Business owner told to take down doggie mural in Shirlington

Two dog businesses located near the Shirlington dog park in Arlington on South Oxford Street. Owners say only one business was told to get rid of its artwork.


dog mural at wag more dogs
Arlington County asked the owner of Wag More Dogs to take down this mural. (Photo: ABC 7 News)

"I was devastated. I was pretty much sick to my stomach," said dog business owner Kim Houghton.

Houghton is opening up Wag More Dogs, a doggie daycare. She says she got a letter from Arlington County Friday telling her to take down a doggie mural because it's considered a sign advertising her business. Until she took it down, her building permit would be locked up.

Houghton told us, "I've been trying to get open since June 2009."

Houghton covered up the mural with a tarp.

We asked dog walkers what they thought.

Emily Gatesman said, "If it's just pictures of dogs, I mean, they're not making people cover up the graffiti around the city."

"She's actually contributing to the dog park...I think it's a shame," added Samantha Hunter.

Houghton says she is desperate to open her business because she has been unemployed for a year and is losing money every day her doors are closed.

She said, "In my gut, it feels unfair."

In emails from Arlington County, Houghton was told actions are being taken against her neighbors who own a dog business and have artwork on their building. ABC 7 News tried to get in touch with the county but so far haven't heard back.