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"

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More fun with unleashed dogs

The following is from th blog, "Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn":

Friday, August 10, 2007

An OTBKB reader sent in this story of her "nightmare at the Fifth Avenue Dog Run."

I had a terrible experience today at the Fifth Avenue dog run. An aggressive truck of a woman with a shepherd mix and an abundance of leisure time stopped me and my dog from entering the park, and by "stopped" I mean physically blocked the entrance, called me a "bitch", and said that my dog and I would enter "over her dead body."

I wish that I were joking about this.

It was like walking into an episode of COPS.

Now I've dealt with my share of crazy dog people before but this lady was a whole new level of lunatic. She calIed me Dorothy and accused me of being from Kansas. KANSAS!

This would not stand. Rather than face a physical confrontation with this stool sample I called the cops on her after she quite elegantly volunteered to "kick my ass." The police were nice enough to stop by and let her know that she was neither the boss of the dog park, nor the President of Armenia.

I had unfortunately previously encountered this beastly woman. I warn you Park Slopers to tread carefully because the wicked witch may come for you and your little dogs next.

A few months back our dogs were in the park together with a few others. This woman...let's just call her Ava Braun was waving a stick in the air to throw. My dog (being a dog) jumped up to get the stick. She was less than a year old at the time and still mastering the command "Down".

Ava yelled out "You had better get your dog off of me. I have a head injury." Now in hindsight this should have been abundantly clear. However at the time I apologized and pulled my dog back. Then at some point during the course of play our two dogs got into a tussle. Nothing too vicious mind you, no blood or anything, just your average carried away dog scuffle. So Ava pretty much lost her shit on me all while warning me that she may indeed lose said shit. "Get your fucking aggressive dog out of here before I lose it!"

I am sure I asked her not to swear at me and assured her that my dog was not aggressive but had just gotten overly excited as her dog had seemingly also done. This just seemed to make Ava angrier and apparently "we would no like Ava when she angry". So the pooch and I decided to abandon the park for the time being and pray for a return to a Democratic regime.

That was the last time we had the misfortune of running into Ava until today's sorry incident. I pray that this will be the last I see of her but I seriously doubt it. Ava has a lot of free time but only so many more summer afternoons left to ruin. The boyfriend will be coming with me to the park from now on just in case she wants to get frisky with me again.

Incidentally my dog came home from the day's events and viciously licked my feet for a while, ferociously attacked an ice cube, and passed out while I was rubbing her belly. Clearly we are both a menace to society.


This just in from OTBKB commenter, Petunia:

Your OTBKB reader's nemesis is "clearly" in the wrong and sounds like a miserable person to encounter w/ dogs or without, but that said, if your dog is in a public dog run and has been allowed to get overexcited to the point of "tussling," don't let yourself off the hook so fast either.

I personally avoid the Fifth Avenue dog run for these very reasons - there's no getting away from an overexcited dog, and a dog coming into a dog run in that state can quickly cross the line from "play" to aggression.

Often in those cases the owner isn't paying attention to the warning signs and then takes a "dogs will be dogs" attitude, which can be a bit infuriating. Just because there's no blood doesn't mean it's ok for the other dogs and owners to have to put up with it.

[The OTBKB reader] said the other dog was out-of-control excited as well, which would make a problem pretty inevitable. Just think about the playground, same basic considerations apply - if one kid pushes another kid in "excitement", then that kid's parent needs to take charge, not make excuses, whether or not anyone was hurt.

It doesn't mean you have a monster dog or anything, it's not really the dogs' fault - I just wish people would exercise their dogs a little before coming into the dog run, to take the edge off so problems like this can be avoided. There's an excellent Dog Whisperer episode about dog park etiquette I wish all dog owners would watch.

So take your pooch for a good long walk before letting her loose in the run, keep a closer eye out for signs of play getting too rough for one dog or the other, and hopefully you won't have to worry again about some crazy dog person getting all crazy on you.

August 10, 2007 | Permalink

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Crime up in the parks

So much for unleashed-dogs-make-the-parks-safer argument. Prospect Park has the highest density of unleashed dogs, yet has the second highest crime rate.

NYPD Says Crime Is On The Rise In City Parks

August 05, 2007

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

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.

NY1 News

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dog Park follow-up

Upper East Side Neighbors Bark Over Planned Dog Run Privileges

BY Annie Karni - Special to the Sun
April 5, 2007

The city's plan to convert a former heliport on the Upper East Side into a 5,000-square-foot dog run this summer has neighborhood dog owners at each other's throats over whose dogs will rule the run.

Under a Community Board 8 resolution passed in February, the 63rd Street heliport is to be turned into a $1 million waterfront dog run complete with a seating area for dog walkers, watering holes for their pets, and lush landscaping.

When it opens this summer, the dog run will mark a vast improvement over the concrete slab at Pavilion Park near 60th Street that neighborhood dog owners have been using as a makeshift run, the chairman of Community Board 8, David Liston, said. He said he had expected the new run to please community dog owners.

Instead of rejoicing, however, neighborhood dog owners are up in arms over which dogs would be allowed to play with each other in the new space.

