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Video: Are Dogs Allowed at Los Gatos High School?

This past weekend we saw several canine friends with their owners playing fetch on the campus' spacious front lawn.

"Are dogs allowed on the front lawn of Los Gatos High School?" asked an annoyed jogger this past Sunday as we shot video of several canine friends playing fetch with their owners, off-leash.

A sign is said to have been posted late in December on campus indicating dogs are not allowed on the school's grounds.

We asked Jane Marashian, executive assistant to Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District Superintendent Bob Mistele, about the source of the sign and reasons behind its posting on Sunday, the same day we shot this video, and we're still waiting for an answer.

One of the dog owners featured in this video said he has no choice but to use LGHS' front lawn due to the lack of a dog park in town and few open park spaces for his canine friend to recreate in.

Los Gatos prohibits owners from having their dogs off-leash. Violators can be fined after a second and third warning with a $100 citation for the first offense, $200 for the second and $300 for the third, according to town park service officer Dave Gray.

Lu Ann Flechsig January 18, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Part 2 - A plastic surgeon that attended one of the off-leash meetings said his daughter was bit by a loose dog on the front of LGHS, but didn't say when that happened. The town council made it very clear that ALL dogs belong on leashes at ALL times anywhere in our town. If you attended the meetings concerning loose dogs, you would have heard all the numerous testimonies/statistics from people about kids being knocked down by dogs, having their food taken at times, people and dogs having been attacked and bitten, even by loose dogs on their own front yards and the poop, smell and noise problems from dogs at the parks from neighbors who live next to these park. So no matter how well behaved the dogs off leash are supposed to be, there are obviously a lot more problems that exist. There IS a dog park available to these people that use the excuse that they must use the front lawn. The Los Gatos Creek County Dog Park. Get in your car and drive there instead of to the school or parks where they don' t belong. Let me ask those of you that think it's not a big deal.....CAN YOU IMAGINE THE PROBLEMS OUR TOWN WOULD HAVE IF ALL OF US DOG OWNERS IN TOWN DECIDED TO LET OUR DOGS GO LOOSE IN TOWN?! The number of dog bites and not to mention that smell? There is a reason for leash laws and until those laws change, people need to respect that.
Kim Daly January 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Last year on September 15th, while the Los Gatos High School was creating awareness for Childhood Cancer and the front lawn was lit with luminaries for a benefit, I was appalled to see dogs off leash. I went up to a few of the dog owners and mentioned that it was inappropriate to have their dogs off leash, knocking over the strategically placed luminaries that had been placed to outline a ribbon! To my dismay, they said they did not know anything was going on.... Really? Hundreds of lit luminaries honoring those lost to cancer and you did not notice anything going on? There are plenty of places to take your dog off leash and socialize them, sad excuse when you say you have ”no choice”..... Because you have no backyard for your kids to play, do you take them on Hwy 17 and let them run free. All I can say is irresponsible dog ownership is rampant in this Town. Having just lost my German Shepherd, I can tell you many stories of him being attacked by dogs on and off leash and owners never taking responsibility.
Tony Alarcon January 18, 2013 at 11:05 PM
As a dog owner I sit on both sides of the fence. Its nice to let your dog run free and play with other dogs if they are well behaved AND safe. Yet, I understand all off leash issues. I have a great solution: Dittos Lane = Dog Park. Yes Dog Park. The town just secured a great location for a soccer field which is a great long term asset. A dog park would also be along term assets also creating a great social venue to be utilized by all age groups. Further to the why: Its already owned by the town in the center of town, its enclosed, and next to the trail where people run their dogs.Those within our town will likely support a fund raise to help make it a dog park. Campbell has an awesome dog why doesn't Los Gatos? I'd rather see Los Gatos kept more natural, lowers the development cost and uses an area that preserves a public space for multiple generations to enjoy. Dittos lane is fraught with controversy over development with high density housing. Low cost housing is not the point. Developing it will create an unsafe traffic nightmare with the exit next to the trail. The North 40, and other developments such as the old Honda site are better locations to support housing needs. This solution creates a win - win as it secures a long term park for the town, provides a place for dogs to go off leash instead of the high school lawn or other town parks, and solves an issue on what to do with an existing town asset.
Tony Alarcon January 18, 2013 at 11:09 PM
