Dog Park at 17th and S Open to the Public

IMG_1483, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

The photo doesn’t really capture how many dogs there were when I passed by. Seems like a great success. I particularly liked the doggy water fountain:


54 Comment

  • Is that real grass? If so, watch it turn to dust in five, four, three…

  • Looks artificial to me based on the photo …

  • Yeah, now that you point it out, it does.

    It won’t turn into toxic dust which I guess is a good thing, but they’ve lost an opportunity to create a space that absorbs water and prevents runoff. (This sort of enviro thinking is currently big at DPR)

    Wish I could be more positive about dog parks, but I can’t.

  • What is meant by “open to the public?”
    I have been driving by on my way home from work and see people inside with their dogs and have noticed heavy chains and locks on the gates. So, I’ve wondered how access is gained to this place.
    Anyone care to explain?
    P.S. In all fairness I must disclose that I do not have a dog NOR does a dog have me.

  • to take your dog in there you need to have a special DC dog park dog tag! I read this on the metal sign posted at the front of the park.

    My big question is how will they keep the astro-turf clean if one of the little darlings have a little loose stools? I gotta think that astro-turf makes it pretty hard for a dog owner to clean it up. On the other hand, I guess the city could power wash it down every night – especially being astro-turf

  • It’s fancy astroturf.

  • Sure, wood chips are more environmentally friendly but also more costly long term because they wash away, picked up when you scoop your poop, and get carried away. Turf is better because it is cheaper and easier to clean i.e. the power wash.

  • A similar park would look great on 14th where the current “protest benches” are located… the lot is the same size. Lots of dogs in the area. Why should Dupont Circle have all the fun?

  • There should be a moratorium on dog parks. Parks should be for people. Dog parks end up smelly stinky ugly dirt patches, or pockets of smelly stinky astroturf that could be pretty fragrant grassy parks for picnics and throwing dice.

  • There is nothing environmentally unfriendly about this artificial turf. It’s recyclable and allows for proper drainage.

  • Oh good, an “antimicrobial coating” for the dog park grass. Looking forward to all the new superbugs that will incubate and spread from there.

    But I guess it will help keep the smell down. For a short while.

  • @VOR, dog parks are just as much for people as they are for dogs. I live a block from Lincoln Park (not an official dog park, but filled with dogs every day) and before I got my dog and started bringing her there, I’d probably been there twice (I’d lived a block away for about 5 years at that point). I also didn’t know a lot of my neighbors. Now though, I’ve joined the Board of Hill Hounds which is the nonprofit partner working with DPR to bring an official dog park to Kingsman Field (the park will not replace the athletic fields; it will go in a currently unused patch of asphalt). Dog parks enhance, and in many places build, the community.

    Dog parks also put people out in their neighborhoods, bringing “eyes on the street” as so many like to say. It’s never a bad thing having more people out of their houses and keeping an eye on areas that may otherwise be magnets for trouble.

    In addition, dedicated dog parks move dogs and their owners away from other parks. The DPR dog parks all use surfaces that are designed to prevent the dust bowl effect you speak of. (Walter Pierce is the exception to this; the one across from Red Rocks is not an official park. Here is a list of the official parks:,a,1239,q,641315.asp) The K9 Turf used at the S St. Park is in fact environmentally friendly, and apparently quite easy to keep clean (which, if the arrangement between DPR and Circle Dogs is the same as the arrangement that Hill Hounds has w/ DPR, is the responsibility of the nonprofit). I will be interested to see how it goes with the turf.

    Dog parks are a valuable resource for the entire community, even the non dog owners. Even if I didn’t have a dog, I’d have a hard time finding fault with creating something that strengthens the community the way that dog parks do. We all benefit from their creation. (like we all benefit from a lot of public resources that we, personally, may not use)

    And, before the inevitable “should parks be created for dogs (before people) at a time of economic difficulty,” no, dogs shouldn’t come before people. The parks that have been approved by DPR but haven’t yet been built have already had the money allocated and set aside. But, we’re talking about 6 parks total in the entire city that have been approved at this time. (For comparison, the City of Alexandria has 20.)

