Madison Parks changes policy to allow dogs on-leash in most parks

Dog On Leash Park

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Common Council approved revised dog ordinances in early 2020, allowing dogs on-leash at most Madison parks.

The ordinances, which took effect March 13, originally prohibited dogs in most Madison park, a release said.

Since 1973, a city ordinance prohibited dogs in parks, school grounds and city spaces. The Board of Park Commissioners called for a review of the ordinance in early 2019 as it was no longer effective or enforceable with the rising number of dogs and dog owners.

Since not everyone has a dog or wants to be around a dog, the city established more than 30 dog free parks. There are also a number of prohibited areas like conservation parks.

When visiting a park with your dog, there are rules in place. These rules are:

  • Dogs must have a dog park permit.
  • Dogs must be on a non-retractable leash no more than 6 feet long and held by a person at all times.
  • Dogs must be under the immediate physical control of a person at all times.
  • Dogs must be licensed (purchased through the City of Madison Treasurer’s Office) and must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination.
  • Dog handlers are required to pick up the waste and have bags or scoops when in the park.
  • Dogs must not dig, chase or harm wildlife, damage park property, or interfere with other Park users
  • Dogs are prohibited from the designated Dog Free Parks and specific areas, such as near playgrounds, and all conservation parks. See below for more information

Madison residents with dogs five months or older are required to have a dog license before purchasing a dog permit. Daily or annual dog park permits can be purchased online.

Dogs visiting from areas outside of Madison are welcome with licenses and vaccinations from that town or municipality. The release said to be prepared to show proof if asked by a park ranger.