As a dog owner I sit on both sides of the fence. Its nice to let your dog run free and play with other dogs if they are well behaved AND safe. Yet, I understand all off leash issues. I have a great solution: Dittos Lane = Dog Park. Yes Dog Park. The town just secured a great location for a soccer field which is a great long term asset. A dog park would also be along term assets also creating a great social venue to be utilized by all age groups. Further to the why: Its already owned by the town in the center of town, its enclosed, and next to the trail where people run their dogs.Those within our town will likely support a fund raise to help make it a dog park. Campbell has an awesome dog why doesn't Los Gatos? I'd rather see Los Gatos kept more natural, as it lowers the development cost and retains the historic feel. This also preserves a public space for multiple generations to enjoy. Dittos lane is fraught with controversy over development with high density housing. Low cost housing is not the point. Developing it will create an unsafe traffic nightmare with the exit next to the trail. The North 40, and other developments such as the old Honda site are better locations to support housing needs. This solution creates a win - win as it secures a long term park for the town, provides a place for dogs to go off leash instead of the high school lawn or other town parks, and solves an issue on what to do with an existing town asset.
Lu Ann Flechsig January 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Hi Tony, I agree that a dedicated, completely fenced in dog park would be a great asset to our town. One of the biggest hurdles though is finding available land and then funding for the park. Dog owners wishing to have off-leash would and should have to fundraise to support a park. Dog parks have very specific requirements, which include special fencing/and secure entrance and exits, to insure that dogs can't run out, separate sections for large and small dogs, and diligent owners which will keep the dog parks clean. I have owned and loved dogs all my life but know, personally, of too many incidents/problems in town with loose dogs to ever support off-leash dogs.
Rae Ann Caparelli January 19, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Tony make a great point. Lu Ann i feel is GREATLY exagerating. Ive seen nothing but very responsible dog owners at LGHS....and puts a smile on my face every day that i drive by and see the dogs running and playing. Kim i completely agree with you, the dog owners should have been asked to leave for the even and should have known better than to bring dogs on that day
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz January 19, 2013 at 02:48 AM
I don't see any harm in it as long as the Owner is Responsible for their Dog in every way.
Lu Ann Flechsig January 19, 2013 at 04:56 AM
The point is that dogs are not allowed at the school or off-leash in town. I didn't make up the ordinance or put up the signs. But, if that's what it says, people should be obey the rules like the rest of us. And not all owners are responsible in every way. That's why we have so many problems.
Robin Streicker January 19, 2013 at 08:08 AM
Robin Streicker I am currently at home nursing my Shis Tsu, after surgery, back to health after being attacked by an off-leash dog. She suffered a bite to her chest, back and a fractured should blade, etc. She has 8 weeks of confinment to look forward to along with 10 weeks of P/T. She was attacked and tossed around by an off-leash dog. The bottom line is we have a lease law in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno. It does not read "Dogs must be on a leash unless thy're in front of the high school or with their owners or just playng catch at the park, etc." It states that dogs must be on leash at all time when in a publc location, other than a marked dog park. Why is that so hard for people to get? Why do certain people think their dog is the exception to the leash law? If you think we need a dog park, lobby for one. Go to your town meetings, push for one, go through the proper channels. Don't just break the law. I'd like to know just how many tickets are being written each month by our police department to these residents who are breaking this law and putting both us (also residents and our pets) in harm's way. There are dog parks in surrounding towns. Take your dogs there to go off leash untill another legal answer can be found for Los Gatos.
Kim Daly January 19, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Robin, I am so sorry to hear that your dog was attacked. I do hope the owner accepted responsibility and that the incident was reported to Animal Control. I have learned that a majority of the dogs off leash are not under voice control and the only training they had had, is how to fetch. I encourage folks to call Animal Control and report incidents when you see them happening: 1-408-794-7297.
Rae Ann Caparelli January 19, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Robin, i feel your pain....my dog was bitten buy a dog at dog park. Luckily owners were responsible and paid for stitches and vet bill. My dog is well trained by calik9 voice command. Los Gatos IS a dog TOWN. seeing dogs run in front of H.S. like i said makes me smile and proud to live in a town. I totally get the leash laws! This town REALLY REALLY needs a dog park.
Robin Streicker January 19, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Thanks for the kind words..no this was on a walking path. Funny thing was the dog had a leash on, but no owner in site. I'm not sure if the dog had gotten away fom it's owner or if the owner had just lost cotrol.
