VIRGINIA

Should kids be banned from Arlington dog parks?

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If some have their way, all children under eight will be banned from playing in any of Arlington County’s dog parks.

The proposal, currently before the Arlington County Park’s Department, also states that any youths between eight and 14-years-old must be accompanied by an adult.

The idea behind the proposal is to keep anything severe from happening.

“I think that's just insane,” said Todd Dahlquist, an Arlington Resident. “I mean, the chances of a little kid getting bit are the same chances as an adult getting bit.”

Keith Fred, a sponsor of Shirlington Dog Park, said children can sometimes get toppled over. “Small kids have gotten knocked over inadvertently by dogs and as the dog parks are getting more and more crowded, we didn't want to wait for one to get seriously injured before we took action,” said Fred.

Dog lover Robert Sullivan says he worries when the animals outweigh the kids.

“I have seen a few kids getting toppled over by a few dogs, but it's a very rare occasion and its usually when the parent isn't paying attention,” said Sullivan, a dog park user.

But some maintain that the parks are a good place for both kids and canines. David Larsen takes his 2-year-old son and dog to Shirlington Dog Park. He said his son loves going to the park and he loves spending time with his son.

“Other than going to the playground every single day, it's fun,” he said. “We gotta take the dog out as well, so if I couldn't do that then I wouldn't be able to do that with my son.”

The proposal is already a policy in surrounding areas. Both Alexandria and Fairfax County have similar rules in place. County officials plan to hold a public hearing before making the final decision.

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