Welcome to the Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC) K9 Corps. Please bear in mind that HCC is first and foremost a functioning cemetery – not a “dog park” – and dog walking is a privilege that is limited to members of the HCC K9 Corps. Collective enjoyment of the Cemetery should be readily possible as long as members are courteous and considerate toward each other, the cemetery grounds, and other visitors. However, a few specific rules and policies are necessary to ensure that the Cemetery remains both a safe and pleasant environment for all.
Please review the following rules carefully; you will indicate your agreement to fully comply with these terms and conditions of K9 Corps membership by signing an Acceptance of Rules/Waiver and Release of Liability at the annual membership meeting you attend. Members found in violation of any of these rules may have their privileges revoked immediately and without refund.
1. Control of animals at all times. All members/dog walkers must be in control of their dog(s), and aware of the location(s) of member dog(s) at all times. This applies both to K9 Corps members and to any individual who brings a K9 Corps member dog to HCC.
2. Limitation on dogs. Members/walkers are allowed to bring no more than three K9 Corps member dogs onto the HCC grounds at one time. Non-member dogs are not permitted.
3. No exceptions policy on spay-neuter and vaccinations. K9 Corps members must ensure that all member dogs walking in the cemetery are spayed or neutered and up-to-date on rabies and distemper vaccinations, and must certify this by providing spay-neuter status and vaccination expiration dates at registration. Any and all member dogs walked in the Cemetery must be spayed or neutered; no exceptions will be made to this policy, including for puppies that have not yet reached spay-neuter age. Members agree to provide proof of current vaccinations and spay- neuter status to HCC staff or the K9 Committee upon request.
4. Cemetery closure to dogs. The Cemetery is closed to dogs between 11 a.m. and 3 m. every Saturday and on specific holidays, including Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The Cemetery will also be closed at other times for burials and other special events, as announced in advance to the K9 Corps. Notifications of periodic closures are sent via email to all members/walkers; posted on Twitter, Facebook, and CemeteryDogs.org; and signage indicating closure is placed at the HCC main gate. It is the member/walker’s responsibility to confirm that the Cemetery is open to dogs before visiting. To maintain the integrity of non- dog walking events, the owner of any dog found to be on the Cemetery grounds during closure hours will have their K9 Corps membership immediately revoked.
5. Respect for HCC visitors. Even during non-closure hours, dogs must be kept away from individuals visiting grave sites, as well as any burial services, ceremonies, group tours, grounds maintenance crews, and all other non-dog walking visitors and activities.
6. Respect for HCC grounds. All members/walkers must be respectful of the Cemetery monuments and grave markers. Because of the risk of damage and/or injury, do not sit or lean on the gravestones. Dogs, children, and others must not climb on the grassy areas covering the family vaults. Out of concern for the monuments and grounds, the use of balls, Frisbees, or dog toys of any kind is not permitted in the Cemetery.
7. Cleaning up after dogs. Regardless of the weather or time of day or year, members/walkers must clean up after all dogs at all times, disposing of waste properly. If you see waste, please pick it up even if it was not left by your dog. Please bring a flashlight if you come after dark.
8. Leashing dogs for entry/exit. ALL dogs must be on leash while entering and exiting the gates. Signs are posted to indicate where it is permissible to unleash your dog. Members/ walkers are also encouraged to “keep it moving” around the gates and other high-traffic areas in order to avoid critical masses of dogs, which can bring on aggressive behavior.
9. Applicability of rules to professional dog walkers. Professional dog walkers must register with the Cemetery on an annual basis – providing any updates to contact and client information as needed – and complete the Acceptance of Rules/Waiver and Release of Liability. It is the responsibility of the K9 Corps member to ensure their dog walker is aware of this new requirement. Professional dog walkers must adhere to all K9 Corps rules, including the limitation on walking no more than three member dogs at a time (non- member dogs are not permitted). If this policy is violated, both the walker and owner will receive a warning and, should a future violation occur, both walker and owner will be banned from dog walking in the Cemetery.
10. Aggressive dogs and handling of incidents. Each and every incident of aggressive dog behavior that members are involved in or witness must be reported via an Incident Report (web form at cemeterydogs.org or hard copy available in HCC office). Members are to strongly discourage rough or aggressive play by their dogs. Should an aggressive dog incident occur, the following apply:
- Apologies for aggressive behavior are expected.
- If possible, members are encouraged to resolve minor incidents among themselves.
- A report must be submitted to make staff and the K9 Corps Committee aware of each incident caused by an aggressive dog. These reports are reviewed by staff in consultation with the K9 Committee.
- Payment of any vet bills by the owner of the aggressive dog is mandatory.
- Dogs that engage in repeated instances of aggressive behavior may be required to be leashed or muzzled while on the Cemetery grounds.
- Dogs that are deemed a danger (to humans or otherwise) by HCC will be banned from the Cemetery grounds for life.
11. Membership terms and conditions. The 2017 K9 Corps membership term is March 1, 2017 through February 29, 2018. No more than 770 member dog permits/tags will be issued for this term, and only dogs that have been issued member tags are permitted to walk in the Cemetery. All dogs included in an individual K9 Corps membership must reside in the home of the member. Memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable.