Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New York Times Op-Ed Article

Here's a pretty good take on a ridiculous op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times this past Sunday:

-The Irrelevent Public Intellectual-

Decision next week

Next week the Board of Health is scheduled to make their decision on amending the leash law. Lately, the commissioner of health, Dr. Thomas Frieden, has been featured prominently in the media...and it hasn't been very positive. I don't think that he anticipated the public's reaction to both his trans-fat ban and hospital closure policies. If he votes in favor of amending the leash law to permit the commissioner of parks to enforce the law at his discretion, he'll be 0 for 3.

Here's a good letter to Dr. Frieden that was forwarded to me. In addition, the author of a previous letter witnessed just one of the many negative results of zero enforcement:

"[...] I noticed the Parks Deparment in Central Park put up several signs stating dogs must be leashed...only to have certain dog owners "Fido" take them down. Today one of the groundskeeper was pleading with a man to please remove his large unleashed boxer from a fenced in (freshly seeded?) area, near 72nd street and Fifth Avenue. The owner of the unleashed boxer was laughing and refused to remove his dog."

"From: Thomas M. Sweeney, Jr.
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006
Subject: Proposed Amendment to Article 161 of NYC Health Code; Leash Law

Mr. Frieden:

Please do not forsake the Public's Health to appease a vocal lawless minority of dog owners who desire to let their dogs run free.

The Public are overwhelmingly against the proposed change to the leash law. As you are aware, the data upon which the proposed policy is based is faulty.

The City's own statistics show that the majority of dog owners are not in compliance with dog license laws. We have about 1.5 Million dogs - how many are licensed? In lieu of the proposal to amend Art. 161, please take this opportunity to encourage the Parks Dept. to enforce the law. If one child is mauled by an unleashed dog that is too many. Unfortunately we are way beyond one.

In discussing the issue with dog owners, many (particularly owners of smaller dogs) are strongly against the proposal, as their charges will make nice snacks for some of the more fearsome beasts. As the passion behind this proposal stems in large part from obese lethargic dog owners who desire to remain sessile while their animals territorialize the Parks, this situation presents you with a novel chance to improve the health of dog owners throughout the city, by requiring that they run alongside their dogs when not in a dog-run - see there's always a silver lining ;-)

Among the more laughable clauses in the proposed amendment is that ". . .owners of dogs allowed to be off the leash in the DOPR areas and facilities maintain and provide proof of current rabies vaccination . . ." less than one tenth of these dogs are licensed and someone expects these scofflaw owners to carry proof of vaccination with them?

If you continue to support this outlandish drive to expose our children to dog feces and being mutilated by unleashed dogs, I will do everything in my power to see that the Dept of Health is reigned-in by the City Council and the courts to limit its ability to endanger human health in favor of feral fauna.

I strongly suggest that the board vote down the proposal to amend Section 161.05 of the Health Code and instead start enforcing the leash law and the license law.

Respectfully yours,

Thomas M. Sweeney, Jr. , Esq."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Juniper Berry Article

New Absurd Times: 1.5 million dogs, give or take a million
11/20/2006 9:20:00 PM

by Christina Wilkinson, Robert Doocey, Lorraine Sciulli

Off-leash dog defecates on field while owner ignores him

Robert Marino, President of NYC DOG, cites the ASPCA as his source for the dog population statistic that he tosses around with frequency. He claims that the ASPCA told him that there were 1.5 million dogs in our city. This would mean 1 out of every 5 city residents owns a dog. This is a little far-fetched considering that most landlords in New York will not allow tenants to own dogs.

We decided to check his dog stat by contacting the ASPCA.

On November 8th, we asked Anita Kelso Edson, Senior Director of the ASPCA's Media and Communications Department, to provide statistics for the following: the dog population in NYC, the number of licensed dogs and the number of dog bites.

Anita replied: “In answer to your questions, I would suggest you contact Richard Gentles at Animal Care & Control.”

We took Ms. Edson’s suggestion and posed the same set of questions to Richard P. Gentles from the New York City Center for Animal Care and Control.

He replied: “We don’t have stats for dog populations, licensed dogs, and dog bites. This information can be obtained from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.”

A quick check of the New York City Department of Health website shows that they last estimated the dog population of NYC to be 530,000. This is 1 million fewer dogs than claimed by off-leash advocates. Apparently 1.5 million is an inflated statistic meant to sway the Departments of Parks and Health into believing that dogs simply must be allowed to run unleashed in city parks due to the lack of available enlosed areas for them to exercise. Obviously Commissioner Benepe fell for these inflated statistics.

The DOH reports that 105,000 dog licenses were issued during Fiscal Year 2006. That means approximately 20% of the city total dog population is licensed. When substituting NYC DOG’s dog population number for DOH’s, the percentage of licensed dogs plummets to just 7%. The Department of Health openly admits in their “intention to amend” the leash law that unleashed dogs pose a threat to the public and that the current number of dogs licensed falls well below an acceptable level.

May we also remind our readers that the Center for Disease Control lists the following species on as the top 3 on their “Dangerous Dogs List:” Pit bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd. These 3 also appear on the DOH’s NYC Top Dog Breeds. We don’t have to point out the effect that unleashing them in parks would have on the public.

Up until recently, the Department of Parks had this listed on their website:

“The City of New York enforces the leash law for several reasons:

First, unleashed dogs pose potential danger to people and to other dogs. Many park users, horses, park wildlife and leashed dogs have been attacked and bitten by unleashed dogs.

Second, many park visitors are frightened by dogs and may find unleashed dogs to be intimidating or annoying.

Third, unleashed dogs are more likely to leave behind waste that is not picked up by their owners; canine waste is a known source of several pernicious zoonotic diseases.

Finally, unleashed dogs destroy lawns and flower beds: areas used as informal 'dog runs' have been severely damaged by the combination of wear and uric acid, a known killer of plant life."

The Parks Department admits that these are major problems, yet still wants to unleash the hounds between 9pm and 9am. Apparently, after dark these problems magically disappear.

But wait! We aren’t finished…there’s yet more absurdity!

