“Chevy Chase” is trending on Twitter today, leading many to check on the well-being of the SNL veteran/Caddyshack-Community star. But the phrase in this case actually refers to Chevy Chase, Maryland, where a dog park in a tony neighborhood has caused some local controversy, as reported in a terrific read by Washington Post writer Jessica Contrera.
As Contrera explains, “The drama began last fall when the village spent $134,000 to turn a muddy triangle of land into a park where pups could run off-leash in a fenced refuge. Chase tennis balls. Sniff one another’s butts.” Along with the furry visitors, however, came the noise that inevitably comes from their panting mouths. In a neighborhood where the cheapest house runs for $1 million, some 1-percenters are declaring that the barking is invading their pristine domesticity. As a frequent complainer/neighbor testified at a town meeting, “Around dinner time, I’d like to be able to sit on my deck and maybe read a book and chat with a friend or have a glass of wine, and the dogs are barking.” Can you just imagine the horror? Said another of the dog park visitors, “they have very little regard for us or our property… there are dogs barking and they’re just not doing anything.”
Any dog owner can relate to the occasional futility that comes with getting your dog to shut up, especially when they’re having fun frolicking with their friends, but apparently the planners didn’t take animal noise pollution into consideration when they built said park. Since then, though, “the board paid $1,300 for a woman with a graduate degree in epidemiology to spend weeks studying the behavior of the dogs and their humans.” The report was inconclusive. Dog park hours have been altered to help prevent early-morning barks. Meanwhile, a neighborhood chockfull of lawyers and politicians has turned against each other, with the dog owners wondering if they can sue the complainers, and vice versa. One dog-park defender queried, “Where’s the democratic process?… Why is the 1 percent deciding for the 99 percent?”
How can a dog park serve as a microcosm for the country’s current dumpster fire status? Find out at The Washington Post today.