Revised Dog Park Rules Open for Comment

Posted October 17, 2007 at 6:05pm

The D.C. Office of Documents and Administrative Issuances, after taking public comments into account, published a revised version of dog park regulations initially released earlier in the year.

The new regulations state that a dog park can be a minimum of 5,000 square feet as opposed to 10,000 square feet in the previous proposal. The new proposal also abolishes the requirement for a five-block radius around the park to be free of rats, a major point of contention that opponents said would be difficult to come by in a city. Another provision that was omitted from the new proposal is a requirement that dog parks must be 200 feet away from residences, business, school playgrounds and community gardens.

Ward 6 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bill Schultheiss said he is “very pleased with the new regulations, they’ve come a long way from where they started. I feel they took our comments into consideration.”

The initial regulations were made available for a public comment period earlier this year, at which time many D.C. residents objected to them. The objections were then submitted to the Office of the Attorney General, which took the comments into consideration when drafting this version.

Despite the amendments made to the proposal, it may still be a while before Capitol Hill sees any dog parks of its own, as most of the parks are not owned by the city but instead regulated by the National Park Service. Schultheiss said he’d be interested in approaching the National Park Service regarding dog parks, but he didn’t seem optimistic about the outcome.

“Citizens have approached them in the past, but they’re not receptive,” he said. “They have a different mission than ours.”

The proposal was published in the D.C. Register and is now open for public comment until Nov. 10.

— Alison McSherry