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LAist is not only a daily weblog of all things Los Angeles, but also an avid friend to animals great and small. This, of course, includes our friend the dog. But here in a metropolitan monolith of steel and brick our furry friends don't have as many places to romp freely. There are dog parks, this is true — but which ones are worth visiting and which ones are, no pun intended, a bunch of crap?

Here are our Top 5 Dog Parks in the Los Angeles area, based on a highly-complicated algorithm that involves graphs, equations and numerical stuff.

05. Culver City Dog Park – Jefferson Boulevard, Culver City

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Currently under construction (thus it's fifth place ranking), this dog park has great potential to be a local fave when it's finished. For now, even though we're almost to the end of 2004 (the year it was supposed to be up and running) if it's not done, it's not fun. 1 star.

04. Brentwood Dog Park – Barrington Boulevard (south of Sunset), Brentwood

You'd think that Brentwood, Westside home to the stars, would have a dog park rivaling the expensive realty surrounding it. But that's just the problem: the Brentwood Dog Park is an all-in-one experience (big dogs and little dogs in one huge area) that is constantly overrun by dog walkers and their clans of more than 10 dogs per walker. The park itself is messy (apparently a lot of Brentwood-ites don't feel it necessary to clean up after their dogs) and there's more dead grass than lush green. If you live in the area and don't have time to go anywhere else, it'll do — but you'd better bring shoes you don't love and keep a watchful eye on your pup if he's anything smaller than 30 lbs. 1 1/2 stars.

03. Laurel Canyon Dog Park – West of Laurel Canyon at 8260 Mulholland Drive

Nestled in the hills between the Valley and LA, this dog park initially seems like it may be worth the trip. Big dogs and little dogs have their own areas (although the big dogs have a huge sprawling field versus the little dog's playground-sized strip of grass) and it's secluded enough to really give that feel of the wild. There are some drawbacks — the howling coyotes in the hills that are never seen and the sometimes pack-mentality of the large dogs. But if you're in the Valley or just over the hill, it could be an option. 2 1/2 stars.

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02. Sepulveda Basin Dog Park – 17550 Victory Boulevard, Encino

For Valley-ites, this park is pretty darn great. A huuuuge sprawling area for big and small dogs, it's a friendly well-kept park that has over 5 acres of off-leash area. There's a .5 acre small dog area and parking for over 100 cars. And if you're looking to have a picnic while your dog makes new acquaintances, there's a connected picnic area just over the fence. 3 stars.

01. The El Segundo Dog Park – 600 East Imperial Avenue,  El Segundo

Divided into a distinct small dog area (under 30 pounds) and a large dog area (over 40 pounds) both sides have sprawling hills covered with trees and grass. The park sits atop a hill that overlooks LAX, which surprisingly isn't too much of a detractor. What's great about El Segundo is that the people are friendly, all dogs are created equal (none of this small patch of grass for the tiny dogs, huge area for the big guys) and it's a relatively quick jaunt from anywhere in LA as long as there's no traffic. The park provides a neverending supply of "clean up" bags, people clean up after their pets, and there's always enough friends for your little "kids" to play with. 3 1/2 stars.

LAist knows there are more parks around LA and we'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Have a favorite that didn't make the list?