Adapted from the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:
A move to win official city “dog park” status for the fenced dog run at Guy Mason Recreation Center
(3600 Calvert St.) has raised hackles among professional dog walkers and the people who depend on them. In early March, the Friends of Guy Mason
(FOGM) civic organization issued a call for volunteers to help draft an application to win official status for the dog play area. The move, says Dan Melman of FOGM, would establish rules concerning the use of the park, including a possible dog-per-person maximum that might exclude dog walkers hoping to exercise large groups.
As it stands, there’s widely rumored to be a three-dog maximum at Guy Mason already, but the rule is not consistently observed, and it isn’t written down anywhere, as far as Melman knows. Dog walkers sometimes bring as many as 10 dogs to the park, which some local dog owners appreciate as extra playmates for their pets, but others eye warily as potentially uncontrolled animals. Some posters to the Glover Park Yahoo newsgroup have complained of feeling crowded out of the park by unruly play.
The Department of Parks and Recreation first started encouraging its parks to formalize their dog play areas in late 2007, Melman says, but at the time, Guy Mason’s dog run wasn’t targeted because the building was due for a complete renovation. Sometime within the past year, though, a Department of Parks and Recreation employee told Melman that the Guy Mason dog park was “on the radar again,” he says. Melman declined to identify the official, but says that he understood the statement as a threat to the very existence of the dog run. “There is no reason for that fence to be there,” he explains. “That fence could disappear tomorrow.” DPR spokesman John Stokes confirms that the agency “has been reaching out to the community to actively manage the park.”
In a phone conversation, Melman seemed more concerned with the preservation of the dog run than with the possible banishment of dog walkers—or the rise in local dog-walking rates that might be created if walkers can only exercise a few dogs at a time. But some of the people who volunteered for the committee have expressed support for the walkers, even as others have expressed reservations.
The committee was planning its first meeting at press time.
Photograph by Adriana Cordero
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