Monday, July 31, 2006

AKC weighs in

Even the American Kennel Club believes that responsible owners need to leash their dogs. From their website:

"All dogs can bite regardless of size or breed. The key to preventing dog bites starts with responsible ownership."

"A dog should be kept on a leash when it is out in a public place."

Click below to read the entire article here:

Read "Tips to Prevent Dog Bites"

How many more expert opinions does Commissioner Adrian Benepe need to convince him to enforce the leash law? Since he openly admits to ignoring the leash law, does that mean that if someone is bit by a dog during the "courtesy hours" he can be held responsible?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Prospect Park Dog Beach

This is a typical example of the total disregard that most dog owners show for the posted rules. This dog should be leashed according to the sign ten feet from its owner.

ASPCA & The Humane Society

I want to make it clear that my opinion that urban dogs need to be leashed is not that of a dog hater. Here are the views of the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Both organizations are dedicated to the protection of animals:


Click to read Urban Dog Etiquette & Street Sense

Click to read their NYC page

The Humane Society -

Click to read "Are You a Responsible Pet Owner?"

Click to read "Caring for Your Dog: The Top Ten Essentials"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

New York Magazine article

Here's a really interesting article from New York magazine:

Click to read Turf War By Tony Hendra

What is baffling are some of the quotes in the article from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. They seem to completely contradict his illegal unleashed policy:

"But now dogs are becoming one of the department’s biggest physical-management problems -- it’s not simply the damage they do but the added enforcement the refuseniks, whose numbers are increasing, make necessary.

Ten to fifteen years ago, observes Adrian Benepe, the no-nonsense Parks commissioner for Manhattan, the parks were rife with crises: crime, drug dealing, graffiti, homeless encampments, rotting infrastructure. Many were resolved. “The dog problem is the only real problem we have,” he says. "

* * * * * * *

"What is strikingly new, says Benepe, is the size of the breeds people are buying. For many decades, the typical New York dog tended to be a handbag baby -- Pekingese, Maltese, Yorkie, Pomeranian, etc. -- no doubt because rules against pets in apartments were pervasive and strict, and the little fellas were easier to smuggle in and out. Now, says Benepe, he and his staff are seeing bigger and bigger dogs coming into the parks: the obvious retrievers, German shepherds, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, huskies, and Labs, but also Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Irish wolfhounds, Great Danes. Several of these appear on the American Kennel Club’s top ten breeds of last year (the top two are Labs and Rotts). The Big Dog syndrome can be seen as an invasion of suburbiana into the city’s culture -- the priorities of Westport, White Plains, and Saddle River abroad in Central Park. Benepe, however, believes they’re “a fashion statement.”

* * * * * * *

Henry’s self-image is his own business, his choice of cur -- and car -- a private one. Until he goes outside. Then it becomes a public affair. Benepe points out that New Yorkers, charmed by the unquestionable grace and heft of these animals -- many well in excess of 100 pounds -- fail to realize that they’re working dogs, bred to be hunters, trackers, shepherds, and guards. (The Rhodesian ridgeback, for example, was bred to protect livestock and hunt lions.) No matter how steely your buns, if you’re a lissome 110 pounds, you’re going to have trouble holding back a Siberian husky whose vocation in life is pulling fully loaded sleds with large Alaskans standing on them.

“People are almost compelled to let them off the leash, because they need so much more exercise and space,” says Benepe. Dog owners make these choices and then expect their fellow New Yorkers to live with the consequences. “They say to us, ‘You need to allow us to exercise hunting dogs in crowded nineteenth-century parks.’ “

Pet Peeves

Below is a link to a very timely article on the MSNBS website. It touches on the issue of entitlement that some dog owners have regarding their pets and public places. Park Slope, Brooklyn, is a neighborhood where this self-centered behavior has become pervasive.

Pet peeves: The dog who crashed the party

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Leash Law Flyer

Would you like to help our cause? If you want the leash law enforced you can download a new flyer and pass it along to your friends and family. The document is in PDF format so you'll need the free Adobe Reader to open it. You can get the reader from here:

-Click here for the free Adobe Reader-

Download the "Enforce the Leash Law" flyer here

Monday, July 24, 2006

New York City Laws

Below is a link to a fairly comprehensive page of laws pertaining to dogs in New York City:

Laws that Apply to you and your Pet

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Leash Law Petition

In an effort to urge the city of New York to enforce the current leash law an online petition has been created. To sign the petition click the link below and pass the information along to other concerned parties.

Enforce the leash law!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dog Fights plus a Daily News Article

I found the above photograph on the website "Urban View Realty Welcomes you to Off Leash in Prospect Park". It was included among other less violent photos of unleashed dogs in the park. I suppose that the inclusion of the photo means that they have no problem with fighting unleashed dogs in Prospect Park.

Also, I apparently underestimated the number of unleashed dogs that can be found in Prospect Park in the morning.

Prospect Pk. Gone To Dogs
Daily News
By Army Sacks
Daily News Writer

On most mornings, Lia Mehos dangles a leash by her side and watches her collie. Lucy, run free and unfettered through the fenceless grassy meadows in Prospect Park.

