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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Washington Post Article on Dog Parks

The Washington Post is covering the issue of the proposed dog park regulations. For those of you unaware, among the suggested rules (read them all at Binformed) are that the area: 1) must be at least 10,000 square feet, or a quarter of an acre; 2) must take up no more than 25 percent of a park; 3) must have a slope of no more than 5 percent; and 4) must be certified by the Health Department that there are no rats within five blocks.

In a piece yesterday, the Post unfortunately attempts to align the dog park issue with gentrification, presumptuously noting:
Demand for dog parks is increasing, particularly in such gentrifying areas as Petworth and Capitol Hill. Along with a desire for granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, many affluent homeowners want dogs and a legal place for them to exercise without a leash, as the District's strict leash law requires.
Today, the Post discusses last night's community meeting in Chevy Chase about the proposed dog park regulations.

There are certainly reasonable concerns on both sides of the dog park issue. No less, I think the current regulations are far too restrictive on what constitutes a potential site, and I think that dog parks are a community ammentity all should support--dog owners and non-dog owners alike (read my rationale, posted in the comments here).

Do you want to weigh in on or learn more about the regulations? Binformed has great coverage of all things related to the dog park issue and provides comprehensive information about how you can make your voice heard (note: DPR extended the comment period regarding the regulations until May 1). Also, don’t forget that DPR is holding a community meeting at the Kennedy Recreation Center on Monday, March 26, 2007 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm to discuss the proposed regulations.


Chris said...

One of the provisions I strongly disagree with is forcing dog owners to form a registered non-profit and maintain the property themselves.

How many other user groups in DC are subject to this kind of stipulation? I don't see parents being forced to clean up/mow/water the playgrounds of the city. Or cyclists out pushing a broom in the bike lanes. Or swimmers out skimming leaves and other debris from the community pools.

And I am speaking as someone with a kid on the way, not some childless dog-fanatic.

Shaw Rez said...

Oh my god… am I a “childless dog fanatic”??!! Time to self evaluate. . . .

Interesting point, Chris. I know Matt (of Binformed) is almost ready to file articles of incorporation for Shaw’s Paws, Inc., and will then begin seeking 501(c) non-profit status to be in compliance with this requirement in Shaw's quest for a dog park.

To the extent it ensures accountability and helps allay fears about the dog park’s impact, I think it’s a middle ground type of measure to which I’m willing to accede. But you prompt—at least in me—the realization that this requirement is indeed a concession for which we should be given credit.

Chris said...

I spoke partly in jest, but not wholly.

In our neck of the woods (Capitol Hill) we have a notorious pain in the ass (see the City Paper article "Old Yeller" who repeatedly harasses dog owners and claims she's doing it "to protect the children". Strangely she doesn't harass parents who go up to the park with children and a dog. A lot of anti dog-park people seem to think providing space for dogs means taking away space from children. Never mind the fact that there are probably a lot of children who'd love to take their dog out to play.

That's another point I have a problem with - the age limits for the dog parks. I understand the intent, but the problem seems to be one they are approaching improperly. A dog that poses a threat to children probably also poses a threat to other dogs as well as adults and does not belong in the city.

Shaw Rez said...

(I caught your humor...!).

Another interesting point, Chris, further emphasizing the need for as many people as possible to submit comments to DPR so that all concerns can be heard.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that Chris's may not be seeing the whole picture with respect to at least some of the playgrounds of the city. Don't quote me on the details, but I know there are some regulations around how recoginized neighborhood associations that collect dues in DC do need to register as a non-profit. And I think there are cases where those nieghborhood non-profits also maintain the playground(s) in the neighborhood. The example I have cursory knowledge of is the Westminster Neighborhood Association & Playground in Shaw:

I would guess these rules were put into effect to fix some problems that were experience over time. I don't think the DC gov't is pulling this requirement out of thin air to stop dog parks. What the exact issues are may not be completely clear, but I think working within the process to improve the process is the right answer (unless you're Leroy Thorpe).

Fifteenwren said...

Ms Perko, from the WNA, spoke at our Master Gardener class last night. The Westminster Neighorhood Association, a non profit, maintains the lovely Westminster park. The park is owned by the city, but WNA is responsible for upkeep, landscaping, water useage for water feature and garden sprinklers, design, mural art, event hosting and (I think) keeping the gates, they commissioned to have installed, locked during off use hours.

Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the dog p**p.

When people reference the environmental impact of dogs, they are not talking about the distraction their tails cause passing motorists or how some of us just want to drop our groceries/eggs, get down to their level and cuddle with them on the ground when we see them on the street.

When current irresponsible residents stop using property that is not their own for their pets' toilets, the anti-dog "park" resistance will vanish.

Sadly, it's not likely.

Drew said...

The argument "no dog park until there is no dog poop on the streets" seems so ridiculous to me. I can't even see the relationship between the two...

I would venture to say those who support a dog park and would undoubtedly be the ones responsible for taking care of it are NOT the
dog owners that leave their animals excrement on other people's property... It would seem to me the people willing to organize and jump over the endless red tape it is becoming obvious will be necessary to actually see the creation of a dog park have to be responsible pet owners. Why deny them the chance of having a place to take their pets to play because of the lack of responsibility shown by some dog owners?

Some children are irresponsible, choosing to spray paint grafitti on playgrounds, buildings, even residences, yet we still honor their parents desire for playgrounds. We don't punish the bunch because of a few bad apples. Yes, there are irresponsible pet owners, just like their are irresponsible car drivers, gun carriers and parents... you'd think the request was for legalizing something like civil unions or even,
gasp, gay marriage... it's just a place for dogs to play!

rr 446 said...

i disagree with all those rules and regs. there are two parks that i know of where people go with their dogs:
1. the diamond shaped park at 17th/S/new hampshire.
2. logan circle.

are these dog parks or are they called something else?

i appreciate the way these two parks serve the public. i'd rather see dogs and people having fun instead of being jawed at by some crackhead for a dollar or a druggy waiting to buy a nickel bag of pot.

Anonymous said...

I would like soomeone from the city to show me one part of the city that has been certified rat free for a 5 block radius.

si said...

kojo & jonetta (who is anti dog park) discussed this on the DC politics hour today
recording should be up by 2pm.

Ray Milefsky said...

THE best dogpark in the entire city is the Congressional Cemetery where dog owners can allow their canines to run free while the owners spruce up the graveyard. Lots of city regulations and whitefolk with clipboards making you do stuff, but the dogs can go unchained to scamper around J. Edgar's and Tolson's graves. Worst dogpark is the dustbowl triangle at 17th and New Hampshire.

Anonymous said...

I understand that there is to be a dog park discussion at Kennedy Recreation Center on Monday evening (7 pm) March 26th. I don't have a dog (or child) in this fight and I'd love to see a park. Perhaps when one registers their dog with the city (via rabies tag) there could be a small fee to help maintain some green space for man's best friend. The dog people are perfect examples of community - they get together frequently (at parks) and pass along information [of all kinds]. Also, they are great eyes and ears in the neighborhood.