Press Club

A dog that served in Afghanistan is receiving a lot of special attention this week as his family prepares for a loving send-off after discovering he has an aggressive tumor.

A Nextdoor post about K9 Rony, the purebred Belgian Malinois living in Arlington, has garnered more than 500 reactions and 140 comments — and prompted Arlington County Police Department to honor him with a vehicle procession Tuesday.

Arlington County police decided to honor Rony “to show our respect and gratitude for his years of service,” a tweet from the department reads. “We are thankful for the time we got to spend with him and ask that you join us in keeping his family in our thoughts during this difficult time.”

Rony served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan for many years, his owners wrote in the Nextdoor post. He retired from the U.S. military where his service included over 380 combat missions, they wrote on the social network.

“A few days ago, Rony had to go to an emergency vet hospital where surgeons found an aggressive fast-growing tumor in his abdomen,” the post reads. “They do not believe he will survive the surgery. Together, we all realized that the kindest gift we could give to him is to allow him to pass away peacefully through euthanasia.”

The family invited users to send notes that will be read aloud to Rony during an “honorable and loving sendoff surrounded by those who love him” this Saturday. The messages will then be shared with other military working dogs and their handlers training for a future deployment, the post says.

The family also hopes to include the letters in a children’s book about the life of a military working dog.

“Military working dogs like Rony have helped protect our country alongside our men and women who serve,” the post reads. “Even after serving, they continue to love and inspire others.”

The full post is below.

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Morning Notes

The sky is reflected off glass office windows in Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s Bike to Work Day — “Bike to Work Day is back… This free event is open to everyone. Arlington will have ten pit stops and BikeArlington will host five pit stops in Rosslyn, Ballston, Columbia Pike, Shirlington, and Clarendon.” [BikeArlington]

Unleashed Dog Leads to Bluemont Brandishing — “At approximately 4:45 p.m. on May 18, police were dispatched to a report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when an unleashed dog ran towards him while barking. A verbal dispute ensued between the victim and dog owner, during which the suspect, who is known to the dog owner, became involved. The victim continued on his route, during which the suspect reapproached and allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened the victim.” [ACPD]

Metro Restoring Some 7000-Series Cars — “A seven-month train shortage that has brought lengthy waits for commuters is closer to ending after Metrorail’s oversight agency approved a request to reinstate some rail cars that were pulled from service because of a rare wheel defect. Transit officials submitted a plan to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission to restore a limited number of 7000-series cars.” [Washington Post, WMATA]

Slight Increase in Homeless Population — “Though down by more than half compared to a decade ago, Arlington’s homeless total rose from 2021 to 2022, according to new data. ‘There’s work to do,’ said Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti, parsing the new data during the May 17 board meeting. The… homeless count (conducted Jan. 26 with data recently released) revealed a total of 182 people living in shelters and on the streets in Arlington, up 6 percent from 171 a year before.” [Sun Gazette]

Op-Ed: Arlington Could Be National Model — “Arlington’s Missing Middle draft framework is extremely ambitious and might serve as a model for the entire country if the county board gets the policy details right to enable new construction.” [GGWash]

Group: ‘Missing Middle’ is ‘War’ — “With the release of the Missing Middle Phase Two Report on April 28, and the accompanying consultant analysis, the county is declaring war on single-family areas of Arlington… Developers, who have essentially run out of room among our 26 square miles, have pushed for Missing Middle up-zoning that will be politically and legally impossible to unwind, even if it falls short of stated goals or produces negative results.” [Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future]

Big Development Kicks Off in F.C. — “West Falls, a major mixed-use development near the West Falls Church Metro station, broke ground Thursday, less than a week after the development team closed on $391 million of financing. In this first phase of its long-planned development, the project, spearheaded by D.C.-based Hoffman & Associates and joined by real estate giant Trammell Crow Co., will comprise five buildings totaling about 1.2 million square feet.” [Washington Business Journal, Patch]y

Veep Coming to Falls Church — “Kamala Harris coming to [Meridian High School in Falls Church] tomorrow to talk electric school buses? The school didn’t name Harris in an email to parents about the event tomorrow, but they said it will stream live at [whitehouse.gov].” The event is scheduled for 3:40 p.m., which means motorcades through Arlington are likely this afternoon. [Twitter]

