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PETA Weighs in on Arlington Dog Park Debate

A controversial proposal to ban young children from Arlington’s dog parks has caught the attention of PETA.

The animal rights group has written a letter to Arlington Parks Division Chief Caroline Temmermand with a “friendly suggestion” — to ban unsterilized dogs from the county’s dog parks.

“Dogs who haven’t been ‘fixed’ are nearly three times as likely to bite as are dogs who have been sterilized,” a PETA rep told ARLnow.com. Plus, the rep said, dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered “can contribute to the animal overpopulation crisis.”

“By allowing only ‘fixed’ dogs into Arlington’s [dog paks], the county would make parks safer and send a strong message to dog guardians that spaying or neutering their animal companions is a necessary, responsible thing to do,” PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement.

See PETA’s letter to the Parks Department, after the jump.

May 26, 2011

Caroline Temmermand
Division Chief, Parks and Natural Resources
Arlington County, Va.

Via e-mail

Dear Ms. Temmermand,

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands across Virginia, in light of the Arlington County Department of Parks’ controversial proposal to ban children younger than 8 in community canine areas (CCA). We have a related suggestion that would make Arlington’s CCAs safer for everyone, young and old alike, who uses them: Ban unsterilized dogs from entering the parks.

Allowing only dogs who have been spayed or neutered in CCAs is a smart and proactive way to protect children, adults, and the dogs who use the parks. Dogs who haven’t been spayed or neutered tend to be more territorial and more aggressive, and statistics reveal that unsterilized dogs are nearly three times as likely to bite as are dogs who have been altered. Preventing unsterilized dogs from entering the parks would substantially reduce the likelihood that a child or another dog will be knocked down, bitten, or even killed by an aggressive dog.

Banning unsterilized dogs would also help prevent another type of accident—litters of puppies. While dogs in heat aren’t allowed in Arlington County’s dog parks, the threat of a dog’s being impregnated elsewhere is real. There aren’t enough good homes for all the dogs who already exist in Arlington and communities across the country, and some 3 to 4 million animals must be euthanized in animal shelters in the U.S. every year. Just one unaltered male dog can impregnate dozens of unspayed female dogs. Each new puppy who is born takes away a chance at a home from a dog in a shelter or on the streets, or they will end up homeless themselves.

Making sterilization a requirement for entrance into Arlington’s CCAs would send a strong message to dog guardians that spaying and neutering their animal companions is the responsible thing to do, and it would make the parks safer for everyone. May I please hear from you that you will consider allowing only spayed and neutered dogs into Arlington’s CCAs? Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

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