Owners of small dogs say the current plan, which does not divide the space into separate sections for different-size dogs, creates a safety hazard for their diminutive pets.

"They're maximizing the park for the large dogs and forgetting that small dogs have different needs," a small-dog owner, Zahra Meherali, said.

Ms. Meherali, who works as a manager of a pharmaceutical company and has become an outspoken proponent of creating a small-dog-only zone in the run, says she travels everywhere — including to Fashion Week — with her five-pound Yorkshire terrier, Sigmund Freud.

"I'm freaked out that someone could just walk in with a large dog that's not well-behaved," she said. "We need a place where we can let our little monsters run free in a safe space."

Her fears for Sigmund Freud's well-being multiplied, she said, when a Shih Tzu was killed earlier this month by a larger dog at a Union Square dog run.

Owners of large dogs on the Upper East Side say that because of a dearth of open spaces in their dense neighborhood, they can't afford to lose any of their new park space and that dividing the dog run would significantly cut down on the open space available.

Community members have written letters to their elected officials claiming that a "proposed long and narrow design would lead to dog aggression and safety problems." Leaving the large swath of land open for dogs to roam freely would "maximize the space for the sake of safety for everyone," they wrote.

"There's a school of thought that big dogs and little dogs should socialize," Mr. Liston said. The opposing camps plan to hash out the details of the dog run tonight at a Community Board meeting.

The site in question has not been used as a helicopter landing pad since the 1990s, when a helicopter crash led Mayor Giuliani to close the pad because the idea that it was too close to residential buildings, Mr. Liston said.

The landing pad, which the city's Economic Development Corporation oversees, is being used by the State Department of Transportation as a staging ground for highway reconstruction.

When that work is completed later this year, the Economic Development Corporation has agreed to turn the space over to the Parks Department for conversion to open space for the community, a spokeswoman, Janelle Patterson, said. The agreement was reached last summer under a provision of the New York City Charter that allows community boards to propose plans for development. The dog run is part of a larger revitalization plan that would convert 24,000 square feet of land surrounding the Queensboro Bridge into park space with waterfront access.

Dog runs in the city are created at the request of community boards, a spokesman for the parks department, Warner Johnston, said. "Sometimes there's a need for a small dog run, and sometimes the need isn't there," he said. The city does not require dog runs to allocate space solely for small dogs.

"I'm confident the community will come to an agreement that will be suitable for all the dogs in the area," Council Member Jessica Lappin, who represents the neighborhood, said. She said she did not have a good sense of whether most of the dogs in her district are large or small. Ms. Lappin, who earmarked $325,000 of the city budget for the revitalization of the area surrounding the Queensboro Bridge, said that tonight's meeting should be productive because owners of dogs both large and small will finally have to address each other face to face. "I think it will be possible to come up with a compromise," she said.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dangerous Dog Article

States Crack Down on Dangerous Dogs

By Ian Urbina,
The New York Times

RICHMOND, Va. (July 23) - Bear is a golden retriever-shepherd who attacked a bicyclist. Dee Dee, a pit bull mix, killed a cat. Cody, a Labrador mix, bit the neighbor.

Their mug shots, misdeeds and home addresses went online this month at the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, a new Web page modeled after the state’s sex offender registry. It lets residents find dogs in their county that have attacked a person or an animal, and that a judge has decided could cause injury again.

In many areas, breeds like pit bulls have been banned. Now Virginia has a registry for dogs considered dangerous.

Created after dogs killed a toddler and an 82-year-old woman in separate incidents in the last two years, Virginia’s registry is part of a growing effort by states to deal with dogs deemed dangerous. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia hold owners legally liable if their dogs maim or kill, and in 2006, Ohio became the first state to enact a breed ban, though it was later overturned.

In the last two years, nearly 100 municipalities have taken similar steps — banning pit bulls, Rottweilers, English bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers, or passing regulations that require owners to use muzzles or short leashes in public, according to the American Kennel Club.

Last month, Texas responded to a November 2005 mauling death of a 76-year-old woman by enacting some of the harshest criminal penalties for delinquent dog owners, making it a felony with a possible 10-year prison sentence for anyone whose dog seriously injures a person while off its leash.

But lawmakers taking steps to deal with growing concerns have struggled to ensure public safety without impinging on the privacy and property rights of dog owners. Several of the measures have been overturned in the courts, and many national dog owner and veterinarian associations say the bans are difficult to enforce and ineffective since, they say, if one breed is banned, dog owners seeking aggressive dogs will simply begin fostering fierceness in other breeds.

After the indictment of the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who is accused of running a dog-fighting ring from his property in Virginia, the Humane Society estimated that more than 30 percent of dogs in animal shelters were pit bulls, many of them trained as fighting dogs and later abandoned on the streets. That is up from 2 or 3 percent of the shelter population that were pit bulls 15 years ago, the officials said.

“Of course it’s a serious concern when you have more people wanting and training aggressive dogs, and more of those dogs are being abandoned,” said John Goodwin, an expert on animal fighting with the Humane Society.