“The [DOH's] Office of Veterinary Public Health Services' mission is to promote and protect the health of New York City residents and visitors by ensuring an environment free from animal-borne diseases, hazards and nuisances by controlling and regulating animals. VPHS's goals are to:
1. Prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases from animals to people
2. Reduce animal nuisances”

Supporting off-leash dog activity completely contradicts the Veterinary Public Health Service’s reasons for existence.

Only in the City of New York would 2 city agencies consider the truly absurd proposal to unleash hundreds of thousands of undocumented, potentially dangerous dogs on the very same people that they are supposed to be protecting.

104 Queens Civic Groups Want Dogs Leashed in City Parks

11/27/2006 10:38:00 AM

Sean Walsh, President, Queens Civic Congress, (718) 225-2807
Robert Holden, President, Juniper Park Civic Association, (718) 651-5865


(11/27/06) Citing danger, discrimination, faulty statistics, and complaints from their members, the Queens Civic Congress, Inc., an umbrella organization representing 104 civic and community groups across the borough of Queens, has expressed support for keeping dogs leashed in city parks at all times in a letter to NYC Department of Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden.

In March 2006, QCC threw its support behind the Juniper Park Civic Association’s lawsuit against the Department of Parks and Recreation for their unofficial policy of allowing dog owners to unleash their dogs between the hours of 9pm and 9am in city parks lacking dog runs. This policy is in conflict with the NYC public health code which states that all dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in all public areas at all times.

In order to circumvent a negative outcome in the court case in which a judge’s ruling is soon expected to be handed down, the Department of Parks asked the Department of Health to consider revising the leash law to grant the Parks Commissioner the authority to designate off-leash areas outside of dog runs.

On November 12th, 2006, the QCC sent a letter to Commissioner Thomas Frieden explaining their position. The letter asks Dr. Frieden to vote against revising the leash law, as there are some serious questions about inconsistencies in DOH’s dog population, license and bite statistics. It also asks for a further exploration of the impact that such a revision in the health code would have on the health and safety of park patrons.

“Our constituency has made it clear to us that the majority of Queens residents are not in favor of this policy,” said Sean Walsh, president of the Queens Civic Congress in the letter. “Many of our neighbors no longer use our parks and many park volunteers have stopped doing the great work they do because of the intimidating presence of off-leash dogs.”

The Department of Health is scheduled to vote on the matter at a public meeting on Tuesday, December 5th, 2006.

-A copy of the letter sent to Dr. Frieden is here-

Saturday, November 18, 2006

P.E.P. doing their job?

Within the last few weeks I've received three reports of Parks Enforcement Patrol officers writing summonses for unleashed dogs. Two were in Prospect Park and one was in Central Park. It shouldn't seem so unusual unless you spend a fair amount of time in the city parks. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a PEP officer writing a leash law violation summons in the last 14 years. It's a sorry state of affairs when seeing a Park Enforcement Officer writing a ticket is a noteworthy event. Does the Department of Parks and Recreation think that suddenly writing a few tickets will make their case for changing the leash law more acceptable?

Unleashed in the Rose Garden

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Community Board 7 and the ASPCA

Here's an interesting article from the "Times Ledger". I'm curious what motivated their sudden concern:

"CB 7 hears report on lack of dog, cat licences in city
By Scott Sieber

In New York City, the dogs - and cats - are running wild.

Statistics released by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at the Community Board 7 meeting Monday night revealed that of the 1 million dogs and 2 million cats in the city, only 8 percent are licensed, a requirement pet owners often overlook.

Representatives from the animal advocacy group came before the board to seek support for an animal control program that would require pet owners to license their animals, and to open full service shelters in each borough. The program was introduced by Community Board 2 in Manhattan.

Although all five boroughs are currently required to operate full service shelters, Queens and the Bronx only have receiving centers, which is due to insufficient funding, and lack critical services for strays, said Lisa Weisberg, senior vice president of government affairs at the ASPCA.

"The city has always viewed this requirement as more like pest control," she said. "We're proposing that if the city enforces the dog license law, they could raise more than double the $8 million."

CB 7 tabled the matter until more detailed plans could be brought foreward. [...]"

Charles Grodin weighs in

Charles Grodin weighed in on the off-leash issue in his daily commentary on WCBS radio. You can hear his opinion at this link:

-Listen to Charles Grodin's podcast-

Dog Bite Victim & the 109th Precinct

This is just unbelievable. I don't know why the city didn't launch an investigation into the lack of professionalism at the 109th Precinct. The following article was in the "Queens Tribune", November 4, 2006. I am shocked by the behavior of one of New York City's finest and the victim should file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board as soon as possible.

-Online Complaint Form-

"Resident Says Cops Hung Up On Her


Slam! A dial tone rang through HaeJae Lee’s ear.

The Flushing resident clicked the receiver and dialed again. This time, the officer on the other end of the line gave her a few more seconds to explain her story.

In a thick Korean accent, Lee told the officer a dog had attacked her near the corner of Bowne Street and Cherry Avenue. She told the officer it wasn’t the first time this intimidating Rottweiler had attacked, that other neighbors have experienced its unpredictable temper.

“They told me they couldn’t help me though,” Lee said last week. “They told me I would have to call while I was being attacked. That they couldn’t do anything for me unless the attack was in progress. Then the officer did something I would have never expected.”

Clutching the phone, The 109th Precinct officer, in his blue uniform and silver badge, let out a thunderous laugh and said, “If you were smart enough you’d stay away from that dog,” Lee claims.

On any other occasion Lee would have typically brushed it off and washed the officer’s laugh from her mind, she admitted. But after learning from a neighbor that just a week before Detective Ki Soo Kim, of the 109th Precinct had given a speech encouraging Asian Americans to report crimes, Lee could not brush off the phone call.

“They tell us to report crimes,” Said Lee, who emigrated from Korea in 1982. “They say we don’t do enough. They say we are scared. But this is why we are scared.”

According to published reports, Kim stated at an Oct.11 109th Precinct Community Council meeting, “a lot of crimes happen against Asians who don’t speak English… for cultural reasons they don’t want to interact with us. They’re afraid of us… if you want to be more active in the community, there should be omnipresence.”

In response to Kim’s speech, Precinct Community Council President Wanda Antosh agreed. “If you want to see a change, pick yourself up and do something about it,” she said at the very same meeting.