The 526 acre Brooklyn oasis offers the most generous off-leash privileges of any of the city's parks. Resembling an English countryside more than urban sprawl, the park provides Mehos and hundreds of dog owners the longest off-leash courtesy hours and the largest spaces - including three meadows, where a spring Saturday attracts up to 700 free-range canines.

"Lucy will wake me up in the middle of the night and want me to throw the ball - it's a clear sign she needs to be able to run in the park,: says Mehos, 24, a teacher who arrives with Lucy a little past 7am.

Thanks to the strict enforcement of a good canine stewardship by FIDO - the Fellowship in the Interests of Dogs and their Owners - Lucy continues to be a happy and healthy camper.

"Not being able to let your dog off-leash is a drag - especially if you have a high energy dog," says Mary McInerney, President of FIDO in Prospect Park. Her mantra to owners: "Take control of your dogs."

The city's leash law requires that a dog must be kept on a tether no more than 6 feet long. Violators face a minimum fine of $100.

The city Park's department enforces the law in parks, but in recognition of dogs' need to exercise, it has made an exception in certain parks through courtesy off-leash access rules between 9pm and 9am.

Off-Leash Limits

In 1998, however, the city sought to crack down on the off-leash activity in areas other than the myriad of dog runs that dot the city's parks. Several parks eliminated their off-leash access.

Prospect Park, however, had no run. "We have a large dog community. We would need ten dog runs to accommodate them, and the park would be one big dog run," said Tupper Thomas, administrator of Prospect Park.

Desperate to preserve the off-leash privileges, a group of dog owners formed FIDO and offered a commitment to Thomas to self-police the park.

FIDO encourages owners to keep dogs away from the soccer fields, bridle paths, jogging paths, and the wooded areas where birds nest. They provide extra bags so owners can clean up after their dogs and offer lectures on responsible ownership. They also donate garbage cans and designed drinking fountains.

"We have the most lenient rules but have the strongest and most effective of the dog organizations," said Thomas.

FIDO's successful efforts recently resulted in extending off-leash hours, which now begin at 5pm year round in the Nethermead, and in all three meadows throughout the winter."

Why would the Parks Department approve of such a ludicrous policy? Could it have anything to do with monetary donations to the "Prospect Park Alliance"? Until relatively recently, Tupper Thomas, the head of the PPA was also employed by the Department of Parks & Recreation as the administrator of Prospect Park.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Park's Department Website Article

I began writing letters of complaint to NYC officials regarding unleashed dogs in 1998. One of my arguments included the following article from the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation website. Within months of my first letters the article was removed from the website. Does that mean that dogs no longer pose the described problems or that the city just doesn't care?

Volume XIII, Number 2690
Tuesday, August 11, 1998


Public officials and neighbors gathered in Washington Square Park this morning to pay tribute to one of the great inventions of the 20th century: the pooper scooper. Commissioner Henry Stern, joined by Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, Center for Animal Care and Control President Marilyn Haggerty-Bloom, Community Board 2 Chair Tony Dapolito, and Parks’ canine mascot Boomer, reflected on the device and its positive impact on New Yorkers.

In the summer of 1978, the proper removal of canine waste was codified into law by New York State, thereby calling on all New Yorkers to stand behind their pets --literally. Since that time, the responsibility of dog owners has improved the quality of life dramatically for park visitors and their dogs.

As Commissioner Stern pointed out, the "Pooper Scooper" law lends credence to another puppy precept:
the leash law. It is much easier to notice when your pet has deposited waste when he or she is on a leash. Not only do leashes help keep the parks clean, they also help keep dogs from running into traffic or getting lost. Roaming dogs dig holes, tear up park landscapes, and also may disturb, intimidate, or harass other park-goers, -- both the two-and four-legged variety.

Over the past few years, Parks has dedicated an increasing amount of resources to enforcing the leash law. Last year, with the help of New York University, Parks was able to hire three new PEP officers for Washington Square Park alone.

1998 has been a landmark year for the estimated one million dogs that reside in New York City. Not only has the number of dog runs increased to 26, but the City’s first Dog Playground opened in Van Cortlandt Park. This 14,000- square-foot fenced-in area includes large blue and gold tires to jump through; a red, white, and blue ladder apparatus; three blue chutes, a teeter-totter, and a pair of hurdles.

And this summer, Riverside Park hosted the City’s first dog premiere featuring a screening of 20th Century Fox’s Dr. Doolittle. Through a partnership with 20th Century Fox, Parks published 25,000 pocket-size Love Your Pet Love Your Park cards which have been distributed at events. These handy cards list the locations of dogruns, provide locations for scenic walking tours, and give sound explanations for the leash law, -always useful confronting an irresponsible pet owner.

City of New York
Parks & Recreation

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mayor
Henry J. Stern, Commissioner

Copyright © 1998

Friday, July 07, 2006

Lawsuit delayed again

A hearing is set for August 29th in Queens Supreme Court for the Juniper Park Civic Association lawsuit against NYC Parks Department. The parks department encourages dog owners to allow their dogs to run off their leashes in violation of the city Health Code. "NYC Dog" tried to file an "Amicus Curiae Brief" but the judge refused to allow it to be entered into record.

It sounds like, so far, the judge is handling the suit in a reasonable manner.