couple of blocks from Lincoln Park. I am bothered by the fact that I cannot enjoy the park with my leashed dog because other people have decided that it is their right to allow their dogs to run free. A lot of dog owners are not paying attention to what their dog is doing. I even overheard a dog owner comment that MY dog must be dangerous since he was being walked on-leash. If your off-leash dog runs up to my dog (who is 90% of the time bigger than the dogs running up to him), it is more likely to be a problem for your dog than mine. Because when he is on-leash, he is working and protecting me, not playing. Owners do not keep their dogs only in the small area down below but all through the park. I cannot believe that if there was a small fenced in area that these folks would not continue to let their dogs roam free throughout the park. It’s a bit entitled to say we asked for a dog park and they wouldn’t give it to us so we are taking it anyway. So, yeah, I mostly avoid walking through Lincoln Park and I don’t ever get to sit with my pup and enjoy the park. But according to you, the off-leash dogs get priority over the rest of us that would like to enjoy the park. I don’t really understand that argument. Not only is this victim-blaming but apparently if a group of people continuously break the law enough times for enough years, then the rest of us should just get over it.

    • Lives near LP

      What a lot of people forget is that 15-18 years ago when people started to take their dogs to LP it scared off all the drug dealers. Once all the drug dealers were gone, the park service built the playgrounds (fenced in), which then attracted the families, but the dogs started the process of where Lincoln Park is today.

      There are plenty of people that take their dogs to LP and they shouldn’t.

      DCPD will come to your rescue if you get robbed in LP and would respond to a carjacking but isn’t responsible for handing out fines. LP is fairly far out of the way for Park Police and typically only make the rounds a few times a day usually driving right through the park showing most dog owners their presence before starting to write tickets.

      • Mike Newman

        I lived right off the park 15 years ago and remember that time very well. It’s the only reason I have sympathy for the off-leashers–you’re absolutely correct that it was the dog walkers who saved that park. I’m a big guy but I would not walk through Lincoln Park at night, and was careful during the day. I’m not a dog owner and wish I could sit in the grass without worrying about wallowing in dog pee, but none of us would be using Lincoln Park today if it hadn’t been for the dog walkers.

        • Tui

          Right, dog walkers saved the park and catalyzed gentrification and public safety improvements. Nothing to do with the control board, Anthony Williams, renewed interest in urban living, or the economic boom. It was heroic dog walkers. Nice story.

      • Tony

        So the drug dealers were scared off because the dogs were off-leash? Or are you saying people with dogs started to use the park more and this scared off drug dealers? Just curious. I’m not familiar with the history of that park or the off-leash tie-in.

    • Anon5

      “Much like you have every right to get in the left lane on the freeway and go 55mph”

      In most states you do not have this ‘right’. In Maryland for example you can be ticketed for driving in the passing lane when the default (right) lane is free. I have actually seen a police cruiser turn on their lights and siren behind a driver camped in the passing lane.

      Other states have time and distance limits for driving in the passing lane.

    • 8th Street SE

      But seriously– why won’t Park Service make part of it a formal dog park? There’s clearly a demand for it there.

    • Chris

      Baloney. It’s NOT an off-leash dog park. Just because you’ve degraded the park to the point where I can’t play soccer without stepping in dog poop or getting bit doesn’t make your activity legal. You deserve the drubbing you’re getting on this forum, and I hope you get ticketed for your off-leash dog.

  • DCTrazv

    Ticketing in Lincoln Park is episodic. USPP have a lot of spread out territory to cover, but when they are in LP, they will enforce the law with enthusiasm. Like how they ticket cars on Independence along the Mall with enthusiasm if you exceed the 30 mph speed limit.

    Dogs on leash in Lincoln Park. That’s the law. Law also requires cars to stop at occupied crosswalks. Law also requires bicyclists to stop at all stop signs and red lights, like cars. Law also requires “no parking” anytime around the inner perimeter of LP on Sundays.

    So what are we really arguing about here?

    • stacksp

      Dogs potentially mauling other dogs and/or people. That the general history behind this. An unleashed dog attacked another dog. Could have been a toddler, kid, or an adult.

  • Jojo


    • Anon

      #alldogsmustbeleashed, so you’re definitely wrong there. But seriously, is it easier for children to understand something if it’s preceded by a pound sign?

      • d


  • anon

    They’re going to be doing the same in Rosa Park – they’ve sent info to neighborhood listservs and will give some warnings, but in a few days will just give tickets.

  • Ward One Resident

    Oh how I wish they would ticket in Waterside Park in Adams Morgan.

  • K

    My husband and I lived of Lincoln Park for years (recently moved EOTR). The very first day we adopted out dog we walked him over to Lincoln Park to run and play with the other dogs. Before we even got a chance to unleash him someone’s dog ran out onto East Capitol St and got hit. It was the worst kind of learning experience. We’ve never let the dog off least to this day (outside our backyard that is).

    Also, about once a year or so the police seem to ticket folks at Lincoln and Stanton Parks for off leash dogs. It seems to be timed for busy spring weekends.

  • I wish MPD would enforce the leash law in the park at 19th and Lamont. That space has been ruined by dog owners who think the law doesn’t apply to them.

  • Hilldenizen

    Too bad the USPP aren’t interested in enforcing the laws at other Hill parks. Things like open containers and pot smoking in Seward Square, pot smoking and homeless sleeping in Folger Park adjacent to an elementary school, etc.

    • Tui

      Cannabis use in a public park–the horror! Hopefully after I medicate there during the day I’m not leaving behind a fog of smoke that hangs around until school gets out. I try to avoid smoking in front of children and I regularly see tobacco smokers there, but I was unaware that cannabis use was such a safety crisis, such as off leash dogs.

      • anon

        It’s still illegal, unless you’re doing it at home (or someone else’s home).

  • RL

    Good. It’s 15 years too late. The dog owners took over that park long ago. It belongs to everyone – not just the dogs. The law is the law. If you can’t put them in a leash, don’t take them there.

  • fugwatsu

    bite my tongue, now I’lll have to stop dissing the police

  • Good. This park is constantly overrun by off leash dogs despite the notices at every single entrance stating to keep your dogs on a leash. There aren’t many other areas where people so brazenly break the law without recourse (except the Sunday church drivers who also abuse this park and clutter up the streets around it without being ticketed or towed).


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