Kim was unable to be reached for comment on his previous statement, due to the fact that he is presently out of the country on vacation. Additionally, the 109th could not comment until they speak with Kim.

Antosh on the other hand, who is a Flushing resident, agreed with her initial statement at the meeting.

“Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and pursue help. 99 percent of the time people call and have been answered,” she said. “I honestly don’t think this woman was ignored. I don’t think the officers at the precinct would have treated her that way.”

Antosh added that where the real problem might lay is that Lee, like others, may have never followed up on the attack, resulting in a dead-end for officers.

According to Lee though, she had followed up with Kim numerous times, leaving two messages on his voicemail as of Oct. 20, which had yet to be returned.

“I would certainly recommend that [Lee] call the precinct back and try to resolve this matter,” Antosh said.

After being “betrayed” once by the precinct, Lee notes that it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“I’m stunned by just how uncaring the 109th Precinct and Detective Ki Soo Kim are. They apparently do not practice what they preach,” said Lee. “This really needs to change.”

Below is the victim's letter to the Editor of the "Queens Tribune":

"To The Editor:

My name is Haejae Lee and I was attacked by a Rottweiler and this is the second attack happened to our family. Because 109th Precinct has done absolutely nothing to help me and my community, I reached out to publications, DA office, politicians, community leaders and concerned citizen of Flushing.

In Vol. 36 page 5 of Queens Tribune article "Resident Says Cops Hung Up On Her" written by Ellen Thompson, you stated "...Lee may have never followed up on the attack, resulting in a dead- end for officers I would certainly recommended that [Lee] call the precinct back and try to resolve this matter..."

I am just stunned. I placed total of 6 phone calls to 109th Precinct. On Oct 19, the officer at your precinct said "...I wasn't there. If you are smart enough, you should stay away from dog like that?" When I said to the officer, "are you blaming the victim?" he hung up on me. I called again at 9:05 a.m. on Oct 19 and again the officer refused to listen. I was told " really isn't our problem. You should contact ASPCA. You should contact one of those animal police you see on TV. You should call back while you are being attacked".

I did call 911 four times on Oct 19 as soon as I could free myself from vicious rottweiler while the owner watched me being attacked. I have witnesses and names of people who have the same or similar experiences with this person. I even found out where he lives. I put flyers around my neighborhood. I also called ASPCA, Department of Health, 311.

I am told by everyone that 109th Precinct should be the one to help, not them. They deal with animal cruelty, not dog attacks. I even had 3-way telephone conversation with 311 operator, myself, and 911 operator. All pointed toward the same direction, which is 109th Precinct. I don't know how you can say that I never followed up. 109th Precinct belittled me and my neighborhood.

On Oct 23 Officer Glennon called me because she received a call from the DA's Office. I gave her the details again, including the address of the dog owner. Then she asked me my nationality, my age, the year I came to the United States, and if I were US citizen. I don't know what my age, nationality, and citizen status have to do with dog attack. Since then I called her twice but she never called back.

I am disheartened by the attitude toward our community. You are blaming the victim. In this the victim is not just me but our entire community. Please don't wait until someone dies from this dog to do something about it. You can prevent it by listening to us and doing something about it. Please be proactive and help us.

Haejae Lee,

Original story:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pigout Day for Council & Frieden's fat in the fire

Here are a couple of interesting opinion pieces about the City Council and Board of Health:

"Pigout day for Council
NY Daily News, November 15, 2006

Barring an event on the order of an earthquake swallowing City Hall, the City Council today will vote itself a 25% pay raise while offering taxpayers zilch in return. As we've said before: oink, oink.

Speaker Christine Quinn and her band want to be taken seriously, but this type of piggish behavior provokes scorn. Serious legislatures - Congress, for example - cannot, and do not, conduct themselves as the Council is eager to conduct itself today.

Serious legislatures respect the principle that lawmakers should hike salaries for future officeholders, not their own salaries. In other words, you inform voters that you intend to boost pay before an election with the raise to take effect after a new legislature is sworn in. That way, the public can have a say, and self-dealing is minimized.

In voting today, Council members will line their own pockets with nary a nod to voter wishes. They must soften the insult by adopting a rule that would bar similar outrageous behavior in the future.

As for the money, a $22,500 hike from $90,000 to $112,500 for a part-time job is too much. Lawmakers argue that the Council hasn't had a raise in seven years, but they leave out the fact that 47 of 51 members have held office for less than five years. And the fact that 13 of them have lucrative private income. And the fact that they also get special stipends, called lulus, ranging up to $28,500 a year.

The Council will seek political cover for the raises by citing the fact that they were approved by a mayoral commission that also called for hiking the salaries of the mayor, public advocate, controller, borough presidents and district attorneys. But that same panel also said that in the future, the Council should avoid raising its own pay.

So far, only one Council member, Tony Avella of Queens, has proposed banning lulus and delaying the raise until 2010, after the next election. He's right, and that makes him the only clean one in the sty."

-Click to read "Frieden's fat in the fire"-

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Brooklyn Borough President's response

I wrote a letter to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Actually, I've written several letters to Marty Markowitz in the last 8 years. Rather than respond to me directly, he had his Senior Planner, Elizabeth Ernish, respond to my letter. Below is an excerpt from her reply:

"Subject: NYC Health Code changes
From: Ernish, Elizabeth
Date: 11/13/06 3:30 PM
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz asked me to respond to your email regarding the proposal to amend Article 161 of the Health Code which, if enacted, would provide the New York Department of Parks and Recreation with discretion to permit dogs off-leash during specified hours in certain New York City public parks.   
Fundamentally, the Borough President believes that this is a safety issue.   Many constituents, including the parents of small children, have expressed to me their valid concerns regarding dogs off-leash in our public parks.  However, as a dog lover, he believes well-behaved pets, many of which are confined to small apartments for much the day, deserve a little time to frolic freely outdoors. [...]
If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me [...] 
Elizabeth Ernish
Senior Planner
Brooklyn Borough President's Office"

"Well-behaved pets"? Exactly who is going to stand at the entrances to the parks and decide which dog is well-behaved and which is not? Marty Markowitz recognizes the safety implications and many people have contacted his office to express their concern. Somehow, he manages to justify the concept that dogs living in small apartments can trump a valid public health issue. How about running with your dog on a leash? Or bringing your dog to one of the city's dog parks that have fences around them? Keep that is mind if you or any of your loved ones are ever mauled by an unleashed dog in a Brooklyn park. Then, call Borough President Marty Markowitz and tell him you don't agree that it is worth the pain so that dogs can be exercised, unleashed in an unconfined public space.

