Rules and Regulations
1. Know When to Keep Your Dog On-Leash
- Dogs are allowed off-leash ONLY in designated areas. Keep your dog leashed when entering or exiting the off- leash area.
- Off-leash hours are suspended when there are permitted or school-based special activities in a park.
- There are no off-leash hours when parks and fields are saturated from rain, or thawing in the spring. Please keep dogs off fields in these conditions. During and after rainfall, topsoil is 20 times more vulnerable to compaction.
- Dogs must be leashed when Parks Division crews are working in the parks.
2. Be Respectful to Other Park Users and Neighbors
- Clean up after your dog in off and on-leash areas. It’s a courtesy and it’s the law in Brookline.
- Maintain sight and voice control of your dog. You must be able to see your dog when off-leash, and maintain effective verbal control of your dog. You are personally liable for any damage or injury your dog inflicts or receives.
- Excessive barking is not allowed. Please play quietly, especially in the early morning hours.
- Dogs are not allowed in playground areas, sand boxes, hard or clay tennis courts, or basketball courts, and must not damage fields by digging.
- Dogs must not chase or disturb wildlife or enter sanctuaries or sensitive open spaces, such as shrub and flower beds.
3. Ensure Your Dog Meets the Criteria
- Dogs must be registered with the Green Dog program and must be wearing a current Green Dog tag to participate.
- Aggressive dogs are not permitted on or off-leash. Dogs that exhibit aggressive behavior (as determined by Parks Staff and Brookline Animal Control) towards people, other dogs, or wildlife will not be allowed to participate in the Program.
- The number of dogs per person is limited to three.
- Dogs must be 6 months old to participate in the Program.
- Dogs in heat are not allowed off-leash.
- Dogs must be licensed, vaccinated, and healthy (no contagious conditions, diseases, or parasites).
- All dogs (and their owners) are subject to Section 8.6.7(a) of the Tow n’s General By-Laws, which provide, in part, that “the person in charge of a dog inside a designated off-leash area must control the animal so that it does not disturb the surrounding area by barking or other action and so that it does not disturb or threaten others using the designated off-leash areas and the area surrounding the designated off-leash area.”
Green Dog Symbols and Explanations
Below are some symbols you will find at parks participating in the Green Dog Program.
1. Overall Green Dog Program
The Green Dog Program allows owners, families and dogs to enjoy off-leash play and exercise time in many of Brookline’s parks.
2. Share Our Parks
The Green Dog Program is an innovative approach to meeting the desires of our many park users. The Town believes our parks have great value for multiple users. Off-leash dogs, under the guidance of their owners, share space and time with parents, children, walkers, joggers, bicyclists, leaf peepers, sun bathers, readers, sledders and many others!
3. Pick Up After Your Dog
Please be courteous to other dog owners and park users and pick up after your dog, whether on or off-leash. Be prepared and always have bags or other tools on hand to pick up dog waste, which can be deposited in trash barrels found in all our parks.
Dog waste can be a health hazard and can be very unpleasant for other people who are playing or relaxing on the grass. Town of Brookline By-Laws also require that owners pick up after their dogs, and violations are punishable by fines and removal from the off-leash program and/or park.
We sincerely thank you for complying with this important rule. Please encourage others to do the same!
4. Obey Park Signage and Stay Off Wet Fields
We ask all users to follow our park closed signage or other notices. Wet fields (from rain or during the spring thaw) are particularly susceptible to damage of the grass and other vegetation. Compaction, muddy patches and trenches can easily result, especially if dogs or sports teams use the fields during these conditions. Parks staff may also close fields if they have recently been seeded or are undergoing special maintenance. Not sure if a park is closed or don’t want to arrive and then find out it is closed? Call the Green Dog hotline, 24 hours a day at 617-879-4850 to hear a recording when fields are closed. You are still welcome to walk the paved paths with your dog during field closures, but they must be leashed.
5. Yield To Maintenance Crews
Please leash your dog whenever maintenance crews are working in a park. We strive to keep our parks beautiful and ecologically healthy, and regular maintenance is part of this process. Dogs can be excited or startled by our equipment and can get in the way of the Parks crews, often unintentionally. For your dog’s safety and the safety of our workers, please yield to maintenance crews at all times.
