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Last month, to popularize its plan to designate certain parks as dog parks, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) decided to rename potential dog parks “dog-friendly areas” or “off-leash areas.” According to DPR spokesperson Terry Lee, the new terminology is intended to reassure opponents that the parks will still be available for other uses. “It really caused a lot of anxiety by having that terminology ‘dog park,’” he says. But many, including Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Robert Meehan, are worried that the “off-leash areas” will still lead to unruly mutts and trampled public spaces. Meehan, who was present at a recent community meeting where the DPR presented a model for a “dog friendly area,” at Stead Park, argues that the change is simply a semantic one. “A rose by any term is still a rose. We’re not sure if it’s much ado about nothing, this change,” Meehan says.

—Bidisha Banerjee