If the city truly believes that it is perfectly acceptable to allow dogs to run, unleashed in public places, why do they have ANY fenced dog runs? Why not take down all the fences so that the dogs have more space? Maybe that will be the next demand by the lunatic fringe off-leash advocates. Nothing would surprise me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Prospect Park's layout

I've discovered that many people unfamiliar with Prospect Park are astounded when they see the extent of the unleashed dog problem. Below is a map that I created by combining the official Prospect Park map with a Google Earth satellite image of the park. I think that it gives a fairly good impression of how the wooded areas crisscross all the open meadows. It also clearly shows the impossibility of containing unleashed dogs and the huge percentage of the park's area that they monopolize.

Prospect Park with satellite image overlay (click to enlarge)

The unofficial "courtesy hours" permit unleashed dogs on the Long Meadow and the Peninsula Meadow from 9pm to 9am and the Nethermead Meadow from 5pm to 9am. What's wrong with this picture?!

Entitlement and rudeness?

The following piece is from "The Central Bark, A Publication of Central Park Paws and the Central Park Conservancy", Volume 6, Issue 3, Summer 2006. Susan Buckley is the President of Central Park PAWS and the editor of the newsletter.

"A Letter from the President

We have a problem.
Do you want to be part of the solution?

Is it because the fenced-off greenswards are irresistible? Is it because human nature leads us to take our privileges for granted, as rights rather than privileges? Is it because we can't remember a time when we didn't think we had "the run of the park"? For whatever reason(s) there seems to be more than usual flouting of the rules over the past few months. Recently I saw seven dogs racing across the ballfields north of the Great Lawn as one owner tossed a ball right in front of three Conservancy supervisors. Central to the mission of Central Park PAWS is the ongoing dialogue that we as dog owners have with Conservancy staff. We report concerns to the Conservancy and they report concerns to us. It's odd, they are saying, but more people are letting their dogs into off-limits areas than usual. I was shocked, too, when I received an email report from a Brooklyn dog owner who was part of a Mayor's Alliance event in Central Park earlier this summer: "I had to ask multiple times to have people leash their dogs past my area where I was setting up and I was yelled at and treated rudely......Not one person heeded my request......Please keep in mind as you fight for off-leash rights, the sense of entitlement has to go."

This sort of attitude isn't what I see in the park, not at all, but clearly it exists with some people sometimes in some places. A sense of entitlement is never an attractive trait but it can spread easily when we forget how privileged we are. It should not take the threatened loss of our offleash privileges to remind us not to take our luck for granted. We should be thankful for it every day. So, what can WE do as part of PAWS? Being "the dog police" is neither appropriate nor pleasant. And having a divine but naughty dog myself, I know how easy it is for the most caring of owners to find their dogs dancing out onto the lawns. What we can do is to try our best to set good examples, to watch our dogs with eagle eyes, and to gently remind others of the critical importance of abiding by the rules of the park - and of basic civility.

Susan Buckley
President, Central Park PAWS"

I'm not sure where Ms. Buckley has been running her dog but what she has described has been "business as usual" in Prospect Park since 1997.

When she writes, "more than usual flouting of the rules", does she mean flouting of the rules occurs regularly but she has been noticing it more? Or, perhaps all the publicity the lawsuit has created is bringing more dog owners into the park. There doesn't seem to be any way to quantify the scofflaws since there are so few Park Enforcement Patrol officers. Also, until this year, the NYPD hadn't separated by category crimes committed in their precincts from those committed within city parks in their reporting areas.

Ms. Buckley reiterates that, "more people are letting their dogs into off-limits areas than usual". What the heck is "usual" and is that number acceptable?

Does "having a divine but naughty dog myself", mean that she understands the difficulty of controlling certain dogs because her dog regularly flouts the rules?

Rude (unleashed) dog owners?! No surprise here. Now at least one dog owner knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the off-leash lunatic fringe's obnoxious attitude of entitlement.

If, after 20 years of off-leash courtesy hours we're still experiencing the aforementioned problems, isn't it time that the "experiment" be terminated as a complete failure?

Dog Bite study in NYC

Below are excerpts from a study conducted on the incidence of dog bites in New York City. Some of the facts pointed out by the report raise a couple of interesting questions. How does the parks department know which reported bites occurred within the borders of city parks? What percentage of dog bites are actually reported to the department of health?

From the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at New York University Medical Center. Received for publication November 17, 1999; revised January 31, 2000.

"Dog Bites in New York City"
Loren J. Borud, M.D., and David W. Friedman, M.D.

"The purpose of this review is to characterize the public health problem of dog bites in New York City. Dog bites represent a major source of morbidity, mortality, disability, and health care cost in the United States. The most severe injuries are frequently referred to the plastic surgeon. The authors have recently treated several severe cases of unprovoked dog attacks in children. To characterize the dog bite problem in New York City, data were obtained for 1998 from the New York City Department of Health. During that year, 6568 bites were reported by the mandated physician reporters in the five boroughs of New York City." (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 106: 987, 2000.)

* * * * *

"Dog bites represent a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The associated pain and suffering, particularly in children, are incalculable. In addition to the expense of health care, there is substantial long-term disability to injured children. At Bellevue Hospital , the authors recently have treated several children for particularly severe and unprovoked dog bites. The purpose of this study was to define the scope of the dog bite problem in New York City."

* * * * *

"Data on all reported dog bites treated in New York City during the calendar year 1998 were obtained from the New York City Department of Health. Any dog bite injury treated by a physician in New York City must, by law, be reported to the local authorities. Data from the report forms are entered into a master registry. Information on each bite includes the date of injury, age and sex of the victim, anatomic area affected, the treating hospital, and the borough in which the bite occurred. The data did not include information on the treatment rendered to the victim, nor did it include the circumstances of the attack or breed of dog involved."

