Monday, April 06, 2015

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Other Websites

For regularly updated postings, check out CREDO-NY and A Walk in the Park.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Signs in Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Paper just published the following story about Prospect Park. I won't even go into the stupid arguments that the Park Slope whiners present for the sign's unfairness. If you read the comments after the article on the paper's website, note that the football season is extremely short, whereas, the dogs tear up the fields nearly every day of the year.

Prospect Park No Longer Goes To The Dogs
By Emily Lavin for The Brooklyn Paper

New signs have been installed in Prospect Park alerting dog owners that they can no longer take their dogs — even leashed — into many areas of the park. Dog owners are barking mad.

New “No dogs” signs in Prospect Park have unleashed a fury from dog owners who say park officials are arbitrarily enforcing regulations and unfairly targeting their four-legged friends.

The bright blue signs showed up on paths leading to the Long Meadow a few weeks ago, and remind dog walkers that their pets are not allowed on the grass — even on a leash — except during the designated off-leash hours.

The signs mention a $100 fine.

Park Sloper Seth Kamil spoke for many of his fellow dog owners when he suggested that the signs wrongly target canine aficionados while ignoring a bigger problem than the few dog lovers who walk their pets across the Long Meadow.

“The signs are fine, but what angers me is the inconsistent enforcement of the rules and policies,” said Kamil, who owns the Big Onion Walking Tour company. “[Park cops] strictly enforce dog rules, but they turn a blind eye to everything else that takes place in the park.”

“Everything else” includes illegal barbecuing, and high school sports teams and adult leagues whose cleats tear up the grass.

“There is a perception out there that dogs ruin the park. Well, 20 grown men wearing cleats on a muddy Sunday do more damage than any dog ever could,” Kamil said. “Dogs are just an easy target, because, well, nobody likes to get dog poop on his shoe.”

But not every dog owner is in Kamil’s kennel. Community Board 6 Parks Committee chairwoman — and dog owner — Nica Lalli said the new signs “make sense,” given all the complaints she’s received about randomly enforced dog rules in the park.

“The signs let people know that dogs are simply not allowed on the fields,” she said. “It was a shame that the rule was previously unclear, but now that it is a clear rule, we need to follow it. This is a big, multi-use park, with millions of people who come to it. We all need to do our part to keep it fun for everyone.”

Until now, a “grace period” was in effect, said Eugene Patron, a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance. But the installation of the “No dogs” signs signals that tickets will now be issued.

“The ticketing is just a natural progression, because now people are expected to know what is and is not allowed,” he said.


Update: Dog owners have routinely torn down leash signs throughout the park, nearly as fast as parks erects them. The sign in the photo has been missing for almost two years.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Park Commissioner coming to Prospect Park

I found out that park commissioner Adrian Benepe is making a special appearance in Prospect Park tomorrow morning (June 7th). The local offleash, lunatic fringe organization, F.I.D.O., is having their monthly "Coffee Bark" meeting on the Long Meadow at 7am. It slipped out that Mr. Benepe is coming to support this group of self-centered dog owners. I recommend that you all come out and hound the commissioner about the ridiculous policy of allowing dogs to run off their leashes in unenclosed areas of city parks. You should ask him why he went from publicly stating on several occasions that unleashed dogs in crowded city parks was a big problem to, unleashed dogs make our parks safer. Maybe his karma will come back to him and he'll be attacked by one of those well adjusted, safe dogs.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Park Crime Statistics

As part of their argument for demanding Department of Health & Mental Hygiene rule changes to permit unleashed dogs in city parks, former NYC Department of Parks & Recreation commissioner Henry Stern, current commissioner Adrian Benepe and Prospect Park administrator Tupper Thomas claimed that allowing dogs to run around unleashed in our parks lowered crime. The public has recently learned that the argument was a complete fabrication with absolutely no basis in fact. I contend that all three city officials lied about the effects of unleashed dogs. The question remains, what would motivate these people to knowingly put the health and safety of park users at risk, as well as, permit increased maintenance and repair costs in parks because of the damage caused by irresponsible pet owners? Why would they agree to such a huge concession just to accomodate a tiny fraction of the city's park-going population? If there are any investigative journalists left in the media, they should take the time to uncover the truth behind this deception.

