Should professional dog walkers pay to use Marymoor Park?

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 8, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 8 at 7:28 PM

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REDMOND, Wash. -- King County is considering a plan to charge professional dog walkers $800 a year to use the off-leash dog area at Marymoor Park.

Complaints about unruly dogs and people not picking up after their dogs prompted the proposal, which is drawing criticism from some professional dog walkers.

"We're not going to be able to come down here anymore," said Richard Winsler, who owns a dog walking company called Catch Me if You Can.

"It's very sad. We love coming down here," he said.

The plan would also require insurance for dog walkers and mandate 32 hours of volunteer service at the park each year. Winsler thinks 32 hours is excessive, arguing many dog walkers already put in extra hours to clean up the park.

"We do a pretty good job of maintaining it ourselves," he said

Park management said the dog area was not designed for dog walkers with a dozen or so dogs.

"The park was created for individual and family enjoyment to bring one, maybe two dogs here to exercise," said Margaret Anthony, the park's operations manager.

A public hearing was held Wednesday night. The county will collect comments from dog owners and walkers until December 29 before making a final decision.

Any changes would take effect February 1.

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