Here we will address questions that the community has asked us about dog parks, the Group's proposed dog park site, and the dog park application process:
Where will the dog park be?
The group is proposing to put the dog park on 10,000 square feet of land at the Takoma Recreation Center. The specific location is a plot of land next to the Takoma Recreation Center Pool Building.
How does the application process work?
Our group has selected a proposed site and notified the community of the site. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B has held several meetings where the dog park was discussed. On October 14th, the ANC held a meeting that focused solely on the dog park. The Northern Ward 4 Dog Park Group is now in the process of putting together a formal application, and will need a letter of support from this area's Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 4B) to include with their application. Once the application is submitted to DPR, the application will be reviewed by a Dog Park Application Review Committee (DPARC). One this is complete, the Group will work with DPR to address design, build-out, and management of the dog park.
How much will this cost?
Dog parks in D.C. have historically cost about $30.00 per square foot. A sample budget from a previously established dog park is posted here. The primary driving factors for the cost of the dog park include engineer's drawings, edging, flooring/drainage, fencing, concrete landing, gates, signage, water line installation, commercial litter recepticles, and and standard amenities.
Who pays for this?
We would look to fund this project through a mix of money coming from fundraising, private/public grants, and money from the City's capital budget. Many dog park groups have received federal and City grants that they have used to defray or pay for the cost of the dog park. Here is an example of a private foundation dog park grant that pays for the entire cost of park construction. Here is an example of corporate dog park grant that provides money for dog park construction.
Do dog parks smell?
It all depends on how the dog park is maintained. If the dog park is adequately maintained then it should not smell. All dog parks in the City are provided with commercial-grade trash recepticles in which all waste should be deposited. Dog park atteendees (humans) would be required to pick up any dog waste that their dog produces. Individuals opening the park in the morning or closing it in the evening would also be available to pick up any undeposited waste.
How are dog parks sanitized?
D.C. provides all dog park groups with an initial amount of sanitizing solution that is to be used to sanitize the dog park. D.C. also provides the group with waste bags and a hose that they can use for sanitation purposes. Once the initial sanitizing solution and bags are depleted it is the group's responsibility to purchase these items and sanitize the park on a regular basis.
Tell me about dog parks and safety?
Dog parks contribute to neighborhood safety in several ways. First, dog parks can contribute to neighborhood safety by giving dogs a restricted and secure area where they can run off leash. This has the potential to cut down on the number of off-leash canine incidents in the area. Second, the dog park will have people and dogs walking to and from it from dawn until dusk (the park's operating hours). This additional presence of people and dogs increases the number of eyes and ears that are on the street and in the neighborhood. Dog walkers are able to call the police if they see something that they believe warrants police attention.
Are dog parks noisy?
One of the rules at every D.C. dog parks is "No Excessive Noise" and this rule is displayed in large font on a permantly posted 'Dog Park Rules Sign'. However, any public space - whether it is a dog park, a basketball court, a playground, or a picnic area has the potential to be noisy. What is important is who is using the space and how respectful they are of the community. Dog parks are a place where dogs go to fetch balls, run off leash with other dogs, and get exercise. Their owners should not be encouraging excessive noise, and there is no reason why dogs should be barking excessively or at any other person/dog.
Who can attend a dog park?
In order to attend a dog park a dog must have a dog park license (indicated by a metal badge issued by D.C. Department of Health). This badge is issued when DC DOH has confirmed that the animal is up to date on all shots/vaccinations and owner registration information is current. Any dogs at a D.C. dog park that do not have a dog license should be reported to D.C. DPR Park Rangers or the Metropolitan Police Department.
What are the hours of the dog park?
D.C. dog parks open at dawn and close at dusk. The gate is unlocked in the morning and locked in the evening. Any time outside of these hours the gate is locked and the dog park is closed.
Who is accountable for the dog park?
The dog park is applied for by a sponsoring group, which in our case is the Northern Ward 4 Dog Park Group. If approved, that group would become a non-profit organization, either by registering as such or engaging with a fiscal sponsor. That non-profit group would then enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation. This agreement would outline who is responsible for maintaining the dog park (note: this is the responsibility of the non-profit). Anyone experiencing short-term/immediate problems would be encouraged to contact Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington Humane Society (WHS), DPR Park Rangers, and/or Inspectors at the D.C. Department of Health. Anyone experiencing long-term/ongoing problems would be encouraged to contact the non-profit or D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.
How can I join the group?
Our group has over 160 members on our email list. This website has been around for over a year with instructions on how to reach us and how to join. Send us an email and we'll add you to the group!