Dear PoP – Has Stanton Dog Park Been Removed?

“Dear PoP,

Any idea what’s going on with the Stanton Park Dog Park? My fiance took our pup there this morning as usual and went they went back this afternoon the fence had been removed, effectively destroying the dog park. We’re hoping it’s just temporary, but there was no indication of what was going on…”

Hmm, according to Wikipedia:

“A playground is located in the western section of the park; a section in the eastern half is often used by dog walkers. The park is maintained by the National Park Service and as such, dogs are not allowed off leash.”

So I wonder if it was the NPS enforcing the no off leash rule? Any neighbors know why the fence was removed? Is this a temporary or permanent thing? Were dogs commonly off leash here?

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25 Comment

  • It’s Grayliani time!

  • I used to take my dog here when I lived on the hill a few years back. It didn’t always have a fence, and the fence that was put up when I lived there was actually supposed to keep the dogs out of that part of the park because there had been too many complaints of dogs being let off-leash (or so I was told). It’s never been an official dog park.

  • I don’t believe that was ever meant to be a “dog park.” In fact I think NPS put the fence up to keep the dogs OFF the grass, so they could rehab it, and then dog owners slipped around the fence to let their dogs run, which was sort of the opposite of the original intention. The fence wasn’t, like, chain link, it was that wooden slat temporary fencing they use when returfing on the Mall as well.

  • Yep, what others have said…Stanton Park was never intended to be a dog park.

  • It’s not and never was a “dog park.” It’s a people park. Some self-entitled dogs owners felt like they (and their dogs) were above the law and more important than the young (human) children the fenced-in part of the park was designed for.

    Dogs, per DC code, must be under the owner/guardian’s immediate control and on a leash no longer than 4 feet. The only exception is within a DC-created dog park, with signage and regulations clearly posted.

    • So it sounds like children were trampling all over the grass too.

    • The park isn’t supposed to be a dog park but their are no dog parks on Cap. Hill. Many of the dog owners used a small portion at the back of the park, some on leash and some off leash. I walk through the park every day and it looks like the dogs and the kids never interact. The fenced in playground (on 4th st. side) and the area mentioned in this post (on the 6th st side) are on opposite sides of Stanton Park. According to many of my neighbors with kids, pets of any kind are not aloud in the playground and the parents will ask people who bring dogs into the playground area to leave. I’ve been told that they are pretty vocal about it (rightfully so) but that they don’t mind the dogs playing on the back side.

      • Sorry. Misunderstood/misread the post. I thought the fenced-in area referred to was the playground.

        Either way, dogs are required by law to remain on leashes, regardless of self-entitled dog owners thinking they’re better or above the law.

        BTW, I (responsibly) own two dogs of my own.

  • here we go. Gray removing all the Dog parks just like we thought!!!!!!!

    (i’m kidding)

  • I’m curious now. Do you know where in the DC Code one can find the dog-owning provisions?

    • DC Statutes Sec. 8-1808: “No owner of an animal shall allow the animal to go at large.”

      DC Statutes Sec. 8-1801(1)(A): “The term ‘animal at large’ means any animal found off the premises of its owner and neither leashed nor otherwise under the immediate control of a person capable of physically restraining it.”

      DC Statutes Sec. 8-1801(1)(B): “The term ‘at large’ does not include a dog in a dog park that is under the verbal command of a responsible adult.”

      DC Statutes Sec. 8-1801(3)(B): “The term ‘dog park’ means an officially established off-leash dog exercise area on District-owned or federal parkland.”

      I don’t see a definition for “leashed” here; it is possible that the specification of a 4-foot leash is in municipal regulations rather than the statutes.

      • Huh, I had a neighbor who claimed I was violating leash laws because my dog’s retractable leash was fully extended once.

  • First they came for the dog parks, but I wasn’t a dog owner so I did nothing…

  • I don’t live in the neighborhood so I’ve never taken my dog to Stanton Park, but I always thought that area was an official dog park. They should have had some signage up if that wasn’t the purpose of the fence.

    That said, I do think it’s irresponsible when people intentionally let their dogs loose in places where it’s clear they should be on a leash.

    • Pretty sure they did have official signage saying to stay out of the area circled by the fence, and also signs showing that the dogs must remain on leash. But I normally go to Lincoln Park so I may be confused.

    • Seems to me one should assume it’s not a dog park unless there is signage saying that it is, rather than the other way around.

  • Stanton Park is federal property owned and run by the National Park Service, not the DC government.


    District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition Currentness
    Division I. Government of District.
    Title 8. Environmental and Animal Control and Protection (Refs & Annos)
    Subtitle E. Animal Control and Protection.
    Chapter 18. Animal Control. (Refs & Annos)

    § 8-1808. Prohibited conduct.
    (a) No owner of an animal shall allow the animal to go at large.
    (e) No dog shall be permitted on any school ground when school is in session or on any public recreation area, other than a dog park, unless the dog is Search Term Begin leashed.

    § 8-1808.01. Dog parks.
    Best Section Begin
    (a) The Mayor is authorized to establish dog parks on District-owned parkland in which a dog under the verbal command of a responsible adult may exercise off- Search Term Begin leash. Search Term End

  • When I lived there between ’96 and ’98, it wasn’t really a “Dog Park” – But we had somewhat of a “loose verbal agreement” with the NPS – They didn’t mind if we used the one area to the East, and in return many of us contributed money to the NPS have the area re-sodded. At that point, they did fence it off to let the grass grow in some but then removed it.

    There were also some MPS offiers at the time that would enforce the law (even handing out tickets) – And others who didn’t mind. I am assuming the latter were going after REAL criminals.

    • Sorry, meant MPD officers…

    • As a current neighbor to Stanton Park, it’s still pretty much like that. The parents police the playground area to keep dogs out and the dog owners keep to the back area with the temporary snow fence. I’ve been living and working around Stanton Park since 2002 and it’s been like that ever sense. Both groups generally try to respect the other (with a few exceptions). My husband and I have seen people get tickets but they’ve always been to the people who are letting their dogs run all over the park off leash. Until Capitol Hill gets an official dog park I’d imagine this will continue to occur.

  • Marion Park at 5th and E SE also is divided in a similar way and everyone seems to get get along. Almost everyone cleans up after their pets and children.

  • Riddle me this: There are SO MANY people with dogs in this city (myself included) yet we keep getting trampled on by non-dog folks. I’m not saying that I demand x% of the budget or that we move money from Y to Z project, but what if we want a dog park or some areas where our four legged friends can play?

    I guess my frustration is that we never seem to stand up for each other which kills me. If there ever were a more prime example of apathy amongst a group who profess to love their animals so much I can’t really think of one.

  • They’re dogs, just dogs! You want ’em you pay for them. Why should the rest of the population have to pay for your sad hobby? GGgrrrr! (rant over – sorry):)

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