PETA Weighs in on Chevy Chase Dog Park Debate

PETA Weighs in on Chevy Chase Dog Park Debate

Organization’s presidents says park is ‘vital’ amenity for local dogs

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Brookville Road Park

VIA CHEVY CHASE VILLAGE

A national nonprofit that advocates for animal rights weighed in on a controversy surrounding a dog park in Chevy Chase, urging town officials to not disband the park.

Ahead of a public hearing next week where the Village of Chevy Chase Board of Managers is expected to vote on whether to close the park amid complaints about noise from some residents, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) President Ingrid Newkirk urged the board to “protect the community’s four-legged family members and friends” by continuing to allow the space to be used as a public dog park.

“For many dogs, especially those who must stay indoors for most of the day—and sometimes longer—the dog park is vital, as it allows them to have a joyous time outdoors,” Newkirk wrote. “It offers the canine version of a human happy hour: socializing, flirting, and playtime!”

The park, on Brookville Road, recently gained national media attention as residents sparred over whether the park’s benefits are outweighed by its drawbacks. Neighbors have complained that some dogs bark too loudly and that some owners don’t pick up after their animals.

In July, the board of managers voted to change the the park’s hours to mitigate residents’ concerns.

In her letter, Newkirk said dog parks help to ensure pups have adequate exercise and lead to “calmer, less aggressive animals who are less likely to attack.”

“Behavior concerns are the number one reason why dogs are taken to shelters or abandoned, so ensuring that they have access to a safe place for exercise and socialization can result in a decrease in severe crowding at shelters, and dog parks reportedly result in a decrease in violations of leash laws,” the letter says. “All dogs desire and deserve a protected space in which to run, sniff, explore, and just be dogs, and the Chevy Chase Dog Park offers a harmless and convenient way for responsible guardians to meet a dog’s needs.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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