Plan for Yellow Line Bridge Work — “The City of Alexandria is preparing for a Yellow Line shutdown in Alexandria later this year due to bridge and tunnel rehabilitation and bringing the Potomac Yard Metro station into the system… Blue Line trains will be running frequently from the airport with a replacement ‘Yellow Line’ route running to New Carrollton during the September-October.” [ALXnow]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 65. Sunrise at 5:53 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Blooming trees and the dog park at Gateway Park in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Animal Shelter at Capacity — “Our dog kennels are at capacity (every single kennel is occupied)… but what about your home? That extra seat on your couch sure would be a lot cuter with a furry friend curled up on it.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Fox 5]

Parents Peeved at Teacher Transfer — From an online petition with nearly 500 signatures: “Dr. Sharon Gaston has worked at Taylor Elementary school for 12 years as the lead reading specialist. For the past 11 years she was appointed under 2 different principals as their designee. This past school year she applied to be the principal and unfortunately was passed over. The new principal… is transferring her to a high school. Why? We want answers.” [Change.org]

APS Announces New Principals — “So happy and proud to announce that Ms. Frances Lee has been appointed as the next principal of Ashlawn Elementary! She is currently assistant principal of Escuela Key.” “At the April 28 School Board meeting, the School Board appointed Ms. Bridget Loft as the new Swanson principal. Her appointment is effective May 3.” [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]

New Japanese Eatery at Mall Food Court — “Sarku Japan… The largest and most successful Japanese Quick Service Restaurant chain in the US is coming! Come celebrate the grand opening of Sarku Japan at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Sample their famous signature chicken teriyaki at the food court.” [Twitter]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Bias Attack — “A man from Arlington, Virginia, was found guilty and sentenced Friday for a hate crime attack on two Latino construction workers back in 2019. A judge sentenced Kurt Madsen, 53, to 540 days — nearly a year and a half — in jail, but suspended his term to time served as long as he completes two years of probation. Before his trial, Madsen spent 160 days in jail.” [WTOP, U.S. DOJ]

Police Memorial Ceremony Planned — “The annual Arlington County Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. at the Arlington County Justice Center, 1425 North Courthouse Road… The public is invited; the event also will be live streamed through the county government’s Facebook page.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Starting to Buy Electric Buses — “New details of Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, presented at this week’s meeting of the Board of Directors, outlines how the agency will transition to a zero-emission bus fleet including testing and evaluation, infrastructure and facility upgrades, and procurement efforts.” [WMATA]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Dogwoods in bloom along Arlington’s Bluemont Trail (Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler)

Taco Bell Returning to Courthouse — “Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood has gone more than a decade without a Taco Bell. That sad period in its history will soon come to an end. The fast-food chain’s restaurant-bar combo, Taco Bell Cantina, will replace a portion of the multistory Guarapo, the lounge-tapas-hookah bar place that shuttered roughly six years ago, according to plans obtained from Construction Journal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Farewell, Farmbird — “It sounds like D.C. Farmbird locations are now closed, in addition to the Ballston location… People could be seen hauling items out of the Farmbird in Ballston today after an online auction for the restaurant’s equipment.” [Twitter, Barred in DC]

Economic Development Director Leaving — “Telly Tucker, Arlington Economic Development’s director for the last couple years, is leaving that post and heading back to his old stomping grounds in south-central Virginia to helm a regional economic development group there. Effective May 31, Tucker will be the maiden president for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.” [Washington Business Journal]

Clarendon Sector Plan Changes Approved — “The Board voted to adopt certain elements of the Clarendon Sector Plan that include:
An update to the 2006 plan, which includes several revisions to policies and design guidelines related to future development. General Land Use Plan (GLUP) Map and Booklet amendments. Zoning ordinance amendments to coincide with the updated sector plan.” [Arlington County]

Beyer Gets Some Conservative Points — “Is U.S. Rep. Don Beyer getting more conservative as his congressional career continues? By one measure the answer is ‘yes,’ although nobody is likely to confuse him with Barry Goldwater anytime soon. Beyer (D-8th) garnered a score of 5 on a 0-to-100 scorecard detailed by the American Conservative Union Foundation on April 26, based on votes taken during the 2021 congressional session. That’s up from 4 a year before.” [Sun Gazette]