  • This is probably the nicest dog park that I have ever seen- I hope the turf holds up to the piles of brown and flows of yellow!

  • Nichole, you’ve made a reasonable and well written defense of dog parks. Reasonable minds can disagree.

    To me, the dog parks I come across regularly in the area, the one across from Redrocks and the one on 11th Street in Shaw smell horrible, are dust bowls, and take away space that could be used for children or adult sports/leisure. I’m happy that dog owners have a place to form a community, but honestly dog owners in the city should have the means to take their dogs out to the country to run them, or they shouldn’t own dogs in the city. The benefits to the few of having dog parks shouldn’t outweigh the detriments of noise, odor and loss of use of valuable, limited land to the many.

  • We shouldn’t own dogs in the city? What are you, mildly retarded? Dogs and people have been together for like 20,000 years, so I am not sure this is a winnable fight for you. And my dog was born in the city, then abandoned, so I adopted her. Should she have been killed instead? Or taken out to that proverbial farm in the country you think exists? Good lord, talk about conveniently narrow minded.

  • the gage eckington elementary school is getting mowed down for the mother of all parks that will include a section for the dogs. i don’t have a dog yet, but i hope to get one. a publicly funded projects like dog parks can strengthen the community. wouldn’t it be great to own a st bernard that can lug your favorite hennessy in a barrel? your dog can take care of business while i stay happy. i must admit that dog parks are gross. for ex., the logan circle park smells like poop (not sure if it’s an official dog park). i don’t know how the slackers slack there all day. so i can understand the anti-dog park folks that these projects are perceived with unilateral benefits for the owners. seriously the turf? whether your advocate or a hater, you should know that artificial turfs cause more injuries to football players, so why provide the same environment for the dogs? i’m fuming. PETA!!!

  • I feel lucky to NOT have a dog park nearby – all that incessant barking! Are there no rules regarding dogs having to be spayed/neutered? I saw some mating (not just playfully humping) in the park on 11th street.

  • Hee ho ho. I love it when people get all worked up about the smell and waste of dog parks. Hmmm, I am guessing on the average day I see at least 1-2 more humans peeing in the alley (not sure where they poop) than I do dogs. As a matter of fact there are three designated spots where people like to repeatedly pee that I can see right from my kitchen window!! And yes I own dogs, and yes I clean up after and yes I would support dog parks bla bla bla.

    What when you throw in all the Wendy’s, Mickey D’s and Sweet Mango trash (um I mean leftovers) and the beer cans and black bodego baggies in the streets, human and dog trash sort of becomes one big root cause of my fave waste producers-rats!

    So voiceofreason, maybe we should round up the homeless and the babies that use diapers and any other creature that creates waste in some form or fashion and make sure they are comfortably ensconced in oh i don’t know-PG County?

    No dogs in the city is quite possibly the dumbest idea I’ve heard this week-and it’s only Tuesday! So surely you were kidding.

  • Sorry I forgot about the noise from incessant barking. They do have this handy procedure of cutting vocal cords of dogs so they can’t bark. I haven’t heard of it being used on humans. yet. Or trash trucks, cars, radios, tvs. Oh wait, all of those noises that come with ta da –living in the city.

    Whew I feel better now. Better you than my boss feel my wrath. Have a doggone lovely day!

  • I go to Lincoln Park pretty much every day and it’s rare that the dogs bark. There are often more than 50 dogs at the park, and the barking is far from incessant. The majority of dogs don’t bark just for the sake of barking.

    As for the “fornicating” – there are no rules saying that your dog must be spayed or neutered. City licensing fees for unaltered dogs are high ($50/yr as opposed to $15/yr for fixed pups). I would doubt that you saw full on mating at the dog park since the dogs are accompanied by their owners and most people who own unaltered dogs wouldn’t just stand around and allow that to happen. (granted I’ve only been to the park on 11th once, but the owners all seemed conscientious) Dogs often vigorously “hump” each other as a display of dominance – my 23 lb schnoodle is a spayed female and mounts dogs 3x her size and raucously humps them into submission. It would be difficult for a person just passing by to determine whether they were actually mating.