* * * * *

"The greatest number of attacks occurred during the summer months, peaking in June and July. A disproportionate number (32 percent) of all attacks occurred during the months of June, July, and August (see Fig. 5). Although we do not have specific data to explain this phenomenon, it is likely that during the warm summer months, dogs are more frequently outside, and more frequently in an uncontrolled environment in their interactions with both familiar and unfamiliar persons."

* * * * *

"Dog Bites in New York City
In 1998, the incidence of physician reported dog bites in New York City was 0.85 per 1000 inhabitants. This incidence is in concordance with other published reports. The National Center for Health Statistics National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (1992 to 1994) estimated the incidence of dog bites treated in emergency departments at 1.3 per 1000 persons per year.2 A national telephone survey gave a slightly higher estimate of 3 per 1000 persons requiring medical attention due to dog bites.1 Of course, many bites treated by individual practitioners in New York rather than in emergency rooms, where routine protocols are in place, are not reported. A recent study in Pittsburgh13 based on capture/re-capture data suggests that only approximately 36 percent of dog bites are in fact reported to hospitals, the police, or animal control authorities."

1. Sacks, J. J., Kresnow, M., and Houston, B. Dog bites: How big a problem? Inj. Prev. 2: 52, 1996.
2. Weiss, H. B., Friedman, D. I., and Coben, J. H. Incidence of dog bite injuries treated in emergency departments. J.A.M.A. 279: 51, 1998.
13. Chang, Y. F., McMahon, J. E., Hennon, D. L., LaPorte, R. E., and Coben, J. H. Dog bite incidence in the city of Pittsburgh: A capture-recapture approach. Am. J. Public Health 87: 1703, 1997.

* * * * *

"Why Dogs Bite
According to the Humane Society of the United States,14 dogs bite out of fear or for protection of territory. Some dog breeds seem to be “genetically mean,” and may be more prone to attack than other breeds. The pit bull, rottweiler, German shepherd, husky, Alaskan malamute, and wolf hybrid have been responsible for the majority of dog bite-related fatalities.5 Breed-specific data are difficult to obtain because owners of high-risk, aggressive breeds may be less likely to register their animal with the local authorities.15"

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dog bite related fatalities: United States, 1995–1996. M.M.W.R. 46: 463, 1997.
14. Sinclair, L. Dog Bite Facts. Washington, D.C.: Humane Society of the United States, 1999.
15. Lockwood, R. Humane concerns about dangerous dog laws. Univ. Dayton Law Rev. 13: 267, 1988.

* * * * *

"Public education and legislation are the cornerstones of dog bite prevention. Such measures include the following14:

1. Behavior modification. Potential victims, especially children, should be taught that behavior sometimes influences the probability of attack. Running past an unfamiliar dog or startling the animal can trigger attacks. If approached by an aggressive dog, one should stand perfectly still and avoid making eye contact. If attacked, the victim should roll into a ball and “play dead.”

2. Public education of owners. Owners must be taught to appreciate the importance of proper training, care, and leashing of their animals.

3. Spay and neuter laws. Sterilized dogs are safer, less aggressive, and less likely to bite.

4. Legislation targeting dog owners. Legislation that holds the dog owner responsible for the pain and suffering of victims is being considered in many areas. More restrictive confinement and leashing laws are being widely debated. In some communities, enforcement of existing laws can make a difference. When the New York City Parks Department began enforcing leashing laws, handing out summonses for $100 fines, the percentage of leashed dogs in city parks rose from approximately 30 percent to more than 80 percent in less than 5 months.16

5. Breed-specific legislation. Laws that target high-risk breeds are controversial and generally have not been effective in communities that have implemented such legislation. The ultimate result of recent pit bull bans in Annapolis, Maryland, and Highland Park, Michigan, will be instructive. Cheektowaga, New York, has even limited the total number of dogs allowed per household to three.17

6. Improved reporting. To guide public policy and assess the efficacy of dog bite prevention measures, reports to local health authorities need to be much more thorough. In New York City, we recommend inclusion of data such as breed, history of prior aggression, circumstances of attack, degree of injury, and treatment rendered. In cases requiring inpatient care, hospitals should report the need for operative intervention and duration of hospitalization."

14. Sinclair, L. Dog Bite Facts. Washington, D.C.: Humane Society of the United States, 1999.
16. Martin, D. Leash patrol touts victory in city parks: Next, pit bulls. New York Times. July 29, 1999.
17. Martin, D. Political animals: Growling over dogs’ rights. New York Times. March 14, 1999.

In an article entitled "Off Leash Policy Raises Rancor Of Civic, Again" published in the newspaper "The Queens Chronicle", writer Colin Gustafson states, "Queens is home to more than 400,000 dogs, but had only two reported bites in the last seven years, according to the health department." I'm not sure who he spoke with at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or what source he used, but that number contradicts the above study. In that study Drs. Borund and Friedman write that in 1998 6,568 bites were reported. Of that total 96% were in NYC's five boroughs. The percentage breakdown is:

Brooklyn - 28%
Queens - 25%
Bronx - 19%
Manhattan - 13%
Staten Island - 11%
Other - 4%

96% of 6,568 = 6305.28
25% of 6305.28 = 1576.32

I would believe the doctor's number of over 1500 reported bites in Queens in 1998, as opposed to, Colin Gustafson's nebulous source's 2 reported bites in 7 years.

Does anyone in the media ever challenge the, obviously, ridiculous claims made by the off-leash lunatic fringe?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Parks crime statistics

The off-leash lunatic fringe constantly repeats a couple of bits of "information". They never back-up their claims with any authentic statistical data or correlations. I suppose that they're hoping if it's regurgitated enough times, that it will be accepted as real facts. I wish that the local media outlets would actually research their claims rather than merely parroting the same, tired fiction.

Take, for example, the claim that ever since dogs have been allowed to run unleashed, crime in the parks has been reduced. Conveniently, this assertion can neither be proved nor disproved. The reason is that data on crimes committed in city parks has only been collected for Central Park. As proof of that, below are excerpts from the New York City Committee on Public Safety, int. no. 470, February 3, 2005:


Introduction No. 470 requires the Police Department to submit to the Council reports of crime in areas under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation. The legislative findings and intent indicate that information on crime in parks and other public spaces is not effectively gathered and disseminated. Of the approximately 27,000 acres of park and open space, covered by different precincts, crime statistics are not calculated to reflect crimes in those specific public spaces, making it difficult to identify problem areas."