Rosslyn ‘Doggie Spa Day’ Today — “Calling all Rosslyn dogs and their humans! Pamper your pup with… special treats for your furry friend. Come out to the Gateway Park Interim Dog Park on… Thursday, April 28 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for our Rosslyn Refresh pup giveaways at the Rosslyn Trike!” [Rosslyn BID]

Carillon Dedication Scheduled — “A community event and Freedom Concert to mark the rededication of the Netherlands Carillon adjacent to the U.S. Marine War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) will be held on Thursday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon. The date marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Allied Forces during World War II.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Thursday — Clear throughout the day, after a chilly and breezy morning. High of 57 and low of 35. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 7:59 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Looking up at a skyscraper along N. Moore St. in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Va. Hospital Center Changing Name — “Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center is charging forward with its regional expansion under new leadership — and a new moniker to match. The nearly 80-year-old independent hospital, which had the same CEO for nearly half of that time, is now going forward as VHC Health. The change aims to better reflect its role in the region, said Christopher Lane, the hospital’s new leader since March 28.” [Washington Business Journal]

Auditor Eyes Site Plans — “Auditor Chris Horton has proposed spending about 300 of his 2,000 work hours during fiscal 2023 evaluating past site plans to determine if the benefits that were promised to the public actually materialized. His work plan, which will have to be ratified by the County Board, won a receptive audience at the April 7 meeting of the government’s Audit Committee. ‘I really love this idea,’ said John Vihstadt, a former County Board member.” [Sun Gazette]

Holiday Weekend Changes — “Whether you celebrate the Christian holiday of Easter, the Jewish holiday of Passover, the two holidays will overlap during the weekend of April 16-17. As the Easter holiday falls on a Sunday, closures may be limited.
Arlington County government does not typically close for Good Friday before Easter. However, there are a few service changes for services that do operate on Sundays.” [Patch]

W-L Student Competing in History Bee — “Aaron Lopez, a ninth-grade student at Washington-Liberty High School, will compete in the History Bee national championships after scoring success at the state level.” [Sun Gazette]

Disobedient Dog Infuriates Pentagon City Resident — From Reddit, as highlighted by Monkeyrotica: “I hear you every damn day, twice a day from my apartment window. Your dog acts up around other dogs every [expletive] day. You keep shouting ‘ROBERT’ at your dog every time he acts up. Your dog keeps [expletive] misbehaving. See how your tactic just doesn’t work?” [Reddit]

Newspaper Opposes Ukraine Donation — “Everybody should feel bad for what the Ukrainian people are going through and appalled by the actions of the Russian government. And if people want to donate funds or humanitarian supplies, amen to that. But ballistic-vest donations? That may be a one step too far over the line.” [Sun Gazette]

Good Luck, Jo! — ARLnow’s Jo DeVoe is now on maternity leave. We expect her to return in the fall.

It’s Good Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 68 and low of 49. Sunrise at 6:33 am and sunset at 7:46 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A bike ride in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Rent on the Rise — “Living in Arlington, Virginia has its perks. ‘Young. It’s vibrant,’ said Arlington resident Robert Buck. ‘That’s why I moved here.’ However, those perks come at a price and for many, that price comes with a roommate… Arlington isn’t getting any cheaper according to a new study from Apartment List that says while rents are getting higher across the DMV they have gone up the most in Arlington by 16% over last year, compared to 10% in D.C.” [WUSA 9]

New Subdivision Gets New Name — “Toll Brothers has chosen a name for the luxury subdivision it is building on the site of the historic Febrey-Lothrop House, demolished one year ago. The winner? The Grove at Dominion Hills. The company was considering suggestions to name the new streets its 40 new homes will require off McKinley Rd. and Wilson Blvd. for the former landowners Febrey and Rouse. But on learning of Arlington’s street grid (new streets would have to be three-syllable “M’s” and N. 9th St.), the firm opted not to seek an exception from the county board, I’m told.” [Falls Church News-Press]

APS on Spring Break — “Arlington Public Schools wishes you a wonderful, relaxing and safe Spring Break! APS schools and offices will be closed for the break, April 11-15, and Mon, April 18 for Grade Prep. We will see you back on Tue, April 19!” [Twitter]