The following was published in today's "Gotham Gazette":

Tracking Crime in the Parks

by Anne Schwartz
April 2008

For many years, New Yorkers were afraid to go into the parks. Instead of seeing them as an escape from urban stress-a place to exercise, read a book, enjoy a picnic-people viewed the run-down parks as even more dangerous than the streets. Over the past decade and a half, though, the parks have become much safer. Crime rates have dropped citywide, and one park after has been restored. The city has increased maintenance staff and, since 2005, doubled the number of Park Enforcement Patrol officers, who enforce park rules and deter vandalism and crime.

But crime is still a problem, and until recently, the city had no hard data about how many crimes occurred in the parks. In the absence of that kind of solid information, when a terrible crime in a park is splashed across the headlines, like the 2004 murder of drama student Sarah Fox in Inwood Hill Park, it casts a shadow of fear over all the parks.

The New York City Police Department's Compstat computerized crime-tracking program, which analyzes patterns of crime by precinct and uses that information to address problem areas, has been credited with dramatically reducing crime in the city. But Compstat doesn't track crimes in parks separately (except in Central Park, which has its own precinct).

With the passage of Local Law 114 in 2005, the city began gathering data on crime in the parks for the first time. The law, which was introduced by Councilmembers Peter Vallone Jr. and Joseph Addabbo Jr., requires the police to report felonies that take place in parks and make the information available to the City Council. The program was supposed to be phased in over three years, beginning with a pilot project in 20 parks. The first data from the project have just been released in "Tracking Crime in New York City Parks," a report from the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks.

An Incomplete Picture

For each of the 20 parks, "Tracking Crime" provides the number of felony complaints, in seven different categories, from April 2006 to September 2007. The data examined by the report comes from the four largest (though not necessarily most heavily used) parks in each borough. For comparison's sake, it also includes crime numbers for Central Park, which has been monitoring crime for years.

There was a small increase in crimes in these parks over this time period, but as the report notes, the pilot project covered too few parks, over too short a time period, to allow accurate generalizations about trends citywide. It is also difficult to compare crime rates across parks because the parks department does not collect information on how many people use most of its parks.

Of the 20 parks in the report, Flushing Meadows Park, with 99 felonies, had the highest number of reported crimes. To put that in perspective, however, the report notes that a third of the crimes in 2006 and nearly half in 2007 occurred not on parkland but at the two sports venues within the park, Shea Stadium and the National Tennis Center.

Central Park, with 25 million visitors, had 103 major crimes in 2006, but its crime rate was lower than that of Prospect Park, which had about half as many felonies reported (57) -but a third as many visitors. Two parks, both in Staten Island, had no reported crimes, but one, Fresh Kills Park, is not developed yet.

The tracking data also turned up a significant drop in crime in the colder months, when park usage is lower.

One finding that merits further scrutiny is that some parks had much higher percentages of violent crime than others. Parks where more than 70 percent of the crimes were violent (mostly robbery and felony assault, with a very few rapes and murders) included Prospect Park, Fort Washington Park, Inwood Hill Park, Forest Park and Riverside Park. On the other hand, only 35 percent of the crimes reported in Central Park were violent.

Making Parks Safer

Under the law, the city was supposed to expand the crime-tracking program to a total of 100 parks after one year, 200 parks after two years, and to all parks over one acre in size after three years. It has fallen behind this timetable, and the police department has not said when it would be able to meet it. New Yorkers for Parks called on the city to expand the program to 100 parks immediately and to all parks by 2010.

At a January hearing before the City Council Public Safety committee, the police department said that it still did not have the technology needed to give information on more than the 20 parks in the pilot project. At present, park crimes are still entered into the system manually. Vallone, who chairs the committee, called the lack of progress "disappointing at the very least." "We are trying to get the police to be a little more realistic and track parks that are most heavily used," he said.

