Sign vandals threaten Greenbank Farm’s off-leash dog area

Greenbank Farm officials are growing weary of a string of vandalism incidents located at the publicly owned farm’s off-leash dog area.

Several signs asking dog owners to keep their dogs leashed until they reach the 40-acre, off-leash area have been repeatedly vandalized over the past year.

The signs apparently have some people fuming. They were angry enough to initially tape paper over the sign. However, the vandalism incidents escalated to where the signs were spray painted or scribbled over with markers.

“There are a couple of people who are abusing the situation and making it difficult for everybody,” said Greenbank Farm Director of Operations Virginia Bloom.

The off-leash dog area is one of the largest on the island. Dog owners can let their animals wander freely on the 40-acre area located north of the agriculture fields. People are expected to keep their dogs on a leash when they’re on other parts of the farm. The off-leash area can be accessed from the farm’s parking lot or the pullout located on Highway 20 north of the farm.

Bloom said the vandalism has occurred on a daily basis and not necessarily at night. Some of the signs have been vandalized in the afternoon. She said the situation is becoming an irritant, especially since staff continually have to repair and replace damaged signs.

“It’s certainly putting the whole thing in jeopardy and putting a sour note on it,” Bloom said.

Greenbank Farm staff has focused on trying to make sure dogs stay leashed. Dogs have often frolicked into the farm fields and damaged crops. They became more troublesome when agriculture operations expanded in the last year.

The Greenbank Farm is home to three different groups who are growing crops — a market garden, a community garden and a Community Supported Agriculture training center.

“We have to find a way all users can use the area,” Bloom said.

The growers lease the land from the Greenbank Farm and they sell at nearby farmers markets or sell to folks who have purchased shares in the CSA program.

Part of the farm land has been fenced with orchard-style fencing, Bloom said, but the wandering, unleashed dogs still continue to be a problem.

Call the Port of Coupeville at 360-678-5020, or the Island County Sheriff’s Department to report sign vandalism at the Greenbank Farm.

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