A Dog Park Permit is required in order to bring your dog to a City of Madison off-leash dog park, City of Madison Ordinance 23.32. Please be aware that in order to purchase a Dog Park Permit, you will first need a Dog License. You may purchase a Dog License at the City Treasurer's Office. The Dog Park Permit is good for City of Madison off-leash dog parks, in five Dane County Parks (posted areas only), the City of Middleton and City of Sun Prairie pet exercise areas. Please see the Dog Park brochure for details. Fees collected by each agency are used to support their own dog exercise areas.
In parks allowing dogs, all dogs must be restrained on a maximum 6′ leash at all times except in the designated off-leash exercise areas. City of Madison Ordinance 8.19.
Dogs must always be under the control of the owner. Do not allow your dog to disturb wildlife or interfere with other park users. Leaving your dog unattended can be dangerous to your dog and other park users. If you cannot control your dog off-leash, keep your dog leashed at all times. City of Madison Ordinance 7.322
Be aware that allowing your dog off-leash poses several hazards to your dog:
Many of the plants, fungi, and water sources in the parks may be poisonous to your dog.
Vegetation may have burrs or seeds that could get tangled in your dog's coat or lodged in your dog's feet, ears, or eyes.
Wildlife is common in the parks, and your dog does risk encountering a wild animal. Wild animals, particularly skunks, raccoons and badgers, could injure your dog. Rabies infection is also a risk when dogs encounter these animals.
Dogs can easily become lost in the parks, especially in winter when their sense of smell is less keen because of the cold and show.
For these reasons it is essential to always keep your dog under supervision and voice control.
Dogs are not allowed in any non-designated park, children's play areas, beaches, athletic fields, conservation parks, or in any park building. During the winter dogs are not permitted on groomed cross-country ski trails.
Cleaning up after your dog
The following Madison General Ordinances pertain to your responsibilities for cleaning up after your dog. Dog feces can pose health risks to people and pets.
Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up your dog’s feces whenever you and your dog are off your property, Ordinance 7.322(2).
Do not allow your dog to defecate on any property, public or private (except your own property), unless you immediately remove and properly dispose of the waste, Ordinance 7.322(1).
You must keep your dog’s rabies vaccination and dog license current.
Dogs must wear current rabies, license, park permit and owner ID tags.
Keep your dog leashed when off your property unless you are within the off-leash exercise areas in parks where dogs are allowed.
Never allow your dog to bark at, intimidate, attack, or threaten another pet or any person.
Prevent your dog from injuring any person, property or other animal.
Report to Public Health, Animal Services at (608) 267-1989, any bite incident in which your dog is involved, whether your dog bites a person, is bitten by, or fights with a wild animal or stray pet.
Learn where your dog is allowed and not allowed. Do not bring your dog in any park or public place where dogs are prohibited.
Do not allow dogs on school grounds, beaches, cemeteries or parks where dogs are prohibited.
Do not allow your dog to trespass on public or private property or run at large, unleashed, or unattended.
Female dogs in season (heat) are not allowed in any dog park.