Lu Ann Flechsig January 19, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Tony, The key word that separates a lot of us dog lovers is "fence". For the safety of the dogs, and the people that do not want loose dogs and the problems they might cause, I believe a fence is a must. I also think there are enough dog lovers/dog owners in Los Gatos that would donate to a dedicated dog park. I will gladly donate $100 to fund a fenced in dog park. I believe dogs need a place to run and have fun, but I also have come to realize that not all people love dogs the way we do, and they also have a rights. Dittos would be great, and perhaps they could come up with a mixed use scenario that could support a dog park. The more brainstorming, the better.
Lu Ann Flechsig January 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Rae Ann, I'm sorry that you think I am greatly exaggerating. I attended all of the meetings, and read all of the articles and know people that have been bitten or had their dogs attacked, in Los Gatos.. Of course MOST dog owners are responsible, but not all, and that's why we have laws and ordinances. Kind of like cell phone texting laws. For the good of all. If you do a little research and look up the articles, you will see the names of people that claimed these things happened. I don't make this stuff up. I think if you knew me you would know that I try to be an honest good citizen and absolutely love dogs. If your dog is loose in Los Gatos, I will spend hours trying to catch it so it doesn't get run over.
Peter Cook January 20, 2013 at 07:41 AM
The rules say on a leash. That doesn't seem very hard to me.
Common Sense January 20, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Use common sense and please stop terrorizing people with extreme stories . If you allow dogs in town, you have allow them to be happy and healthy. Agreed, it only takes one renegade to spoil a park for other users. The best dog parks are those whose users band together to create a sense of community, who use education, peer pressure and, when necessary, regulate those who won’t follow the rules of etiquette and common sense.
Jill Birmingham January 21, 2013 at 06:46 AM
God forbid you drive three miles to San Jose or Campbell to use a dog park. I hike my dog up the creek trail and frequently take my dog off leash once we're up St. Joe's hill, nowhere near the uptight locals. Me, my dog and nature. It's my piece of heaven!
Rae Ann Caparelli January 21, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Amen common sense. This IS a dog town. Every store being dog friendly and with water bowls outside....it is sad that there ARE so many uptight locals Jill. It is also sad that a couple idiots can ruin our small town feel by being irresponsible dog owners. I see people behaving badly DAILY in this town......driving the wrong way on one way, turning left where there id double double yellow, california stops, u-turn IN downtown to get parking spot.............but lets focus on the dogs. So sad.
Rae Ann Caparelli January 21, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Btw.....there are dogs and kids running side by side every sunday at grassy area next to farmers market.....doesnt seem to be a problem.
Rae Ann Caparelli January 21, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Its been this way for the last 20 years that i have been in this town.
Tony Alarcon January 21, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I like the ability for dogs to play and be free. At my duck club we have 15+ dogs off lease all weekend with no dog fights, today in Aptos my lab ran on the begach lease free with other dogs. It's nice. Most dog owners know if they have an aggressive dog they should keep them on lease. LG is definetly a dog friendly town. I suggested dittos lane as its a common sense location that can be fenced according to meet the dog park needs. This is better than building 30+ living units in the same space. There are much bigger development issues going on in our town (North 40 - Old Honda site w 3000' lots) and Monte Sereno (La Hacienda) that will affect us for generations to come. I sincerely hope everyone's paying attention.
Dave Christenberry January 21, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Cracking down on leash laws are continually proposed as a mechanism for limiting dog bites. The scientific facts are that on-leash dogs are much more likely to bite than off-leash. Dog parks are also posed as a complete remedy, when these places can turn out to be absolute disasters for many dogs (fear aggression, fights over ball/Frisbee,etc) and therefore are only a partial solution. From Nicholos Dodman, perhaps the #1 PhD. Vet regarding dog behavior: “Our treatment program involves ensuring that the fear agressive dog gets as MUCH OFF-LEASH exercise as the owner and dog can handle. “ That fear-aggressive dog is the one that bites your child when child reaches out when walking down the sidewalk. He’s the dog that bites your dog when you pass on the narrow trail and then bites you when you try to break up the fight. Excerpt from Czech study of 2,000 dogs: “Additionally, dogs who were walked off leash were half as likely to be aggressive as dogs who were on leash.” Also, dogs on a leash use the bathroom just as much as an off-leash dog. Obviously I think that in many places a dog off-leash should not be a ticketable offense. Leash laws mean the off-leash owner is automatically in the wrong and can be sued if the dog bites a person or another dog. . A legal remedy exists if my dog actually caused harm. So like for the last 20 years, we lawbreakers continue to huddle in places/times not much used by non dog owners.
