Sorry dogs, there will be no more swimming—at least at the Quiet Waters Dog Park.
The wading pools at the popular park were removed a few weeks ago and they aren't likely to be returning any time soon.
The problem, said Rick Anthony, director of the county’s Department of Recreation and Parks, was ensuring the cleanliness of the pools.
“After discussions with several local veterinarians it was confirmed that the pools, if kept clean, provided no increased risk of passing on diseases like giardaria and leptospirosis above the normal risk of having multiple dogs in a confined setting,” Anthony said in a prepared statement.
“Due to budget cuts and furlough days we have increased the work load on a severely reduced and strained staff that can not keep up with daily operations. This is especially evident at Quiet Waters where we are down six full-time and part-time staff."
Anthony also said in the past, the county expected the pools to be emptied and cleaned by the patrons using the park. But the county cannot assume liability based on that, he said in the statement.
"We have the sole responsibility to provide a safe environment for all our guests and at a minimum the pools would have to be monitored and cleaned on a regular basis," he said.
Dog owners seem to have mixed reactions about the loss of the pools.
“When the pools were there, the dogs enjoyed them,” Lauren Constantino of Annapolis, said in an email. “And the owners took turns constantly emptying and cleaning the pools.”
Patty Murphy agreed.
“People have to make sure they clean and dump them as soon as they get dirty,” she said. “Most of the people who come, who are regulars, they’re very conscientious about it.”
Elise Cross seems OK with the pools being taken away.
“It’s a dog park, not a pool park,” she said. “Fecal matters in the water can cause intestinal problems.”
Shannon Sanborn agreed.
“I didn’t like the pools,” she said. “A) It gets my car all dirty and gross. B) It gets my dogs all dirty and gross. And C) I have to give them a bath when I get home.”
Constantino addressed both the dirtiness of the dogs and the need for park staff to clean the pools in her email.
“I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly wouldn't expect a ranger to empty the pools,” she said. “The dog owners did. And the system worked. Dogs get dirty at the dog park. In my opinion, owners who don't want a dirty dog shouldn't come to QW (Quiet Waters).”
Apparently the removal of the pools was brought on by a complaint.
“I was here that day,” said Clem Andruczyk. “Somebody went up the ranger station and they came down and took the pools out immediately.”
In Anthony’s statement, it seems he might revisit the decision down the road.
“Should circumstances change in the future I will be willing to reevaluate this decision,” he said.
Dogs seem to be losing ground—or at least water—at Quiet Waters. Dog Beach was closed in March 2010 due to erosion problems.
"I have a 10-month-old lab who loves the water,” Constantino said. “Since the dog beach at Quiet Waters is permanently closed, we have been skipping Quiet Waters and instead driving to Pasadena to Downs Park, which has a great dog beach.”