    And for whomever asked, No, Logan is not an official DPR park.

  • FYI, removing a dogs vocal cords is a laryngectomy. Its often done to guard dogs in certain places so you don’t hear them before they rip your throat out.

  • religion, politics, health care reform, immigration, and dog topics can really bring out the worst in people. i guess it was a cranky start to a week. i hope more dog parks are in the works. there seems to be a lot of evidence to indicate that the relationship between humans and dogs can be mutually beneficial. but i can’t believe someone called a dog park-hater a retard. no wonder dog lovers like us are sometimes perceived as caring more about animals than humans.

  • VoR, What non-existant “children” do you think need yet another flipping park? The “children” that currently leave all the rec centers in the District nearly vacant or the “children” that leave nearly every playground in this city more empty than a church on Monday?

  • The children are certainly NOT non-existent. There are lots of kids in the neighborhood, but there are limited public places for them to play or just “be”. So they end up cooped up inside, on porches, or up to no good.

    As for the dogs in the city thing, seriously, if you can’t have a dog in the city without dog parks, they don’t really belong here. Unless you have the means to take them out to the country often to run and socialize them. Dogs in dense, urban areas is a relatively new thing, over the past fifty years or so. It’s not great for the dogs, and it causes issues with non-dog owners, as many posts on this blog and others evidence. Dog owners will disagree for the most part, but that’s because they want to keep their dogs regardless of the costs.

  • I think there should be a moratorium on parks where the adult leisure activity is throwing dice. Honestly, dice throwers in the city should have the means to take their dice out to Atlantic City or Vegas to throw them.

  • I think there should be a moratorium on having kids if you don’t have the means to afford to raise them.

  • So it’s okay to advocate for forced sterilization, but not against dog parks? I’ll concede on the rolling dice. Although I like that activity.

  • Lack of spaces to play is in no way, shape or form the problem when it comes to the numerous problems afflicting youth in this community. The epicenter of youth violence and gang activity, around the 14th and Girard area, is directly proximate to TWO large parks, both newly redone, both with basketball courts and other amenities, and a newish, very attractive, enormous rec center. These facilities haven’t stopped the violence. You could build an enormous grass stadium and it wouldn’t stop the violence. The issues are complex — lack of parental discipline / involvement (especially missing fathers), broken schools, lack of economic opportunities, inadequate penalties / intervention for teen offenders, the drug / gang culture, low expectations / general acceptance of minor criminal behavior, lack of role models — but the evidence demonstrates that just building new parks and rec centers isn’t going to do much, if anything, to stem teen violence and gang activity. Better to spend resources making the school year 11 months long (or longer), the school day longer, adding more extracurriculars, improving the school environment itself, and enforcing truancy laws, to add the structure sorely missing from many of these kids’ lives.

  • Also, I have a view of the dog park at 11th and the space is no less attractive than it used to be. Yes, I am not thrilled with the inevitable patch of dirt in the middle, but before, it was a vacant space that was used as nothing other than a garbage receptical and a place for late-night public drinking (it was always empty during the day), which I spent many hours of my life cleaning up … at least most dog owners clean up after their dogs, unlike the previous sporadic “user” of that space, who seemed content to let other people clean up their empty liquor bottles and trash. And now, it is a space where people congregate, socialize, enjoy, form more of a community, and there are a lot more eyes on the street. This space if very small and dominated by metro vents and equipment — there is really nothing else it could feasibly be used for. Other than, of coruse, a place to throw trash on the ground, its former primary use. It would be nice if it was beautified a bit and maybe they could install that special dog turf and more bushes and trees. But there is no doubt that the space is far better utilized now than it was two years ago. There sure as hell weren’t EVER any kids playing in that space.

