Talking Dog


Dear Readers,
Emotional? Hell, yes!
Shortly after councilmember Fred Schultz said dog parks would be an “emotional issue on both sides,” the council was treated to an example. A close-to-tears citizen denounced the slurs she felt had been cast on the proud and gentle canine species. She was also frustrated to the point of near-inarticulation that the city’s focus has shifted from Spring Park.


The citizen petition that helped spark the dog-park discussion requested that dogs be allowed off-leash in Spring Park where an informal group of dog owners has gathered for years to let their pets run and play (illegally) for years. The council’s work-session discussion Feb. 16 centered on installing fenced-in dog-parks in other parts of the city, not Spring Park. The staff felt that there was not enough room there for both a fenced-in dog area and the existing athletic field.
Even city manager Barbara Matthews seemed more emphatic than usual as she described the dog park downside. City staff and the city’s liability insurance carrier get the vapors when they consider the prospect of dogs running free on public lands. If the council must proceed, fencing is strongly urged. And participants must sign waivers. This would not only protect the city against liability, it would keep out non-residents.
Matthews pointedly told the council that fencing, maintenance, and administration would be an additional expense – and the budget is strained already. As she subtly put it, “The Council would need to balance any such expenditure against other community priorities.”
The sites the staff judged big enough for fenced-in dog parks are the city-owned “Prince George’s triangle” on Prince George’s Avenue near New Hampshire Avenue, Opal Daniels Park on Hancock Avenue near Carroll and Sherman Avenues, and a green space at Maple Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway. The latter two properties are owned by the state Park and Planning Commission.
The council was not entirely pleased with all of this. Dan Robinson and Josh Wright had envisioned something closer to what the Spring Park petition had asked for. They wanted “multi-use” parks, not dedicated fenced-in areas. And they didn’t want just one park in the city, though if that were the only solution possible, it should be in a central location and easily accessible (which would exclude the Prince Georges Triangle and Opal Daniels Park).
Terry Seamens didn’t want the green space near Sligo Creek Park used for a dog park. His young constituents use it extensively in the summer.
Mayor Bruce Williams wondered if the land surrounding the PEPCO substation across from the city Community Center could be used. But there was an objection even to this idea – the aforementioned citizen promptly expressed health concerns about the substation’s “electromagnetic waves.”
Dan Robinson said that if there was only one dog park most residents would drive their dogs to it – widening the city’s carbon footprint Robinson is ever mindful of. Wright speculated that dog owners outside an easy walking distance of the one dog park would likely continue to take their fuzzy pals to the nearest people park to let them off leash – risking a $500 fine.
Aren’t you glad, Dear Readers, that Your Gilbert got through this report with (almost) no cheesy “dog” puns?
Editorial
The solution seems obvious to Your Gilbert, who is wholly objective and unemotional on this subject.
The city should have dog-ownership requirements similar to those of dog rescue groups. Meeting these requirements should be at the owner’s expense, of course. Keeping a dog is costly, owners should have to show they can afford it.
Would-be owners should have fenced-in yards. Dogs and owners should be assessed for compatibility. Potential owners should be assessed for their competency. Dogs that need more rural environments where they can run free should be disallowed. Dogs and owners should be on probation until they can prove the dog is properly trained, preferably by voice command.
Furthermore, barking and other nuisance dogs should be confiscated and shipped to a country that appreciates them for their nutritional value. include all yappy lap dogs while we’re at it. Any dog owner heard speaking baby-talk to their pet should get prison time, preferably at hard labor, and their dog sent to military school.
Once these simple, reasonable laws and requirements are in place, we won’t need a dog park. Another problem solved!

– Gilbert
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About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

10 Comments on "Talking Dog"

  1. Excellent model for parenting too!
    The city should have parenting requirements similar to those proposed for dog ownership. Meeting these requirements should be at the parent’s expense, of course. Keeping a child is costly, parents should have to show they can afford it.
    Would-be parents should have fenced-in yards. Kids and parents should be assessed for compatibility. Potential parents should be assessed for their competency. Kids that need more rural environments where they can run free should be disallowed. Kids and parents should be on probation until they can prove the kid is properly trained, preferably by voice command.
    Furthermore, whining and other nuisance kids should be confiscated and shipped to a country that appreciates them for their nutritional value. include all yappy lap kids while we’re at it. Any parent heard speaking baby-talk to their kid should get prison time, preferably at hard labor, and their kid sent to military school.
    Once these simple, reasonable laws and requirements are in place, we won’t need a kid park. Another problem solved!

  2. wow! “keep out non-residents”
    is this an insane place or what? lol

  3. Ray,
    We are OUTRAGED at your suggestion to extend these laws and regulations to apply to children! Do you mean to say these are not already the law of the land? Shocking!
    ——————————————-
    Anonymous,
    What is insane about keeping non-residents out? Given the lack of public dog parks in the area, non-residents would flock to the city’s unless there were some kind of permit/waiver system. A dog park costs taxpayer money to run and maintain. The heavier the use, the more costly it is, and the harder to keep clean and nice. Should taxpayers also subsidize non-city residents’ free use?
    – Gilbert

  4. I was with you until the baby talk equals prison part. You will never take me and my Moofy Woofy alive, Coppers.

  5. you mean like illegal day laborers flocking to taxpayer subsidized pickup sites?
    the taxpayers subsidize their “free use” and they aren’t even supposed to be here – period.

  6. A few points:
    I have a fenced yard. That doesn’t obviate the need for a dog park. The dog park is where dogs can socialize and interact with other dogs. Many dogs need this in the same way that kids need playgrounds.
    The complaint about a single dog park — that too many people would drive to it — made me laugh. Right now dog owners drive to Wheaton (the nearest public dog park), so I don’t think that’s really an issue. It’s fairly easy to walk anywhere in Takoma Park from anywhere else in Takoma Park.

  7. Except that illegal day laborers pay taxes, Anonymous.

  8. come on gilbert, they haven’t relaxed the shibby laws here quite yet

  9. Gilbert,
    I’m interested in your explanation on how illegal aliens pay taxes – do you think the people at the shopping centers at the crossroads or off New Hampshire Ave have tax ID’s, or have they just stolen someones SSN?

  10. They are all paying sales taxes whenever they buy anything, certainly.
    As for income tax, if the employer takes taxes out of their paycheck they are paying taxes. If they use a false SS ID, then they are paying taxes but won’t get the SS benefits. If the employer doesn’t take out taxes, he is supposed to issue a 1099 and the employee is responsible for filing and paying the tax, which three quarters of them do according to a Social Security Administration estimate (see link below). If the employer doesn’t issue a 1099, that’s failure to report on his part, not the employee.
    Read this USA-Today article:
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2008-04-10-immigrantstaxes_N.htm
    In it a Social Security spokesman reports that illegal immigrants are paying billions into SS and Medicare, helping to shore up the system even though they will never get the benefits.
    Just goes to show we need some immigration reform so nobody is “illegal.”
    – Gilbert

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