Safety Push for S. Carlin Springs Road — “A dangerous stretch of road in Arlington is prompting community advocates, civic groups, and neighbors to request the county implement new safety measures. Arlington County Public Schools Parent, Gillian Burgess, says there are three schools along South Carlin Springs Road, and the traffic, as well as the congestion, makes her worried about children’s safety.” [Fox 5]

GMU Hosting ‘Yappy Hour’ Tonight — “Bring your pup and get to know the Arlington community at Mason Square! Bring your furry friends and get your paws on some doggie treats, puppachinos, toys, belly rubs, and more! It’s time to paw-ty!” [George Mason University]

Blood Drive This Afternoon — “Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar is partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to host an Arlington Community Blood Drive on Monday, April 11. An Inova Bloodmobile will be parked in front of Fire Works, near the intersection of Clarendon Boulevard and North Adams Street, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 11.” [Patch]

Lt. Gov. Sears Coming to Arlington GOP Dinner — “The Arlington and Alexandria Republican committees yesterday announced that the lieutenant governor would be the guest of honor at their joint Lincoln/Reagan Dinner, to take place May 19 in Alexandria. Tickets are $100 to $250. No doubt Sears will guarantee a sold-out event. People like a celebrity, and with no offense to the other two statewide officeholders in Virginia, it is Sears that has that status at the moment.” [Sun Gazette]

This Place Is for the Birds — From the Twitter account Bunnies of Arlington County: “Not a bunny, but birds appear to have nested in the A of the Oracle building in Court House.” [Twitter]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 67 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:38 am and sunset at 7:42 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Liberty gas station in Bluemont (photo via Google Maps)

Nearly 200 comments later, a contentious Nextdoor discussion about the propriety of tossing bagged dog poop in business trash cans ended on a hopeful note.

The discussion thread on the social network started when a Bluemont resident posted the following complaint about a “rude confrontation” at the neighborhood’s well-liked Liberty gas station at 5201 Wilson Blvd. It concluded 18 hours later with something rare to behold these days within the online fighting pits: genuine self-reflection and the promise of an apology.

“I want to warn other dog walkers that you might get an earful from the company if you try and dispose of your dog’s waste in their bins,” said the man’s original post. “There’s a public bin within a few meters.”

The comments in response were immediately negative, questioning why he had not just dropped the doggy doo doo in the public waste bin and whether the post was real, which led to the poster doubling down and threatening to boycott the gas station.

Not a hoax. If they don’t want me throwing things away in the trash while I’m not paying for gas. Ok, I got.

It was more the way the employee had interacted with me, as if I’m the only one ever throwing away trash (which is always going to be stinky) in their trash bin. As if I, on this one day in particular, was the reason he’s had to empty out trash every day of his life.

Now I won’t be paying for gas there or using their services again; as any consumer has that right.

More than 150 comments followed in the proceeding 18 hours, mostly upbraiding the poster and defending the employee.

“You’re throwing literal feces, not generic gas station waste, into a private trash can and wrote a page trying to besmirch their business for making a reasonable request on how their property is used, as is their right, and expect to not seem entitled?” wrote a Maywood resident in response. “You hit all the marks for it in your diatribe and then instead of just saying okay no problem with respect you deflected to ‘well it’s not just me’ and pushed your point.”

“If you really respected this gentleman just doing his job, you would have immediately apologized and promised to not do it again. Instead, you chose to initiate a confrontation. And he responded, as would anyone!” wrote a Westover resident. “That doesn’t make him rude. Instead, it only proved your inability to accept responsibility. What would you have done if someone walked up to use the trash can on your porch for any trash, poop or not?”

Amid the pile-on — which eventually came to include Alexandria, D.C. and Fairfax County residents, as Nextdoor seems to expand the geographic radius of users who see local posts when one is receiving high engagement — some remarked on the relative frequency of and passionate response to posts involving dog poop in the platform.

A common Nextdoor discussion, they pointed out, involves disputes over neighbors tossing feces-filled bags in each other’s trash cans.

“One thing I have learned on Nextdoor is that some people have no issue at all with throwing dog poop in a bag in any trash can available, and that some people feel extremely strongly that it should never be done,” observed a Rock Spring resident. “And that the two sides don’t remotely understand how the other could feel that way.”