Kim Le January 22, 2013 at 05:42 AM
I think that if there are signs posted on LG High school campus indicating that dogs are not allowed on the school’s grounds, then everyone should respect them. It’s a rule. If someone wishes to take their dogs off leash to run free, he or she should campaign for a dog park in Los Gatos. Until then, please take your off leash dog to a dog park in Campbell.
Peter Cook January 22, 2013 at 08:21 AM
I think the great thing about Los Gatos has always been the fact that people selectively apply laws that they like and don't bother with the ones they don't. Wouldn't it be great if we all did that.
Dave Christenberry January 22, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Kim, I think you are slightly missing the point. Dogs aren't allowed to be off leash anywhere but in the few local dog parks. The local (but small) dog parks are nice, but they are hardly adequate for the mental and physical needs of dogs! There's nowhere to go legally! Maybe even local governments have wised up to this and a few communities are opening up some larger areas for off-leash activity. The "it's the law" argument is often made on a number of subjects and people invariably list all the things that used to be laws (like women not having voting rights) which now sound ridiculous. It's the law, so what? The leash law is unfair, harmful for dogs, treats a 10lb dog the same as a 110lb dog, etc. The issue hardly applies only to Los Gatos! What's your solution? If you allow dogs then owners will let them off-leash in areas walkable from their house. The evidence for that is all around. So people can cling to the "it's the law" statement and continue to watch the off-leash behavior that occurs in the real world, or come up with realistic solutions. Since i asked, I'll offer solutions: 1. Allow dogs off leash in lots of areas at certain times. (hey, I think someone else has finally thought of this realistic solution!) 2. keep things as is and enforce the law on those people who actually create a problem. 3. Mix 1 and 2 if you really want people to follow the law!
Robin Streicker January 23, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Leash your dogs, please. This way we can identify you and hand you the bills when your dog bites ours. If you can think of a better way for us to identify the few irresponsibie dog owners out there that are just sure that 1) Their dog is the exception and would NEVER bite or 2) They have comeplete verbal comand and control of their dog and 3) Their dog NEVER gets out. Also, I've paid to put up a front yard fence that it attractive and allows my dog(s) to run from the front yard to the back so there is plenty of room. I also know where the legal dog parks, beaches and trails are in Northern California where I can take my dogs, if they want a longer run. The big thing is though, when I'm in public, my dog(s) are on 4" leads and I have them wrapped around my wrist. I have complete control of mine. Obviously, there are other dog owners out there that do not have control of there's. It doesn't matter if it's one or one hudred. Not when it's your dog that's being btten or God forbid, your child. This isn't brain science. Lease your dog when you on public property.
Kim Daly January 31, 2013 at 02:23 AM
Hey Sheila! Since the posting of your article, I noticed last week the signs at the high school are down? Vandalism? Sherlock Bones needs to know....!
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Hi Kim, I'm still waiting for the district to answer my question about the signs. It's a difficult topic for everyone. As you can imagine, who wants to be considered dog-unfriendly, but then again who wants to openly advocate dogs off-leash all over town? Town code states: No person, with the exception of persons who are blind, deaf or physically disabled, as provided by Penal Code section 365.5, having the control of care of any dog shall suffer or permit such dog to enter or remain in a park, unless posted for such use, and then only if it is led by a leash of suitable strength not more than six (6) feet in length; and the owner and the attendant shall be responsible for any damage caused, in any event, by such dog, even if on leash.
Vikki Foley January 31, 2013 at 07:44 AM
David-The town has already formally debated this issue and the overwhelming majority of the citizens do not want dogs off leash in public areas. http://losgatos.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=993&meta_id=107740 My dog was attacked last week twice by the same dog in front of Whole Foods just 20 minutes apart because of an irresponsible owner, who then ran away with her viscous dog. For the comfort and safety of others please be respectful and keep your dog on a leash! Park Rangers and police are coming out.
Kim Daly January 31, 2013 at 01:30 PM
I was nearly attacked the other day by a German Shepherd who is trained for protection. He was on a 10' lead, typically he is walked on a retractable. I have known the dog since he was a puppy, but once the protection training began his drive and behavior changed drastically. The dog clearly should not be walked without a muzzle, as he is dog and people aggressive due to the training.

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