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Environment

The Politics of the Dog Park

Dogs are children for a growing number of Americans—and that’s putting new pressures on pup-friendly space.  
Dogs and humans enjoy a sunny afternoon at L.A.’s Sepulveda Basin Dog Park.
Dogs and humans enjoy a sunny afternoon at L.A.’s Sepulveda Basin Dog Park. Richard Vogel/AP Photo

From the thin shade of a pine tree at Laurel Canyon Dog Park, Amber Freeman, a contractor for a local dog-walking company, keeps an eye on her 30 canine charges.

Two other co-workers have met her here to mind the pack, which they’ve picked up from neighborhoods all over Los Angeles. At least six other walking services have set up shop, too, letting dozens of animals frolic, tussle, and snooze in the grassless expanse. In the late morning, just a couple of owners have brought their own dogs.