Dog Gone


Why aren’t dogs allowed at the Dogwood Festival? There’s a disc dog competition, for Pete’s sake!

Last April, Mary Leigh Evitt headed to the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park with her border collie puppy, Olivia. After walking a mile from Evitt’s car to the festival, they were quickly pulled aside with dozens of other disgruntled dog owners. A festival worker announced that they’d need to leave immediately or travel along an outer path to a distant, segregated dog area. “I was pretty aggravated,” Evitt says. “Why is that day different than any other?” It turns out that a 2006 City of Atlanta ordinance states that (nonservice) pooches aren’t allowed at city park events with more than 10,000 attendees, though Ken Gillett at the Office of Parks says that no formal incident led to the law. The disc dogs are counted as “festival performers,” so they’re permitted. “It does make sense when you think of the volume of people,” says Brian Hill, Dogwood’s executive director. “Kids in strollers are at the level of a dog’s mouth. Even a calm dog can get excited if stepped on.” Catch the lucky pups that are allowed in at the trick dog show on April 17 and 18.

Illustration by Edwin Fotheringham

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