Shirlington Dog Park to Ban Children?

This morning, the Examiner reports that after a meeting held by the Shirlington Community Canine Area (CCA) on Thursday, a decision has been made to “ban” children under 8 and require that children ages 8-14 be accompanied by an adult.

According to the Examiner, Keith Fred, head of the Shirlington Dogs sponsoring group that voluntarily manages the park, said that the County has made the decision already, and they are just waiting for a final review by the County’s lawyers before they post the new rule at the park.

With the ever growing number of families who reside in the Shirlington area. We wonder how parent’s will feel about the ban. Over recent years there area has experienced a huge boom in not only adults, but now a transformation of those adults with multiple dogs into adults with multiple dogs and children.

So what’s the reason behind the no children ban? We’d like to know.

Two Dog Tales
blog post mentions: Dog park users were not informed that the rule was under consideration, and no public notice was posted to invite community input prior to the County making the decision.

“As a childless dog owner who goes to the Shirlington CCA multiple times a week, I think it would be a shame to ban children. Requiring that all children be accompanied by an adult is reasonable. Denying families who can’t afford a single family home with a yard—which in this high-priced housing market is a huge number of Arlington residents—the opportunity to enjoy off-leash time with their dog is, in my opinion, wrong.” (via Two Dog Tales)

Anyone wishing to express their opinion on the issue can contact the Arlington County Parks and Natural Resources Department through their online Contact Us form or at 703-228-6523.

The Shirlington Dogs sponsoring group can be contacted at To join the group, go to:

What do you think??

3 responses to “Shirlington Dog Park to Ban Children?

  1. Pingback: No Kids Allowed? Arlington County Bans Kids From Dog Parks « Companion Animal Law Blog

  2. I think that’s crazy. We used to go down to Shirlington quite a bit when my kids were younger (back when the dog still had a shot at getting some attention). I loved the paved path –I could push my stroller down and back and get a little exercise while the dog ran around.

    Personally, I think it’s a terrible decision.

  3. Suzanne Bolton

    It is unfortunate that this announcement of child age limit considerations for dog park users was presented in this manner. Arlington was one of the first in the Washington area to establish a set of dog parks as part of its park complement. Since that time, dog parks, Community Canine Areas (CCAs) , have grown in popularity and expanded throughout the country.

    With the experience gained over the past years and drawing on the rules of dog parks across the country, the sponsors of the eight Arlington dog parks met in a CCA Round Up to consider the need to update our management of the CCAs. Each CCA is required to have a sponsoring organization (the only parks with such a requirement) and each has a representative who meets regularly to discuss conditions and activities in the CCAs. ArlingtonDogs for Dog Parks coordinates these meetings to assist the Park and Recreation Department and to let the eight CCAs speak with one voice.

    Increasing incidences of potential dangerous interactions between dogs and children have the sponsors particularly concerned, thus the subject of a series of meetings to consider an update of the rules for the CCAs. The sponsors are elected by the CCA users. They are volunteers in service to the community and unfortunately, not all CCA users bother to participate in the sponsoring group.

    There are few areas where dogs can legally play off leash in a metropolitan area and our CCAs are those sites. Virginia has enacted a Dangerous Dog Law that is being harshly enforced and places dogs and their owners in a tenuous position. We have had incidents in which parents with or without dogs have often not paid attention to their children and have resulted in children being inadvertently tumbled by running dogs, dogs mistreated by children, or dogs being dogs when faced with stroller wheels or children running. In the face of the new law, we are trying to be proactive and provide for child safety and some degree of protection for dog owners and our dogs.

    Arlington has a large number of excellent play areas devoted specifically for children where no dogs are allowed. There are only eight dog parks where dogs should be able to play without the fear that their activities may endanger small children. We are trying to adjust the CCA rules to come into concordance with other municipalities and to ensure dog and child safety.

    ArlingtonDogs is planning a community meeting to provide information about the potential rules changes and to try and educate families on the rationale and need for these changes as well as safe human/dog interactions. It will be important that all CCA users participate so that we can continue to be the community with the best and safest dog parks.

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