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.