Chevy Chase Dog Park Fracas Has PETA Howling

Safe, Social Spot Needs to Stay Open—for the Sake of Dogs and the Community, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
September 4, 2019

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Chevy Chase, Md.

Ahead of the upcoming public hearing on September 9, PETA has sent a letter today in support of keeping the Chevy Chase Village dog park—reportedly criticized by a couple of neighbors for being noisy—open for the well-being of dogs, their guardians, and the community.

“Dog parks are vital spaces for dogs to let loose, run, play, socialize, and just be dogs, and anyone who tries to close one down is barking up the wrong tree,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes the Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers won’t throw the complainants a bone by restricting park use and will keep this wonderful resource up and running.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” and which opposes speciesism, a supremacist view of the world—reminds guardians who make use of dog parks to clean up after their dog(s), take only “fixed” pups, and leave puppies under 4 months old at home. More tips on dog park etiquette are available here.

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PETA’s letter to Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers Chair Elissa A. Leonard  follows.

September 4, 2019

Elissa A. Leonard
Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers

Dear Ms. Leonard,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including thousands across Maryland and Washington, D.C., where we have an office—regarding the Chevy Chase Dog Park. Please, will you 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. It offers the canine version of a human happy hour: socializing, flirting, and playtime! More than a third of us here in the U.S. have dogs, and public dog parks allow our companions to get much-needed off-leash exercise and social activity, both of which make for 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. They’re winners all around.

Dog parks also promote human safety, because they give guardians an alternative to walking their companions on busy streets. They also offer a gathering spot for dog parents, who can engage in conversation, form relationships, and share community resources, including veterinarian or even babysitter recommendations while the dogs are playing. In fact, recent studies show that 91% of Americans affirm that dog parks benefit local communities, and Ralph McLaughlin, former chief economist with Trulia, has said, “Dog parks may also play a role in helping sustain relative value in neighborhoods with them compared to those without.”

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. We hope this wonderful community will continue to offer this safe place where dogs can socialize, exercise, and play. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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