I'd live there

Concerning the recent flap over a play yard for dogs [News, "Dogged Daycare," July 31] (http://www.readthehook.com/93811/newsbiz-dogged-daycare-play-yard-shut-down), I want to add my perspective as an All Things Pawssible customer who has witnessed the conduct of the dogs, the efforts of the proprietors, and the growth of the business, including the play yard.

I take my dog, Flint, to All Things Pawssible twice a week.

All Things Pawssible spent considerable effort and money improving the yard in question, including replacing a chain-link fence with a wooden one and mulching what had previously been an unkempt lot. While the yard was open, dogs were constantly supervised and the yard kept clean. Every time I've ever seen a dog make a mess at All Things Pawssible, I've also seen someone immediately clean it up.

And while dogs do have short bursts of barking when they play, continuous barking is not allowed. If you think about it, no one has a greater interest in keeping the yard clean and the dogs under control than the people who have the most contact with the dogs– the owners and employees of All Things Pawssible. And the idea that an open-air yard would have a "dog smell" even if it's kept clean is preposterous.

The most disturbing aspect of this situation is how unfairly All Things Pawssible has been treated. The City of Charlottesville made the mistake here– erroneously telling the owners they didn't need a special-use permit– but the daycare is paying the price. All Things Pawssible has demonstrated their willingness to make extra efforts to improve the situation, yet they are practically being slandered in print.

It is particularly shocking that Mayor Cox publicly passed judgment on All Things Pawssible before he even visited them or deigned to acknowledge their repeated requests for him to tour their facility. An uninformed civic leader taking sides in a dispute between neighbors, when his role is to decide such matters fairly and impartially, is truly a nightmare– and I say this as a Democrat who has admired Cox's politics, and voted for him, in the past.

The City should own up to its mistake rather than stifle a positive member of its business community– a member who is contributing to the city's fiscal health through its growth, despite a sluggish economy. The City of Charlottesville should grant a temporary permit to reopen All Things Pawssible's playyard immediately, and should then proceed with granting the permanent permit.

Would I live next to the All Things Pawssible play yard? Happily.

Laura Sutherland