In a blink of an eye after they were released from their leashes, dozens of dogs bounded across the five acres of wet, green grass, leaping at each other, rolling in the mud and ignoring the chorus of cries from their masters trying to bring order to the frolic.
The romping pooches were enjoying the dedication Thursday morning of the San Fernando Valley's first park designed specifically for the area's canine inhabitants, complete with water stations, pooper scoopers and nonworking fire hydrants.
The Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park at White Oak Avenue and Victory Boulevard is the largest in Los Angeles County and will be open from dawn to dusk. Two others, including one in Studio City, are open to off-leash use only a few hours a day.
"You can see how much fun it is for them to play and run free," said Irv Lander, whose dog Cheyenne Ashley Whippet was straining against his leash after his long-distance Frisbee catch demonstration.
"He's so unhappy on this leash. When you have a dog that likes to run that much and that far, and you don't let him, it's sad."
Cheyenne also will have a chance to socialize at the park, said Lander, a Van Nuys resident.