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Abingdon Elementary School’s field (via Google Maps)

Abingdon Elementary School says its grounds are getting too many unauthorized daytime visits from people looking to exercise or walk their dogs.

Some neighbors have been using the playground and field at 3035 S. Abingdon Street during the school day, which is against school rules, according to Arlington Public Schools and a nearby Fairlington condo association.

Signage throughout the property reminds residents that school hours start at 7 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., APS says.

The Fairlington Villages condo association took to Twitter last week to remind its residents of school rules after receiving complaints from the Abingdon community. The condos at 3001 S. Abingdon Street are a stone’s throw from the elementary school.

The association reminded residents that these facilities are to be used exclusively by students and faculty during the posted hours. Pet owners should not bring their dogs to the field after-hours, either, it added.

“This will eliminate the health risks to children who might otherwise encounter pet waste,” it said.

APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said Abingdon staff have also had to enforce school rules.

“Abingdon staff have spoken to community members to let them know that access to the track and playground is not allowed during the school day,” he said. “Contact with the condo association was made through a PTA parent who connected them with an Abingdon staff member.”

He took the opportunity to reiterate school rules about using public playgrounds and fields.

“While school is in session, the playgrounds are reserved for the use of APS students for the school day,” Bellavia said. “We ask that community members refrain from using school grounds for other activities, such as practicing sports, dog training, using the school as a cut-through or other activities during school hours.”

Abingdon is bordered by a 0.8-acre, county-owned public green space called Fort Reynolds Park (4585 31st Street S.), and connected to the park by a trail.

While pets are not allowed at the park, pet owners can exercise their dogs at the Shirlington Dog Park (2710 S. Oakland Street) and the Utah Dog Park (3191 S. Utah Street), both of which are a little more than a mile away.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.

Very good boys (and girls) can now eat food that’s good for the planet, from a Clarendon-based company called Chippin.

It all started when founder Haley Russell gave her goldendoodle a cricket to eat, and her dog enjoyed it.

“That initiated the journey of looking at how might we be able to give all-natural alternative protein sources to nourish four-legged family members and meet this totally unaddressed need, which is for pet parents to be able to give them great nutrition while aligning purchases the way they buy other things” — that is, with a focus on environmental impact, she tells ARLnow.

The company sells dog treats and dog food made from crickets, an invasive species of fish and a CO2-sucking algae called spirulina. Russell says Chippin enjoyed a successful 2021: it launched new products and hit the shelves of big-box pet supply store Petco, which aims to have sustainable food companies comprise half of the food brands it offers by 2025.

And this year, she’s focused on increasing distribution and finding new retail and wholesale partnerships. While Russell couldn’t divulge any more details, she said Chippin is looking to respond to the tremendous demand for cat food products later in 2022.

U.S. pets are the fifth-largest global meat consumers, according to Russell, so how pet owners choose to feed their companion animals has a significant impact on the environment. Production of traditional protein sources such as chicken, beef and pork releases methane and CO2 emissions, leads to water overconsumption and degrades water and air quality, among other consequences, she noted.

Haley Russell, founder of Chippin (courtesy photo)

But when Russell began looking for alternatives, she says she found “nothing on the market that was delivering on what I wanted: a high-quality, eco-friendly, tasty product.”

Her dog’s eager consumption of a cricket was not the only source of inspiration for Chippin. Russell, a graduate of Northwestern University, says she studied economics and global health and has always been interested in how food could be “an agent for change for health and the environment.”

Her years in the Great Lakes region prompted her to see if silver carp — an invasive species threatening the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing economy — could become another source of food for dogs. Her hunch was right.

“We created the first-of-its-kind dog food that solves for providing high-quality nutrition with a protein for dogs with allergies to beef and chicken and helps restore biodiversity in the Great Lakes while fishing for a fish we need to fish for,” she said.

Every product is vetted by veterinarians and researchers at the University of Illinois, who ensure these “planet-friendly proteins” are healthy and biologically appropriate for dogs, she said. They’re also more digestible than chicken.

The Maryland native says Clarendon, where she also lives, is the paw-fect fit for Chippin, which is “seeking to be agents for change in taking climate action in an industry that has totally been under-addressed.”