6. Yield To Permitted Activities
Please leash your dog whenever there are other permitted activities in a park. Permitted activities are those that have applied for and received a permit from the Recreation Department or Parks and Open Space Division. They typically include sports games, school based group trips, or educational activities. In determining the off-leash hours for each park, we have tried to select times that minimize overlap of these activities, but we still ask you to respect permitted activities, even when they occur during normal off-leash hours. We ask this for the safety of your dog and to avoid space conflicts between users.
7. Dogs Must Be Licensed
Dogs must wear collars with a license tag, rabies vaccination tag, and identification. Massachusetts state law requires that all dogs be licensed. Licensing also requires proof of rabies vaccination. Licensing is critical to ensuring the health of our canine friends and other people, and can help identify your dog if they become lost. For more information, contact the Town Clerk’s office at 617-730-2010.
8. No Excessive Barking
We ask that dog owners keep the noise to a minimum, particularly in the early morning hours since other users may be trying to have a peaceful, quiet experience and many parks have neighbors who may be trying to sleep. We understand that dogs, especially when off-leash, can be enthusiastic and excited, especially if there are other dogs around, but if you can not keep your dog’s barking to a minimum, then your dog is not under voice control and should not be off-leash. In addition, aggressive dogs are never allowed either on or off-leash. Dogs are allowed to play, but if an owner feels play is becoming too aggressive, other owners and dogs must respect this.
9. No Dogs Allowed In Playground Area
Dogs are never allowed in playground areas, even if they are leashed. We keep these areas reserved for children, families and others to play in. We restrict these areas for the safety of dogs and children, and also because even well meaning dogs can frighten young children or make parents uncomfortable. We do not allow dogs in sand boxes in an effort to keep these areas as clean as possible. Dogs are also not allowed on synthetic turf fields, clay or hard tennis courts or basketball courts to avoid interference with sporting events and to avoid damaging these surfaces.
10. Keep Your Dog In Sight And Have Voice Control
Owners are responsible for their dogs’ behavior even when they are off-leash. If you can’t see your dog there is no way to ensure that your dog and other people or animals are safe and secure. You may also not notice if there is feces to clean up if your dog is too far away. You must also have voice control of your dog at all times. This means that your dog will listen to you and respond appropriately if you give a verbal command. This is critical in a public space where dogs may get distracted by the noises and sights around them. At any time, you should be able to call your dog back to you, and immediately leash the dog if needed. Many local pet stores and veterinarians offer dog training, a worthwhile investment and an easy process, if you are having trouble with your dog’s behavior. A well-trained dog will lead to a much more relaxing time in the park for you as well!
11. Number Of Dogs Per Person Limited To Three
Everyone is limited to three off-leash dogs per person. This includes dog walkers as well. More than three dogs off-leash are difficult to control and to keep track of. We also want to ensure that there is space for all users to enjoy the parks. It is not recommended to bring multiple on and off-leash dogs, since you will not be able to easily attend to the off-leash dogs if necessary.
12. Don’t Let Dogs Chase Wildlife
Brookline’s parks and open spaces are not just for the enjoyment of people; there are also many animals that call these spaces home. Wildlife such as birds and small mammals depend on our parks for food, water, resting, nesting, etc. Curious or excited dogs that try to play with or chase wildlife, can negatively impact their survival. The behavior of wildlife can also change, making them either more aggressive or more frightened, leading to fewer opportunities to view interesting wildlife. Dogs should not chase wildlife in any of our parks and open spaces. Dogs are not allowed to enter nature sanctuaries and other sensitive conservation areas to fully protect the flora and fauna in these areas.
13. Keep Dog Leashed Outside Off-Leash Area
Please keep your dog leashed until you are safely inside an off-leash park and have established that off-leash hours are in effect. This also gives you time to ensure that off-leash hours are not suspended (for example, if Parks crews are working). Many of our off-leash parks are in busy neighborhoods, and keeping your dog leashed until you are in the park protects them from cars and other traffic. Finally, once in the park keep your dog’s leash on hand and visible in case you need to leash your dog again for safety or when it’s time to leave.