The enacted amendment begins:

"Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Declaration of legislative findings and intent. The Council finds that information about crimes in parks is not effectively gathered and analyzed by the Police Department nor the Department of Parks and Recreation, and such knowledge is a powerful tool in making the parks and open space of the City safe for everyone. Information on crime statistics in parks should be specifically analyzed by the Police, and reported to the Council. Since only the 843 acres of Central Park has a dedicated precinct, that is the only park in which crime statistics are reported to the Council. The other approximately 27,000 acres of park and open space is covered by separate precincts, and the crime statistics are not calculated to reflect crimes in those public spaces. In addition, many parks are covered by a number of precincts and commands, which separates the information into different areas, not reflecting the actual statistics for a specific park. For instance, Forest Park borders and is in the 104, 102, 112, and 75 precincts, in 3 different patrol boroughs (Queens North, Queens South and Brooklyn North); Flushing Meadows Park is covered by the 110, 107 and 112 precincts; Prospect Park borders and is covered by the 70, 71, 77 and 78 precincts; Riverside Park is covered by the 20, 24 and 26 precincts; Bronx Park is covered by the 49 and 52 precincts; and Van Cortland Park is covered by the 47 and 50 precincts."

Both past Commissioner Henry Stern and Prospect Park Alliance President Tupper Thomas claimed that they created the off-leash "courtesy hours" based on the effect that unleashed dogs had on crime in the parks. Since it is impossible to have access to any park crime statistics I can only assume that they fabricated that argument to justify their policy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

American Kennel Club

Some of the off-leash fringe have accused me of misrepresenting the American Kennel Club's position on leashing ones dog in public. Below is an exceprt from their website:

AKC's Position Statement on the Right to Keep and Enjoy Dogs

The American Kennel Club recognizes the special obligation of dog owners, not only to their pets but also to their neighbors. The AKC supports "curbing" and clean-up ordinances, leash laws, nuisance laws, and other reasonable regulations designed to ensure that dogs and their owners remain respected members of their communities.

I don't think there's much room for confusion.

Is "socializing" dogs to other dogs really a good idea?

Among many other questionable arguments, the off-leash fringe frequently refers to the importance of "socializing" dogs to other dogs. Most of the references that I found regarding socializing your pet mean socializing it to people, objects and situations, not other dogs. Below is an interesting commentary by veterinarian, consultant, teacher, and author Myrna Milani:

Puppy Play Groups

Dr. Milani astutely points out:

"Given all that, I don't think we can overlook the final reality of canine social experiences which is that our desire for the companionship of other humans more than any desire for our dogs to experience quality canine companionship might fuel a lot of these activities. In spite of how complex our lives are, a lot of us are lonely. Puppy playgroups and dog parks provide us with an opportunity to socialize that comes with the added benefit of a built-in topic of conversation. Unlike sitting in a singles bar or going to a party with a bunch of strangers with whom we can only hope to broach some subject of mutual interest, those involved in canine activities always know that they can talk about dogs."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

20 years of courtesy hours? I don't think so

Off-leash advocates, politicians, writers and bloggers have been tossing around the claim that the "courtesy hours" for dogs has been in effect (and successful) for 20 years. I defy anyone to show me proof that this claim is true. Find me a news release, parks department newsletter, internal memo, newspaper article or other form of media from 1986 that describes the "courtesy hours".

I know that the off-leash, fringe lunatics monitor this blog so here's a challenge:

Find any document from 20 years ago that mentions the "courtesy hours" and post it on NYCDogs. If possible, be honest and don't post any fraudulent documents. If nothing turns up, I will assume that you failed and, as expected, the claim is pure fiction.

A Good Dog Blog

Here's a good posting from a professional dog walker who recognizes the reality of the off-leash situation in NYC.

Central Park: Dogs Off Leash, Myths and Reality

The lunatics are in charge of the asylum

This gets more ludicrous with every website I click on. The following is from the "Dog Fun" website's dog park directory:

"Brooklyn - Prospect Park

Three off leash areas: The Longmedow, The Nethermead, and The Peninsula Meadow. Prospect Park is one of New York Cities best parks and is about 563 acres. The park is also used by joggers, cyclists, Frisbee players, baseball players, softball players, soccer players, catch and release fishermen, horseback riders, radio control model aircraft, picnickers, bird watchers, roller-bladers, skateboarders, kite flyers, paddle-boaters, metal detector hobbyists, sunbathers, photographers, musicians, boxers, various martial artists, school groups, day camps in the summer, and concert goers some summer evenings. For the most part, the three off leash dog areas are used by the dogs and there owners during off leash hours."

"We also have some parents who bring children into the dog area during dog hours for the social experience. Some of the children are in strollers, infants may be on the parents chest or back, and the occasional child will chase a dog but is usually quickly corrected by a parent or informed dog handler. There are no breed restrictions. There are no sex or age restrictions, but most people have the common sense to not bring in bitches in heat, and to give extra close monitoring to a dog that has some social issues. Or not bring in a young puppy, especially not to the dog beach. (There is a designated dog beach and a swim area at the Peninsula as well.) There is enough space that a dog who displays aggression can be go to a different section of the meadow while his handlers gradually introduce him to other dogs."

This appears to have been written by FIDO and they are admitting that it's ok to unleash aggressive dogs in Prospect Park! Do these people ever read what they've written? Also consider this sentence:

"For the most part, the three off leash dog areas are used by the dogs and there [sic] owners during off leash hours."

Does this mean that "for the most part" the areas are used by dog owners ONLY during off leash hours, leading one to believe that sometimes they do during non-off leash hours? Or does it mean that "for the most part" they are the only people using those three fields during the off leash hours? I guess they're just hedging their bet because, "for the most part" dog owners completely ignore the rules and other people's rights.

More Biased Reporting

CBS News aired a report on the current proposal to amend the leash laws. I found it very disturbing that the editors decided to change the printed report, omitting a key comment from a dog owner.