“It’s dog-friendly neighborhood and my team really enjoys engaging with the vibrant community of pet parents here,” she said.

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The Ballston Quarter location of Heart + Paw (courtesy photo)

Dog parents can get a few photos of their furry best friend with Santa while chowing down on free donuts in Ballston over the next couple of days.

This Friday afternoon (Dec. 17) from 1-3 p.m., four-legged locals can join Santa outside of Ballston Quarter’s Hearts + Paw for holiday pet photos. The combination veterinarian, dog daycare, and grooming business opened in May.

Then, on Saturday, free donuts and hot cocoa kits from District Doughnut will be available at the mall from 1-3 p.m. along with $25 gift cards to REWILD, the trendy plant shop that opened at Ballston Quarter earlier this fall. The snacks and gift cards are available while supplies last with only one giveaway given per person. Holiday tunes will also be spun by local D.J. Cyndi Tran.

Both events are taking place at and hosted by Ballston Quarter on Wilson Blvd.

Elsewhere in Ballston this weekend is a holiday wreath market at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street. That event is being organized by the Ballston BID and will feature live music, a local TikTok star (the cello-playing one), a light art projection, holiday wreaths for sale, and Santa selfies.

There’s plenty of other holiday cheer in Arlington this weekend with Christmas now just over a week away. There’s the Rosslyn holiday market (with Santa and dog photos, too), holiday light displays in Crystal City, and a number of local Christmas tree sales (depending on availability among the current tree shortage).

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A group of Virginia Square and Ballston residents are looking to get a dog park established in their neighborhood.

The neighbors want a fenced-in area for their pets to play off-leash at Quincy Park and are eyeing some sparsely-used green space near the sand volleyball court, says organizer Lori Meyers.

“We are asking for something very simple: some fence and a green space,” Meyers said. “The dogs need to get out and exercise.”

Arlington County doesn’t have enough dog parks to meet the needs of local dog owners, according to the Public Spaces Master Plan adopted in 2019. Dog owners and Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation say the pandemic may have exacerbated that need, as more people adopted dogs during the pandemic and, with the rise of telework, are more able to take them out for exercise.

The neighbors started a petition to gauge support and distributed a survey to determine the need. So far, more than 160 people have signed the petition.

Organizers say they intend to collect the money needed to build a fence and install a dog waste station.

Rosslyn residents, who pushed for a dog park two years ago, went through a similar process to get an interim dog park at Gateway Park. It opened in February.

The newest dog park effort comes as owners say their dogs aren’t able to get enough exercise locally, while the parks department and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington note that complaints of off-leash dogs and dog waste on athletic fields have risen over the last year.

“We’re going to try and get this park created and solve the problems,” Meyers said.

Meyers says the nearest dog park in Clarendon is not walkable and is not popular among her neighbors. She added that a few dogs have needed veterinarian attention after playing in the water features at the park, which has had maintenance issues in the past.

At the more convenient Quincy Park, dogs cannot use the grass field over concerns of dog waste, and — as with all county parks — going off-leash is not allowed outside of designated dog runs and parks, a longstanding county rule. Additionally, Meyers said she and the other dog owners avoid other parts of the park where food gets left out for squirrels.

For a while, dog owners dropped their leashes on the field anyway because it is the only fenced-in part of the park and thus the safest place for dogs to run, Meyers said. She noted that owners were careful to pick up pet waste, so that the student and recreational athletes who use the field don’t get an unwelcome surprise while diving for a ball.

Going off-leash waned after Animal Control officers upped patrols at Quincy Park, she said, adding that officers have recently taken pictures of dog owners and called them out for having leashes that are too long.

“When we have responded to these types of concerns, such as in Quincy Park, we have found large groups of pet owners meeting up in the field/athletic space and letting their dogs off leash,” said Jennifer Toussaint, the animal control chief for AWLA. “One pet owner does it, so another does, and then on. Suddenly community members no longer feel safe bringing their children to the park to play.”

While dog park supporters say a dedicated facility for their pups would resolve these issues, Kalish says that’s not the only way to improve this situation.

“The best solution to keep dogs and people safe in Arlington is to follow the rules,” she said.

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