The police department Web site posts crime data by precinct, but so far, information about crimes committed in parks is not available online. In its report, New Yorkers for Parks recommended that the parks department post park crime data on its Web site.

Vallone said that there is still a lack of communication between the police and the public. Referring to the discovery of a body in a pond in Flushing Meadows Park, which was part of a vicious crime wave for which two homeless teenagers were eventually arrested, he said, "It took a long time for police to alert the public" to a pattern in the crimes.

Beyond the need for more data, "Tracking Park Crime" focused on ways to keep the park safe. In particular, it called for the city to budget money for enough uniformed Parks Enforcement Patrol officers. They enforce park rules, such as prohibitions against adults using playgrounds, and issue summonses for health, traffic, sanitation and environmental violations. By keeping an eye on the parks, they also deter serious criminal activity. The report also suggested providing safety tips online and on signs in parks.

In his response, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the department would add information on safety practices to its Web site. Noting the importance of the Parks Enforcement Patrol, or PEP, in preventing crime, he said, "At the height of the season, we have over 800 uniformed staff in the parks, including full-time and seasonal PEP and Rangers, and fixed post enforcement officers. " He said that the parks department works closely with the police and has been reaching out to community organizations in an effort to design safer parks and deter crime.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Playing games with statistics

The following two articles, on the same subject, both appeared in the New York Daily News. There is a blatantly different spin for the two articles. I suspect that Tupper Thomas, the administrator for Prospect Park, must have friends at the news or a really good Public Relations department. Perhaps the author, Donald Bertrand is on the park payroll. Also, keep in mind that NY1 published an article in August that said crime in city parks was up!

Here is the first article:

Central Park tops in major crime: report
By Donald Bertrand
Daily News Staff Writer
Thursday, December 27th 2007, 4:00 AM

Central Park recorded the most major crimes over the summer, while the Bronx came in fourth among the city's major parks.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens ranked second, while Brooklyn's Prospect Park came in third, followed by the Bronx's Van Cortlandt Park.

According to the Police Department's park crime report for the first three quarters of 2007 ending Sept. 30, Central Park had 90 reported crimes, followed by Flushing Meadows with a total of 43 crimes.

Next on the list was Prospect Park, which had only 27 crimes.

The city Parks Department refused yesterday to release the crime numbers for Van Cortlandt Park.

For the period of July 1 to Sept. 30, police recorded a total of 21 complaints in the 1,255-acre Queens park, while Prospect Park had a total of nine complaints. Bronx Park, running along the Bronx River Parkway through Allerton, led in complaints from Bronx parks with seven for those three months.

"I think that these statistics show that even without that one string of robberies [last year], Flushing Meadows Park has a much higher rate than any other park other than Central Park and therefore deserves a dedicated police presence," said Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).

"The NYPD is stretched to the limits, but we need to ensure that our officers are where they can do the most good," added Vallone, chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee.

"Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a valuable asset to Queens, but our residents must feel safe in order to use it," the councilman said.

Vallone and other elected officials have long called for a stronger police presence in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, whether it is a new precinct, a mobile command center or added patrols.

The NYPD has said the crime statistics from the park were an aberration caused by one set of thugs during a crime spree last fall and winter.

The figures from the second and third quarters of this year show that there is a continued need for officers to stop more crimes from occurring.

"People go to the park for peace and solitude, and that is both their greatest advantage and greatest danger," Vallone said.

Now, look how easily the editor of the Daily News can change the implied meaning of the statistics:

Prospect Park crime among city's lowest
By Donald Bertrand
Daily News Staff Writer
Thursday, December 27th 2007, 4:00 AM

Latest crime statistics for city parks show that Prospect Park is among the safest major parks in the city.

According to NYPD statistics, for the first three quarters of 2007 ending Sept. 30 - the latest statistics available - 27 crimes were reported in Prospect Park.