On the WCBSTV website, in the article entitled "NYC Dog Fight: To Leash Or Not To Leash? Barking & Growling Begins On Both Sides Of Issue" (Magee Hickey Reporting) is the following:

Sophie, a 14-year-old dog, wouldn't be alive today if she didn't have her nightly run in Central Park, her owner, Virginia Hoffman, said.

"It wouldn't be healthy for her. Dog runs are crowded," said Hoffman.

However, the actual, videotaped comment by Virginia Hoffman was:

"It wouldn't be a healthy life for her. Dogs need to run, they need to run and the dog runs are crowded and dangerous. They're just too small. And, um, they need to enjoy the environment, if they are well trained."

Who in the Department of Parks is going to determine which dogs entering the parks are well trained enough to be unleashed?

You can read the story and watch the video here:

-NYC Dog Fight: To Leash Or Not To Leash?-

In addition, off-leash advocates keep saying that it has been a 20 year unofficial policy. I challenge anyone to find documentation that says the Department of Parks and Recreation began this unofficial policy in 1986. By using the word "unofficial" it pretty much makes it impossible to determine whether or not this policy began in 1998 or 1978. If you'd like to do some detective work, try to search for the first reference to a 20 year policy. The policy actually started in Prospect Park in 1998 and I have the letters to prove it. I will begin posting them shortly.

Friday, November 03, 2006

More Dog Bite Prevention Info

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have teamed up for National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 19-25, to educate Americans about dog-bite prevention. Click the link below for the entire new release:

-National Dog Bite Prevention Week-

Hearing Summary

DOH hearing brings out the worst in off-leash advocates
11/1/2006 8:20:00 PM

by Christina Wilkinson

Off-leash dog in Central Park trampling flowerbed

JPCA members who offered live testimony with regards to the Department of Health's proposal to allow unleashed dogs in city parks were subjected to catcalls, booing and hissing by members of the Juniper Valley Park Dog Association, FIDO Brooklyn, NYC DOG and other off-leash advocates.

During the public comment period, written statements were submitted by JPCA members, as well as others dismayed that DOH would even consider this issue. These include expert "dog bite attorney" Kenneth Morgan Phillips and expert dog trainer, Ed Frawley. JPCA Executive Board Members Lorraine Sciulli, Edward Kampermann and Robert Doocey made public comments at the hearing before Commissioner Thomas Frieden and other members of the Board of Health today. JPCA attorney Gabe Tapalaga also weighed in.

Birder Ron Bourque testified about the fact that off-leash dogs have been harassing and killing migrating birds. (That situation is so bad that FIDO Brooklyn asked its members to "give migrating birds a rest" in their latest newsletter.) Robert Doocey was booed loudly when he stated that dogs were "personal property," which according to police and the courts, is exactly what they are under NYS law. During and after each and every pro-leash speaker's testimony, there was heckling by the anti-leash contingent, who went so far as to yell at Mr. Kampermann to "get off the stage" while he was speaking.

This unacceptable behavior demonstrates the mentality of the off-leash advocates, who, as you will recall, disrupted our JPCA meeting this past March. However, these members of "responsible" dog owner groups today proved to the Board and to the rest of society that they cannot control their own behavior, so how can they be expected to control the behavior of their dogs? Also, now they are no longer saying that off-leash hours are a "successful" 20-year policy. Now they are a 30-year policy! Love that revisionist history...

"In this backwards city of ours, it's no surprise that dogs take priority over people. I guess nobody walks, runs, bikes, strolls, or just sits in a park between the hours 9pm and 9am any more," said Bayside resident Michael Chimenti.

JPCA President Robert Holden's testimony included photos of out-of-control off-leash dogs in Juniper, Prospect and Central Parks. One photo of three loose rottweilers staring down the photographer on a pedestrian park path seemed to make a strong impression upon Commissioner Frieden and others in attendance. Another showed a professional dog walker unleashing 10 dogs at a time. Pictures really were worth a thousand words in this instance.

While Mr. Holden was outside the hearing room being interviewed by reporters, he was interrupted by yet another dog advocate who insisted that the photos he presented did not portray the "responsible dog owners" who are all members of organized dog groups, but rather showed the scofflaws that they try to discourage. Mr. Holden then showed both the complainant and the reporter a photo of Fonzi and Rascal, collies belonging to Terri Sullivan, President of the Juniper Valley Park Dog Association (one of those "responsible" dog owner groups), running offleash in a prohibited area of Juniper Park. Having effectively silenced his critic, he then concluded his interview without interruption.

The Board is expected to make their determination about whether to adopt the proposed amendment by December 5th. If they shirk their responsibility of only adopting policy aimed at protecting the public as set forth in their mission statement, then JPCA predicts there will be many more dog bites and a subsequent public outcry to releash all dogs in all public places at all times.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Board of Health amendment hearing

Yesterday was the hearing with the Board of Health where public comments were presented to the advisory board. I will post a summary of the hearing, time permitting, either tonight or tomorrow. For some very good coverage of and responses to the proceedings check out this website:

-JPCA Homepage-

Below is the letter that I submitted to the Board of Health. I also had 16 images attached to the letter:

"Ms. Rena Bryant
Secretary to the Board of Health
125 Worth Street, CN-31
New York, NY 10013

Subject: Notice of Intention to Amend Article 161 of the New York City Health Code

Council Members,

I am writing to express my deep concern and opposition regarding "Notice of Intention to Amend Article 161 of the New York City Health Code."

The mission of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is to ensure the health and welfare of all New Yorkers. Below are three excerpts taken from the "Statement of Purpose" listed in the "Board of Health Notice of Adoption of Amendments to Sections 161.03, 161.04 and 161.05 of The New York City Health Code":

"The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (the “Department”) is authorized and required by law to promote and protect the health and safety of New York City residents and visitors by ensuring an environment free from animal-borne diseases and hazards, as well as those caused by other vectors. Article 161 contains various provisions related to issues of public health concern in ownership and management of animals in the City of New York."

