(Updated at 12 p.m.) The members-only group that lets dog owners walk their pets in Congressional Cemetery is changing access to the space because non-member pet owners have been entering without paying.
On Monday, the cemetery will end regular access to its grounds through a gate on 17th Street SE, according to Stephen Brennwald, head of the K9 Committee, which oversees use of the land by dogs. Members repeatedly failed to lock that entrance.
The gate, which paid members of the K9 Corps can unlock with a code, “has been left unsecured and/or removed repeatedly, and that gate has become a common point of egress for individuals and their dogs who are not authorized to be on the grounds,” a notice from the group said. Several “minor incidents” have happened as a result of the unlocked gate, the note added.
Brennwald didn’t elaborate on the incidents that occurred after the gate was left unlocked.
“The Cemetery strives daily to strike the correct balance between fostering an open, welcoming feel for our property, and having appropriate security measures in place for the well-being of all of our visitors,” the notice said.
“We therefore will never implement the draconian set of policies it would take to bring the number of problems to zero. However, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that closing the 17th Street gate is a common-sense step that will materially help the situation.”
Dog walkers will have to use the cemetery’s main entrance on E Street SE instead.
For dogs to enter the cemetery, owners must pay a yearly $225 membership fee, plus $50 for each dog.
Photo via Facebook/Congressional Cemetery