That figure was eclipsed by the totals for Central Park in Manhattan, which had 90 crimes, and Queens' Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where police recorded 43 crimes.

For the period of July 1 to Sept. 30, the largest number of crime complaints reported for a major Brooklyn park was a total of nine complaints at the 585-acre Prospect Park.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park led Queens parks with 21 complaints; the only other major park in Queens to register any complaints was Forest Park, with two robberies during that period.

Bronx Park led complaints in the Bronx, with seven for those three months.

The report spurred at least one Queens politician to call for a beef-up of security in his borough's largest park.

"I think that these statistics show that even without that one string of robberies [last year], Flushing Meadows Park has a much higher rate than any other park other than Central Park and therefore deserves a dedicated police presence," said Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).

"The NYPD is stretched to the limits, but we need to ensure that our officers are where they can do the most good," said Vallone, chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee.

"Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a valuable asset to Queens, but our residents must feel safe in order to use it," the councilman added.

Vallone and other elected officials have long called for a stronger police presence in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, whether it is a new precinct, a mobile command center or added patrols.

"People go to the park for peace and solitude, and that is both their greatest advantage and greatest danger," Vallone said.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The parks are safer?

The following is a thread from the "Park Slope Parents" discussion group, posted on 10/22:

I'm writing to stress to dog owners how important it is to keep dogs on their leash when walking through the park or at dog beach. Today I witnessed an incredibly upsetting sight - a large dog, I think it was a pit bull, attacked a little long haired dachsund - the owner of the big dog had no idea how to get her dog off the dachsund. It was very frightening and no-one was able to offer any help to save the dachsund. I was at dog beach with my son and a friend and her son, and there were lots of other toddlers standing around with their parents. If the owner of the pit bull had had the dog on a leash she could have pulled it away before it had gotten anywhere near the dachsund. Another point that raised is that all dog owners should learn how to get their dog off of another dog during an attack.

This isn't meant to scare anyone, just to encourage safe dogwalking.

* * * * * * * * * *

I was also at the dog beach this afternoon when a dog (looked like a pit bull, wasn't on a leash) attacked and killed a small dog (who was on a leash) in front of many shocked bystanders. It was horrifying and I'm furious that the dog's owner was allowing this dog to run around without a leash on and had no idea how to control it. I felt completely helpless and can't get the whole scene out of my mind, especially since my toddler and several others were only a few feet away. I don't have a dog myself, but I wish I had known what to do during the attack. It was clear that no one else in the vicinity knew what to do either, as the attack continued for an eternity (at least 15 minutes) and no one could get the big dog to release the little dog from its jaws (or knew to keep the big dog from shaking the little dog around, which I learned tonight does the most damage). I did a little internet research and thought I would share links to some of the information that I found:

- Specific tips on what to do if a pit bull attacks

- General dog attack pointers

- Tips for pit bull owners
- General dog bite prevention tips, especially for kids.

The "dog beach" is in Prospect Park. When are these idiots going to realize that unleashing 1 million dogs in open city parks is an invitation to problems? Also, if there were lots of toddlers present, I would presume that it was after 9AM and before 9PM, when dogs are supposed to be leashed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New York Times article

The following is from an article that was just published in the New York Times:

Dogs on the Trail, Even on a Leash, Give Birds a Fright

By Henry Fountain

Published: September 11, 2007

Dog walking: good for you, good for your pet. Not so good for birds, apparently.

Australian researchers have found that walking leashed dogs along woodland paths leads to a significant reduction in the number and diversity of birds in the area, at least over the short term.

Peter B. Banks and Jessica V. Bryant of the University of New South Wales surveyed birds along woodland trails near Sydney shortly after dogs were walked on them or after people walked alone. All kinds of dogs were involved, big and small, purebred and mutt. As a control, they also surveyed birds on trails that no one, human or canine, had recently walked on.

