About the Park
Dog Park Rules
About the ParkIntroduction:
Incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia in 2010 as a 501(c)(3) corporation, awarded tax-exempt status as a public charity by the US Internal Revenue Service in February 2012, and based in the District’s 5th Ward, the Langdon Dog Park Association (LDPA) is a membership group serving as the managing body of a fenced, off-leash dog run that was financed and built by the District government’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and which opened in August 2011. As that managing body, LDPA is organized and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.
Langdon Park is one of the largest parks in the entire District. Members of the Association would aver that it is a rare block in our neighborhoods that does not have numerous dogs kept as pets. The Dog Park provides a convenient and accessible place for these many dog-owning neighbors to meet, build relationships, and strengthen their communities. Furthermore, the Association aids in the prevention of cruelty to animals by providing a safe, convenient, and regulated space where dog owners may take their dogs and learn more about how to be good owners. It is widely accepted that relationships between dogs and their owners work best when the animals are allowed sufficient exercise. In an urban area, dog owners often find that personal or community residential space is not accommodating enough or appropriate to adequately exercise animals. The Langdon Dog Park itself provides ample space for exercising and socializing dogs. The Association’s members are committed to good dog ownership, and thereby provide a model for others who have not yet made that commitment. The Directors of the Association seek to develop programs to be held in the Park that will create opportunities for community members to become better dog owners.
The Association is an all-volunteer organization, having no paid staff or board members. Funding is provided by member contributions and donations from the general public.
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Public Dog Parks in the District of Columbia and the Relationship of Community Dog Park Groups to DC Government Agencies
In 2005, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed legislation, DC Act 16-182*, amending the Animal Control Act of 1979, effective October 18, 1979 (DC Law 3-30; DC Official Code 8-1801 et seq.)(2001). DC Act 16-182* authorized the Mayor to create fenced-in, off-leash dog parks. It was transmitted to Congress on October 6, 2005 for a 30-day review, in accordance with Section 602(c)(l) of the Home Rule Act. After passing review, the Act became DC Law 16-40, effective December 10, 2005.
As a direct result of this new law, DC DPR adopted amended rules to the DC Municipal Regulations that required significant community involvement in the creation and operation of all DC dog parks:
Langdon Dog Park Association
The Association is the product of several years of volunteer work by neighborhood residents in partnership with DC Department of Parks and Recreation. In 2009, residents interested in a dog park came together as a group, initially called the Ward 5 Dog Park Society. Over the course of that year, core members organized public meetings at a number of locations to build community support for an off-leash dog run, to communicate with members of the community about plans by DC DPR to build such a site, and to build the group’s membership and capacity. These meetings were held regularly, for some months even as often as at two-week intervals.
Organizers announced these meetings through several open-subscription email lists that served communities in the vicinity of DPR’s projected site, including an email list that served community dog owners in particular. This list, called “BrooklanDogs” after the Brookland neighborhood in DC, served as a primary channel for community information and discussion about the activities of the Group and later the Association. It is a Yahoo Group and is active to this day. In this process, the group continually sought the support and counsel of community members and their elected representatives on the DC City Council and local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
By February 2010, DPR chose a site and allocated funds for preparation and construction of the dog park. Members of the group organized a committee structure to develop membership, incorporate, work with DPR on the design of the site, and raise funds. The group continued to have regular public meetings, attracting members, keeping the community informed about its progress and efforts, and soliciting community input.
In April 2010, members changed the name of the group from “Ward 5 Dog Park Society” to “Langdon Dog Park Association” to better reflect its scope and responsibilities in anticipation of incorporation. In July 2010, LDPA formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization under DC law. DC DPR completed construction of the dog park in early August 2011. On August 11, the President of the Association signed a Memorandum of Agreement with DPR, and on August 14, 2011, LDPA assumed management of the site.