A Northern Virginia man is facing backlash from members of his community for installing spiked mats to prevent dogs from urinating in the bushes on his property.
On the social media app Nextdoor, Eric Wang’s Arlington neighbors raised concerns that the mats could be dangerous for children and pets.
“Dogs were urinating on the shrubs, and so I started trying to find measures to prevent that from happening,” Wang said.
Karina Jimenez is a nanny who walks kids through the neighborhood.
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“The kids walk or scooter and play with bikes or when running, and I think that’s not safe for kids,” Jimenez said.
Wang says the social media fuss is an overreaction.
“People need to weigh the credibility of the claims that they see online before reacting to them,” Wang said.
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The device Wang installed is called a scat mat, designed to deter pets. He says that the mat could not cause harm.
“You could push down with a moderate amount of force,” Wang said. “You see minor indentations on my palm, but it doesn’t cause any punctures.”
The bushes are new, Wang said, and he wants to protect them; his last set of bushes fell victim to a series of lifted legs.
The virtual backlash resulted in two visits from Arlington County code enforcement, who said the mat was acceptable.
“When I first saw the little item on Nextdoor, I was concerned because we walk by those bushes all the time,” said Steve Sockwall, who walks dogs in Lyon Village. “But when I actually did walk past it, I noticed it’s just a wire. It doesn’t look like it would harm the dog.”