Welcome to the Washington Square Park Dog Run

We want you and your dog to have a fun and safe time. By entering our public dog parks, you agree to be financially responsible for any injury caused by your dog and abide by posted rules. Please do not enter the run if you are not confident of your dog’s ability to interact safely with other people and dogs. 

Washington Square Park has two dog runs - one for small dogs and one for large dogs. While dogs over 25 pounds are not permitted in the small dog run, small dogs are welcome in the large dog run.

  1. No dogs without people. No people without dogs.
  2. All dogs over 6 months of age must be neutered or spayed.
  3. No aggressive dogs.
  4. Accompany and monitor your dog in the run at all times.
  5. Remain alert! Interrupt rough play and mounting
  6. If your dog gets into a fight or injures another dog, exchange contact information with the other owner and remove your dog from the run.
  7. You are legally and financially responsible for any injury caused by your dog, even if your dog is with a walker at the time of the incident.
  8. Dogs must be licensed and properly vaccinated.
  9. Do not use the run if your dog has a communicable disease.
  10. Your dog must wear a collar or harness while in the run.
  11. Prong, chain and spike collars are prohibited.
  12. Children must be accompanied by an adult and remain seated.
  13. Dispose of all dog waste.
  14. Prevent digging and excessive barking.
  15. No toys except standard size tennis balls.
  16. No food.
  17. Only dogs 25 pounds and under in the small dog area. Large breed puppies under 25 pounds ARE permitted. 

These rules are enforceable by Park Enforcement Police


Can I ask someone to leave if they are breaking the rules or if their dog is causing trouble?


When the city officially sanctioned the first dog run at Tompkins Square Park, they mandated that the community post dog run rules and encourage responsible use of the park. However, we are not law enforcement. You can politely point out a rule but egregious behavior should be reported to 911 or the park office directly in front of the run.

Monitoring the run is the duty of all its users. It is up to us to patrol the activity of ALL dogs and request that owners remove an animal that may be "having a bad day." Dog squabbles are part of dog play. However dog fights are not. It's our duty to prevent them before they occur and see that the posted rules are followed. 



My dog was injured by another dog in the run. "Am I off-base in thinking that there is a responsibility on the part of the owner of a dog that bites my dog and causes medical damage?"


Please download the Dog Owner's Guide to Small Claims Court.

The rule is that owners pay the medical bills of any dog attacked by their dog. This includes behavior by a dog that singles out another dog for attack or a dog that is clearly out of control for sometime. In such cases, the dog's owner must assume total responsibility and cover the cost of the entire vet bill.

However many dog fights fall into a gray area where it is hard to tell which dog is at fault. This includes dogs being bitten when play escalates out of control, or when one dogs mounts another and that dog turns around and bites. Its called "no fault" because neither of the dogs should have pursued the fight. It gets touchy figuring out which dog growled first, or whose behavior escalated, but they are dogs after all. In these "no fault" situations, the owners should split the costs of a necessary vet bill.

All of this gets exacerbated if a dog is in heat, near a heat cycle or unneutered. We mention this because this scenario contributes to a significant number of altercations in the run.

The owner of a dog in heat (or near heat) should never be in the run in the first place. Unneutered males dogs are not allowed in the dog run. These owners must assume the complete financial burden themselves since bringing an intact male dog or female in heat are against park rules.



What is the off-leash rule in New York City parks? I heard that dogs were allowed off leash before 9 am and after 9 pm

The Parks Department's long-standing "courtesy hours" are now a formal part of the Park Rules and Regulations. The policy states that with proof of current dog license and rabies vaccination, owners can allow dogs to run off-leash in certain designated areas from the time the park opens until 9 am AND from 9 pm until the park closes.

Please note Washington Square Park is NOT a park with designated off-leash areas. Dogs can only be off-leash in the dog runs.

Click here for a list of New York City parks with designated off-leash hours.