  • As for dice, not only is it illegal to gamble on the streets, but there is a LOT Of violence associated with dice games. But one example:

  • I’m sorry but is that patch of brown dirt across from Red Rocks really considered to be a “dog park”? Until about a year ago it was a restricted access area for utilities. Is it officially a “dog park” now or is it just considered to be one because the dog owners are trespassing on the property and no one from the city has done anything about it yet?

    I’ve got nothing against dogs – I love them. But I have to agree with voiceof reason – if you can’t have a dog without access to a “dog park,” you shouldn’t have a dog. My dog ran free in my backyard in New York City, which was as big as the so called “dog park” across the street from Red Rocks. When he left the backyard it was on a leash.

    I guess I understand the city’s push to create new dog parks. They fit the only demographic that is moving here – childless couples and singles with disposable incomes. A lot of these folks have dogs. Why should the city build more playgrounds when the number of kids keeps shrinking? It’s not like anyone moves into DC with kids, or at least school-aged kids.

  • I call B.S. on your silly statements VoR. You show me these “children” just clammoring for a park. Hell, there are enough vacant or nearly vacant rec centers, parks, and facilities like Turkey Thicket (also nearly always abandoned), that each flipping “child” could have their own goddamn park. The problem is that these “children” in places like Columbia Heights would rather be screwing up than playing on a swingset. Further, I have yet to see a dog throw empty cans or wrappers on the ground right next to a trash can. You can’t walk 6 feet in this city without coming into contact with trash thrown on the ground by the lazy residents of D.C. There is far more trash on the streets of D.C. put there by “children” who can’t behave than poop by dogs whose owners fail to clean up after them. That’s just a fact. You’ve got plenty of excuses for “children” who can’t seem to behave like normal people and yet want to focus your ire on the small number of dogs that live in the city. Good prioritizing there, VoR. You let me know the next time a dog shoots a innocent woman dead on the streets of Columbia Heights. “Oh, if we only had more parks!” Christsakes. Also, there have been dogs in cities since the dawn of time. Look at the walls at Karnak, you knucklehead, dogs have lived in cities as long as we have.

  • What do you mean “show you”? Do I have to link to the multiple posts on here about the kids of the neighborhood shooting each other, chopping down trees, throwing rocks, etc?

    Do you look around when you walk around? The kids are everywhere.

    They need safe, interesting places to hang out. They aren’t getting them.

    Litter is a problem, but just because other people litter doesn’t mean we should have smelly, nasty, loud dog parks eating up valuable public space.

    But even if you don’t buy the help the kids argument, there should be more places for adults to hang out in public instead of more dog parks. Places to picnic, throw a frisbee, read, meet eachother, etc. Dog parks take away space for that as well. Pretty much dog parks around here are just another symptom of a vocal and well funded minority trouncing on the needs and interests of the less vocal and less well off majority. Same as it ever was.

  • So get off your lazy ass, get a job, and become part of the wealthy minority. Nothing’s stopping you.

  • VOR, why do you bother to waste your and our time on these discussions? All you want to do is troll and flame rather than actually engage or consider opposing points of view.

    You say …

    “They need safe, interesting places to hang out. They aren

  • It’s kinda funny how New2CH is actually the better “voice of reason” – completely agree with him/her.

  • Fair enough on kids not using the places they do have, but the answer is not “more dog parks”. And even if the kids won’t use additional park space, the adults will. Dog parks cause nuisances and they don’t do anything to help eliminate the nuisances the community already has.

  • Again, you are ignoring the facts. Adults have the following at their disposal:

    1) Parks – In addition to a variety of corner parks and pocket parks scattered throughout the city, let’s not forget metro-accessible parks including Rock Creek Park and The National Mall. If that’s not enough, you can take any number of Metro buses to Meridian Hill Park.

    2) Free museums

    3) Free community activities

    4) A brand new civic plaza

    5) Dupont Circle

    6) Restaurants (don’t say they’re all expensive because that’s simply not true. they run the gamut)

    7) Movies

    8) free music on the weekends at Bloombars

    I’m just not sure what else you want?

