Lawsuit over downtown dog park heads to court

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The lawsuit over the proposed dog park in downtown Phoenix heads to court Thursday morning.

Debbi Schilling filed the suit in Superior Court. A dog owner herself, she told 3TV she supports a dog park, just not across the street where she lives.

"I think a lack of privacy, as you see that's a big parking lot. A lot of people will be coming and going," she said.

In addition to traffic, Schilling said she and other neighbors have concerns about dogs running loose, health and safety.

"Noise, smell," Schilling said.  "There have been quite a few dog parks in the nation that have been closed because of people not cleaning up the doggie do-do."

Despite the pending lawsuit, Phoenix City Council members gave final approval to the $370,000 plan  Wednesday afternoon.

The park, which would be split into two sections, would take up a stretch of  Margaret T. Hance Park on Culver Street, between Third and Fifth avenues.

City leaders say it would improve the park and Roosevelt neighborhood.

"I think it's a good thing," said Tara Lara, who lives nearby.  "I like coming here and seeing people with their dogs."

"There are a lot of dog owners; a lot of people love dogs," said another resident, Brooke, who declined to give her last name.

However, it will be up to a judge to decide what happens next.  Oral arguments are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday.  There's no word on when a decision will be made.

"What I would hope is common sense prevails, and that they ask the city to build the dog park, but just move it," Schilling said.