Dog Groomer Takes Arlington County To Court Over Mural | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

Dog Groomer Takes Arlington County To Court Over Mural

Play associated audio
The mural was completed in May 2010 by local artist Mark Gutierrez.
Institute for Justice
The mural was completed in May 2010 by local artist Mark Gutierrez.

In Virginia, a small business owner is taking Arlington county to federal court.

She says the county is forcing her to cover or take down a mural on the wall of her store, and violating her free speech rights.

Kim Houghton, the owner of Wag More Dogs Grooming, says she commissioned the 16-by-60-foot mural on the outside wall of her store simply because she thought dog owners using the adjacent dog park could do with some nice scenery.

The mural depicts cartoon dogs chasing bones.

"I was very excited to paint the mural as an expression of my passion for dogs -- and as a goodwill gesture for the folks in the dog park," Houghton says.

The county says the mural is a commercial sign that violates a county ordinance, because it's too large.

Mike Larmie walks his dog in the park every weekend. He doesn't think the mural qualifies as advertising.

"I see no problem with it. Actually, it's pretty nice for the dog park. It actually brings better scenery to the area," he says.

Joahan Amaya has a different view -- perhaps because he owns a dog-related business himself. He's a dog-walker.

"Me as a dog owner -- I think it's cool. But me as a business owner? It's competition," Amaya says.

The mural is currently covered with a blue tarp -- a condition of Houghton's occupancy certificate with the county.

NPR

This Weekend, Experience The Enduring Power Of 'The Millstone'

Margaret Drabble's The Millstone, set in the 1960s, tells the story of a young, unmarried woman who finds herself pregnant. Author Tessa Hadley says this 50-year-old novel is a weekend must-read.
NPR

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through Adopt A Cow

The cheeses of the Italian Alps are prized for their flavor. But the tradition of cheese-making here is dying off. Now remaining farmers are banding together around an unusual adoption program.
NPR

Is The Battle Won And Done For Those Who Fought For Net Neutrality?

In a 3-2 vote on Feb. 26, the FCC approved new rules, regulating broadband internet as a public utility. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Mat Honan, San Francisco bureau chief for BuzzFeed News, about the political implications of the vote.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.