Dr. Banks said the study was an outgrowth of his interest in predator-prey interactions. “Here you have a predator that is being walked through the bush quite regularly, ” he said.

The researchers chose trails in places where dogs were banned and in other areas where dog walking was common, expecting different results in each. “We thought that where there was regular dog walking birds would get used to it, ” Dr. Banks said. “Well, they didn’t. ”

Regardless of the type of area, dog walking led to a 35 percent reduction in the number of bird species and a 41 percent reduction in overall bird numbers, compared with the control. (People walking alone caused some disturbance, but less than half that caused by people with dogs.)

The study, published in Biology Letters, provides support for park managers and others on the same side of what can be a heated debate over dogs in natural areas.

“The problem is there are other uses for an area” besides dog walking, said Dr. Banks, who described himself as “not a dog hater. ” “If dogs walk throughout an area, you’re just not going to get the same bird-watching experience or ecotourism experience. ”

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Crime up in city parks

I thought that the unleashed dogs were supposed to eliminate crime? This is from NY1:

NYPD Says Crime Is On The Rise In City Parks

Crime in city parks is on the rise, according to figured released by the NYPD Sunday.

The department looked at figures in 20 parks and found 68 crimes reported during the second quarter of the year. That's compared to 48 last year.

Thirty of the crimes were grand larcenies, or property that was taken when left unattended. There were no murders in the parks during that period, police say.

Flushing Meadows Park had the highest number of crimes, 21, followed by Prospect and Bronx Parks.

Crime citywide is down seven percent compared to 2006.

Self-centered, lunatic fringe "win" again

The following article is from The New York Times:

Dispatches The Gardens of Bruised Feelings By Jake Mooney
September 9, 2007

IN 27 years as a federal prosecutor, Ruth Nordenbrook faced down such formidable foes as the reputed Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino and his onetime underling Vincent Basciano, a k a Vinny Gorgeous. But Ms. Nordenbrook, who is 62 and who retired in 2005, may have finally met the adversaries persistent enough to wear her down. They typically stand one or two feet tall, and have damp noses and names like Roxy and Geo.

They are the dogs belonging to Ms. Nordenbrook’s neighbors in the Fulton Ferry Landing area of Brooklyn, and they are in the middle of a struggle between pet owners and community groups over a series of traffic islands at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ms. Nordenbrook, who along with a few other volunteers maintained flower beds on the islands for more than a decade, notified her neighbors this spring that she was quitting, complaining that local dogs’ use of the land as a chamber pot was making it too hard to continue the work. Her resignation was reported in The Brooklyn Paper.

No replacement gardeners have yet emerged, the beds are tangled and overgrown, people still walk their dogs on the islands, and the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, a neighborhood group, is preparing to ask for city help.

On a sunny afternoon last week, Ms. Nordenbrook stood by the one small patch that she is still tending and announced that she remains resolute about giving up the rest of the gardens.

“I’m sorry to see it that way,” she said, “but I don’t miss the aggravation.” In fact, she finds the break calming. “I can even now see people walking down there with their dogs, and I don’t start foaming at the mouth.”

Some of her neighbors are less sanguine. “That has been the labor of a few totally dedicated residents to maintain the area,” said Katrin Adam, a board member of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association. “If you have people in the area who are willing to take these things on, to be disrespected by dog owners is a terrible thing.”

Ms. Adam said her group plans to meet this month to discuss options like putting low fences around the flower beds or seeking maintenance help from the city’s Parks Department. Exactly who has jurisdiction over the traffic islands, however, is complicated. The spaces were created in the 1990s when the state’s Department of Transportation overhauled the bridge’s off-ramp, but at the time the neighborhood group agreed to maintain them.

Things went along smoothly for years, Ms. Adam said, but with the population of the nearby Dumbo neighborhood swelling, the area is home to more pets than ever. Many are escorted to the traffic islands, and many stop to relieve themselves there.

Last spring came a series of confrontations involving both professional dog walkers and area residents who were walking their dogs themselves. Ms. Nordenbrook admitted that she uttered some unkind words, and said that people generally responded by informing her that they were on public property, in a free country, and she should mind her own business.

