Looking to let the dogs out . . .

The long wait for some dogs to legally roam free may be finally coming.

On Tuesday the County Council held a public hearing on a bill that would allow dog owners to take the leash off of their pets at dog parks in the County.

The bill, which was introduced by Council member Sidney Katz (D-3), would allow dog owners at municipal dog parks to let their pets off the leash. While it is already legal to let dogs roam free at County dog parks administered by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, it is not the case at some municipal parks.

Though Bill 21-17, would not apply to the two largest municipalities within the County – the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

“For dog owners—and dogs— one of the best things this County has done is establish dog parks so dogs can great exercise and socialize with other dogs,” Katz said. “And I am very glad that we are constantly looking for new opportunities to establish dog parks throughout the County.” Specifically, Chevy Chase Village requested the bill, with Shana Davis-Cook, the Village’s manager as the only one who testified at Tuesday’s public hearing. DavisCook said, one of the village’s parks is completely fenced and has become a de-facto dog park, which the village plans to make an official dog park, but can not do so until the County changes its law.

“Therefore, this put us in a conundrum on how we would be able to legally designate a dog park, there by allowing unleashed dogs within our municipality,” DavisCook.

Council member Nancy Floreen (D-at large) said she was surprised to learn that M-NCPP administered all the dog parks in the County, given there was a “ad-hoc” dog park in her community of Garrett Park, where dog owners frequently let their dogs off the leash.

The Public Safety Committee will hold a work session on the bill on July 17.


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