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