One of those people was James Lewis, who lives in a co-op across the street from the traffic islands and regularly walks through the area with the aforementioned Roxy and Geo, a miniature dachshund and a Boston terrier.

Mr. Lewis, as it happened, was passing through the abandoned flower beds last week just as Ms. Nordenbrook was recalling their first tense meeting. This time, the two exchanged polite, if sheepish, greetings; they buried the hatchet some time ago, Mr. Lewis said, and his dogs now relieve themselves in a different area. Once everyone cooled off, he said, the way to solve the problem was easy.

Thinking back on the dispute, Mr. Lewis said: “I don’t even know if it really has anything to do with pets. I think people’s reactions in a lot of situations have to do with who’s in control, and ‘What are my rights?’ rather than ‘What are another person’s feelings?’ ”

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rabies isn't funny

The following was posted on the blog "The Gowanus Lounge":

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Why Brooklyn is Better: Aggressive Geese & Attacking Raccoons

This email caught our attention for two reasons: A Prospect Park raccoon biting someone and "very aggressive" ducks and geese. Here's what it says:

My family and I were feeding the ducks & geese yesterday afternoon at the lake near the Vanderbilt entrance (something we won't do again because they got very aggressive) and saw a raccoon moseying around in plain sight. I was disturbed that people were not moving away from it and was explaining to my son that there must be something wrong with the animal if it dares to walk around where people were. At the time it was crossing under a log where a woman was sitting with her family. I turned away momentarily, when the woman starts screaming, jumps up and I see the husband pulling the animal off her. The raccoon had bitten her on her upper thigh.

Later I spoke with a fellow who was closer to the incident and he told me that the police had arrived shortly after we left and that he had urged the woman to go to the hospital.

Ah, urban nature.

posted by rsguskind at 8:10 AM


Anonymous said...

I live in Forest Hills, North of Queens Blvd. Racoons are pretty common around here, but they rarely walk around in daylight... you can see them crossing the street at night sometimes.

If the racoon was walking in daylight, around people, and bit a woman, odds are the racoon was rabid.

If I was that woman, I would go get rabies shots. 10:12 AM

Anonymous said...

we used to have raccoons all the time in norwalk connecticut but rabies damn near wiped them out. Sounds like it moved to the city finally. 10:31 AM

icky said...

Imagine, wild animals out in nature. How offensive that must have been for those poor people.

Okay, okay. The racoon probably had something wrong with it and for that I sympathise. (I got chased and bit by a crazy squirrel once.) Wouldn't want anyone to get sick. But, they're not people, ya know. They are not "trained." They're not even pets. They're wild animals. You wanted nature? You got it. Besides, the picture of someone being chased by a goose is funny no matter who is involved. 10:59 AM

icky said:

Besides, the picture of someone being chased by a goose is funny no matter who is involved.Man...LOL I have to agree with you on that 1:20 PM

hellx said...

At this rate, pretty soon we're going to see stories like this onecoming out of Williamsburg. 1:54 PM

Anonymous said...

For several years, The Center for Disease Control, New York State's department of health and NYC's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have been "alerting" the public about the sharp increase in incidents of rabies in NYC. Just do a search for "Rabies AND "New York City"". Ignoring the obvious could cause that woman her life.

It also makes me wonder why the health department thinks it's a good idea to unleash dogs in city parks. Population control? 5:11 PM

Monday, August 27, 2007

Where were the dogs?

I thought that all the unleashed dogs were supposed to make the city parks safe. This is from the news radio station WINS online news:

Police: Couple Robbed at Gunpoint in Central Park

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A man and woman walking through Central Park were robbed at gunpoint early Saturday morning.

Police say the hooded suspect, wearing all black, approached the couple, both 25 years old, near the the Heckscher ball fields at W. 65th St. just before 5 a.m.

The perpetrator took cash, cell phones and possibly their iPods before running off.