"New York State and New York City animal control laws are intended to safeguard the health and safety of the public. In addition to having their dogs actively vaccinated against the disease of rabies, responsible dog owners must obtain a license (New York City Dog License Law, Ch. 115 of the Laws of 1894, as amended); attach a dog license tag to the dog’s collar when the animal is in a public place (see, Health Code §161.04); hold the dog on a leash no longer than six feet when the dog is in a public place (see, Health Code §161.05); and remove their dog’s feces from any public areas (see, Health Code §161.03 and New York Public Health Law §1310)."

"Licensing companion dogs is increasingly seen as an important indicator of responsible dog ownership, reducing the numbers of strays, biting incidents and homeless, unwanted animal over-population. It enables owners of stray dogs to be more easily be identified so that lost dogs may be returned to their owners. It makes it possible for the Department to identify and control biting and dangerous dogs, and to control rabies."

According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, an estimated 4.7 million Americans will be bitten by dogs this year. As many as 800,000 people annually require medical treatment for dog bites. About 12 people each year die from dog attacks. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance companies paid $317.2 million for dog bite liability claims in 2005 alone. The primary victims are children. The median age of patients bitten was 15 years, with children, especially boys aged 5 to 9 years, having the highest incidence rate. Children seen in emergency departments were more likely than older persons to be bitten on the face, neck, and head. Severe injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

In addition to these concerns is the increasing incidence of rabies in both New York City and New York State. This year the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has already issued three health or medical alerts (2006 DOHMH Alert #11, #25, #36) regarding the current rabies outbreak.

The latest estimates put the New York City dog population at 1.5 million (Robert A. Marino, Vice President, NY Council of Dog Owners Groups). Of that number only 84,547, or 5.6%, are licensed (Department of Health, CAP, year to date April 2006). Last year there were 5,385 dog bites reported in New York City. As unacceptably high as that number is, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Newsletter states that "Dog bites have long been recognized as one of the most under reported of all injuries". It should be noted that the city does not maintain statistics on the number of dogs injured by other dogs, dogs lost, dogs killed by automobiles, injuries other than bites or injuries incurred as a direct result of an uncontrolled dog.

On April 14, 1999 the then commissioner of parks, Henry J. Stern had a press conference where he announced a comprehensive program to increase compliance with the NYC leash laws. Present at the event was Noreen E. Baxter, Vice President of the American Kennel Club. The President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kennel Club, Alfred L. Cheaure, wrote to the commissioner and commended Parks & Recreation for its attempts to curb irresponsible and reckless dog owners. He also called for new enforcement efforts " protect the rights of dog owners as well as city residents." (Department of Parks & Recreation Newsroom Media Advisories, Thursday, April 14, 1999, no. 72). In addition, the Department of Parks and Recreation website (Things to Do, New York City Dog Runs In New York City - Tuesday, October 3, 2006), states:

"To the dog owners who still gripe about leash laws, Parks & Recreation enforces the health code laws for several reasons. First, unleashed dogs pose potential danger to people and to other dogs. Many park users, horses, park wildlife and leashed dogs have been attacked and bitten by unleashed dogs. Second, many park visitors are frightened by dogs and may find unleashed dogs to be intimidating or annoying. Third, unleashed dogs are more likely to leave behind waste that is not picked up by their owners; canine waste is a known source of several pernicious zoonotic diseases. Finally, unleashed dogs destroy lawns and flower beds: areas used as informal "dog runs" have been severely damaged by the combination of wear and uric acid, a known killer of plant life."

In the publication, "New York City Parks/Parks and Recreation: Third Biennial Report, January 1998 – June 2000" (page 10), is the following section:

"Leash Law - Dogs are a wonderful presence in parks, but unleashed dogs can cause serious problems. They collide with joggers and bicyclists, frighten children and senior citizens, soil the landscape and trample lawns and fragile areas. Occasionally, they bite humans and small mammals. To help improve leash law compliance, Parks launched an initiative in March 1999 focusing on education, enforcement, and environmental restoration. Since then, citywide compliance has increased substantially."

Keeping one's dog(s) on a leash in public places is endorsed by no less than the ASPCA, the Humane Society, the American Kennel Club and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are countless animal and medical associations that sponsor annual "responsible dog ownership" and "dog bite prevention" education drives. Of the top ten most populous cities in the United States, New York City in number one in both total population and population density. All ten cities have municipal laws that require dogs to be leashed when in public places. Why the most densely populated of those cities would even consider allowing unleashed dogs in unenclosed areas defies logic.

Nothing in the physical properties of New York City's green spaces, population or the instinctive behavior of dogs has suddenly changed that would make allowing them to run, unleashed in public places a good idea. I live in Park Slope, next to Prospect Park. Since 1996 I have seen the number of unleashed dogs increase from several dozen to several hundred. On May 11, 2002 an article by Amy Sachs about unleashed dogs and "courtesy hours" in Prospect Park was published in "The Daily News". In the article she writes, "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 [her] 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."

The unofficial parks department policy that permits dogs to run off leash in unenclosed areas between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am (and during certain months, 5pm to 9am) has created scores of problems in Prospect Park. First, neither the courtesy rules nor the leash laws are ever enforced. Dogs can be found running, unleashed on sports fields, horse paths, open fields, roads, woodlands and swimming in waterways. It has escalated to the point where the unleashed dogs prevent me, my wife and dozens of our friends from exercising in Prospect Park in the early morning or late afternoon. I have attached several photos that show how dog owners routinely ignore the rules. In addition, I have created a website that documents the problem and provides photographs, videos, articles, letters and informational links (

The Department of Parks and Recreation currently has 53 fulltime Parks Enforcement Patrol officers. They work eight hours a day, five days a week. Among other tasks, PEP officers are responsible for the enforcement of the leash law in the city's 1,700 parks. If they cannot manage the existing "unofficial" rules, what will happen if the Department of Parks is legally permitted to allow unleashed dogs in "certain areas at certain times"?

I respectfully appeal to the members of the Board of Health to use common sense and their oath to protect the health and welfare of all New Yorkers and reject the proposal to amend Article 161.


I have made it my policy not to respond to the obnoxious comments and threats aimed at me on various public forums. However, I'd like to go on the record and state that several "off leash" advocates have made threatening, intimidating statements directed at me. Obviously, it has had no affect on my objectives. However, if I'm ever injured by a dog owner or dog in a city park, given my vocal opposition to the illegal offleash policy, I assure you that it won't be accidental.