  • I want less dog parks and more people parks.

  • You know, amusingly, the only way I connected with some thuglets in my area is via my dog. I walked her by them a few times, and like many DC thugs, they were initially scared as all they know are fighting dogs. I mentioned she was friendly to them, and before I knew it I had several junior mafia types gingerly petting her and then giving her some real rubbin’. Now they often say hi and pet her when I go by them. So maybe more dogs are the answer….

  • @Vo”R” there are only 6 current and planned official dog parks. (the one across from Red /ocks is unofficial and on Metro property, not city property).

    Further, you are simply incorrect about them not abating existing nuisances. se my first post on this thread, and those of several others re “eyes on the street” etc.

    Dog parks ARE people parks. I get just as much enjoyment from going to the dog park as my dog.

  • @Pennywise I have had the same experince numerous times. It’s pretty cool.

  • I think its safe to say anyone claiming to be the voice of reason is anything but. Sort of like the crazies screaming “I am the messiah!!!”

    (yes I know my name is a murderous clown or bad hair band, and I am neither)

  • I too want more people parks and fewer dog parks. There’s just no comparison regarding the level of civic involvement between dog park goers and people park goers. Dog owners are among the least civically engaged people I know. The eyes and ears argument is a crock, too.

    Dog parks are not people parks, anyone who has tried to take care of a park knows this. Dogs running off leash prevent any other activity in that space. I could go on and on.

    It’s catering to short-term desires. Have four, max, in the city, that’s it. And don’t take away public property (or, any MORE public property). (Have all the private dog parks that you want.)

    We will regret this.

  • I want fewer drive-by shootings and fewer check-cashing shops. We all can’t get what we want.

  • We can certainly do a lot better.

  • There aren’t even that many dog parks. Also, for every dog park, there are 100s of places for people to go.

  • Pennywise the band is definitely not a hair band

  • The turf is called “K9grass”, supposedly it is designed to handle dog waste and prevent odors. I am going to have to check into these claims.

    For those of you bitching about more people parks, really get over yourselves. There are a lot of them around, but since you don’t go to them they sit vacant with whino’s or dealers. How about using the ones we have, or getting off your butt and cleaning them up so they are littered with broken glass- i.e. Grant Circle.

    Dog parks help raise the value of your property (if you own) since they are a desired community amenity (if designed properly) and they are used on a daily basis- so they are not a waste of money. It is about time the District begins to catch up with real cities like Chicago, New York, etc. who have dog parks and other amenities in almost every neighborhood.

  • “Dog parks help raise the value of your property (if you own) since they are a desired community amenity (if designed properly) and they are used on a daily basis- so they are not a waste of money.”

    Rising property values should never be the metric by which to measure the workability of a community. Sadly, they often are. Dog parks are desired by some, not all, as evidenced by this thread and nationwide opposition and support that pops up in urban and suburban communities all over.

  • Rising property values generally correlate with the desirability of living in a community. Prices go up where people want to live. That is a good thing.

    You make a statement contrary to this, but you don’t provide any evidence or make any points to support your position.

    You make statements like “the bums were here first.” Being somewhere first does not mean you have permanent right to stay there. Members of a community have rights but they also have responsibilities. If you’re going to allow your neighborhood to turn into a slum, then you are obviously doing something wrong. That’s the way it was before. I don’t know why you seem to want the area to remain run-down. Why don’t you want the area to develop?

    We can have dog parks AND people parks. And, in fact, there are multiple people parks, as countless folks have pointed out to you. You just seem to not be able to face that fact.

  • I don’t think the area is run-down. It’s not completely yuppified, but that certainly doesn’t make it run-down. Just because the people who lived here before the gentrification started couldn’t afford to make the neighborhood look like Clarendon doesn’t mean it was run-down. It wasn’t and isn’t a slum. That’s a slap in the face to all the hard working people that have been in this neighborhood for decades. Property values should take a backseat to community development and services. They seldom do.

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