There were no injuries.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sick dogs

The following letter was submitted to the "NY Post" by a friend of mine. It was in response to the article in the previous posting:

Date: August 22, 2007 1:09:01 PM EDT
Subject: Sick Dogs in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Let us not overlook the fact that many Park Slope dogs are allowed to play off leash in nearby Prospect Park, with hundreds of other off leash dogs. For some reason, Commissioner Friedan and the NYC Department of Health thought it was a great idea for the Parks Departments to allow hordes of unfamiliar dogs run loose together in unfenced meadows, without any oversight whatsover of the health status of those dogs. It's not surprising that kennel cough has spread so quickly among Park Slope's canine population.

Any dog can enter Prospect Park and be released to play with all the other dogs. No one is checking current vaccinations or general health status of the dog park attendees, so every dog's health is potentially at risk. Let's hope that rabies is not the next disease to be vectored by the tired, happy dogs of Prospect Park.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sick Dogs in Brooklyn

This appeared in today's "New York Post". Just the animals to be running around unleashed in Prospect.

Sick as a Dog in Brooklyn
By Tatiana Deligiannakis

August 20, 2007 -- Brooklyn kennels that are dogged by an epidemic of a dangerous canine illness are turning away scores of pooches - and, in some cases, closing their doors - to prevent spreading the highly contagious infection.

Numerous cases of "kennel cough," an airborne viral or bacterial disease that effects the respiratory system, have popped up, particularly in Park Slope, experts said yesterday.

Brooklyn Dog House, a Park Slope kennel, temporarily closed last week after five of their dogs turned out to be sick.

"There is an outbreak in Brooklyn, and it seems like Park Slope is the epicenter," said manager A.J. Catanzaro.

"We shut our doors Aug. 16 as a preemptive measure so we can be ready for the holiday weekend coming up," said Catanzaro.

Park Slope veterinarian Dr. Dionne Burnett has seen an increase in kennel cough in the past two weeks. She said dog owners should look out for a dry cough, eye and nasal discharge and loss of appetite.

"If your dog is showing these signs, consider an exam," Burnett said.

"The best possible scenario would be to not put your dog in a boarding facility for the next two weeks."

Catanzaro said staffers at the Brooklyn Dog House scrub all surfaces in their facility and quarantine sick animals.

"It's extremely contagious - it's just like the common cold for us. You just have to let it run its course," he said.

Infected dogs have a distinctive sound, "like they have something stuck in their throat, like a cat coughing up a hairball," Catanzaro added.

The Dog House, which usually holds about 80 animals, now has fewer than 30.

"We took a big financial hit. This is a very busy time for us. But you have to do the right thing," said kennel owner Malcolm Smart.

Another Brooklyn kennel, Woofs 'n Whiskers, in Red Hook, will not be accepting any new dogs until Labor Day as a precaution.

"We've tripled our security at the front door," said owner Danielle Vidals. "We want dogs to be symptom-free for at least two weeks before we can accept them."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Prospect Park and garbage

The following is from the Daily News:

Voice of the People

Sunday, August 19th 2007, 4:00 AM

"Brooklyn: While it's nice that there is concern for parity between these two gorgeous city parks regarding the automobile traffic, what Prospect Park really needs is to have the same standards as Central Park when it comes to barbecues and open fires. Nowhere in Central Park will you find that fires are allowed, and rightfully so. Take a walk around Central Park early on a Monday morning in the summer, and it is clean and generally garbage-free. Take that same walk in Prospect Park, and there will be garbage and food scattered all over, beginning in huge piles at the garbage bins and spreading out from there - rats included. And on a Tuesday morning after a three-day weekend? Disgusting. For health reasons, as well as to save taxpayer money for garbage removal, the rules for both parks should be the same. No fires, no barbecues. Just bring a simple family picnic, folks, and pack your garbage out with you. There is no reason why all of Prospect Park should not be as magnificent as our sister park in Manhattan.

Susan O. Morris"