Counties in Florida and New York have also created publicly accessible dangerous dog registries like the one in Virginia, and legislators in Hawaii are considering one. Critics of the registries say that by publicizing the home addresses of dangerous dogs, they invite harassment by neighbors and invade the privacy of dog owners. Seventeen states now have a “one bite rule” protecting dog owners from liability for the first attack.

“It seems a little unfair to single out a dog if they haven’t done something in the past,” said Jacqueline Short, 40, who lives in Newport News, Va. She is Bear’s owner and says the bicyclist was her pet’s first biting offense.

Now that Bear has been officially designated a dangerous dog, he must be muzzled and walked on a short leash when he is taken in public. But Ms. Short says the toughest requirement has been the $100,000 liability insurance that she now has to carry, which costs about $1,000 a year.

“Courts need to look at the dog’s history and the severity of the incident,” Ms. Short said, “and if the dogs haven’t shown aggression in the past then that should be taken into account before they are considered dangerous.”

Even with stiffer penalties, animal control departments are often understaffed and under-financed and therefore unable to apply the laws.

“Leash laws don’t work because they’re not enforced,” said Mary Hill, the sister of Lillian Stiles, who was killed in Texas in November 2005 by a pack of dogs and whose death inspired the state’s law.

Ms. Hill, who likes to exercise regularly, said she was often frustrated by dogs left off their leashes that chase and harass runners and walkers.

Each year, roughly 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs and about 800,000, half of them children, seek medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On average, a dozen people die each year from dog attacks, according to the center. In 2003, 32 people died from dog-related incidents.

From 1979 to 1998, more than half of the dog-related fatalities were caused by pit bulls and Rottweilers, according to a study published in 2000 in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Randall Lockwood, a senior vice president of the association and one of the authors of that study, said it was a mistake to make policy decisions based on dog-related fatalities, because they are so rare.

“In the ’70s, Dobermans were the scary dogs of choice, and they were involved in more fatalities,” Mr. Lockwood said. “And later, German shepherds and St. Bernards used to be the ones involved in attacks, which is probably why Stephen King chose to make Cujo a St. Bernard, not a pit bull.” Fatalities are, above all, a reflection of the type of dog that is popular at a given time among people who want to own an aggressive status symbol, he said.

Pit bulls have undoubtedly become that symbol in recent years, and communities that have tried to ban them have run into problems. At least 12 states prohibit local municipalities from passing breed-specific legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Critics say the bans are costly and impractical to enforce since breeds are often difficult to identify and dogs are often of mixed breed.

In March 2006, Ohio’s law banning pit bulls was overturned on the grounds that the state could not prove that pit bulls were inherently more dangerous than other breeds.

In Virginia, 75 to 100 dogs have been declared dangerous by a judge, and many of them have been euthanized or moved out of state.

But victims say the insurance is actually the most important part of Virginia’s new law.

Betty Greene’s mother, Dorothy Sullivan, 82, was killed by a neighbor’s three pit bulls that entered her yard. Ms. Greene said she had heard from a number of victims of dog attacks who, more often than not, ended up having to pay for their hospital bills.

The three pit bulls were euthanized and the owner was sentenced to three years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, Ms. Greene said.

“There is no way to explain the grief,” she said. “It’s even worse when the victim has to pay for the lawyers, the death, the hospital bills.”

Copyright © 2007 The New York Times Company
2007-07-23 07:26:44

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And this is only one dog in the countryside

Has anyone heard of a great new invention? It's called a LEASH! Somehow, the health commissioner and parks commissioner don't believe unleashed dogs cause problems in crowded city parks.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"20 Year Success" lie

Why is the Department of Parks and Recreation trying so hard to deceive residents of New York City? I found yet one more parks department document that shows, without question, that the "successful 20 year program" is a crock. This is an official news release from the Department of Parks and Recreation. This is the link to the page. Lets see if they remove it after they read it here.

* * * * * * * * *

Media Advisories

Thursday, February 25, 1999
No. 32


DATE: Thursday, February 25th, 1999

Today, Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern announced a comprehensive program to increase compliance with the leash law in City Parks. The announcement was made in Prospect Park at the graduation ceremony of 100 Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers and Urban Park Rangers. The goal is to protect people, park lawns, natural areas and other dogs from unleashed dogs.

The initiative will begin as a pilot program in Central and Riverside Parks. A recent Parks Department study revealed that dogs cause an estimated $250,000 damage in those two parks alone, each year. The pilot program entails:

Raising the fines levied for repeat offenses of the leash law and the creation of a database that tracks repeat offenders of the leash law.

Increasing enforcement by the Parks Enforcement Patrol and working with the Police Department to improve compliance.

Installing new signs and distributing brochures detailing which areas are off-limits and the penalties for violating the leash law.

Creating a volunteer corps that will help educate the public about the importance of keeping dogs leashed and work with the Parks Enforcement Patrol to identify and prevent violations.

Prohibiting dogs from natural areas and selected landscaped at all times.

"Most dog owners are very good citizens who obey the leash law, respect their parks, and respect other park users; some dog owners are not," Commissioner Stern said. "These measures are aimed at this small minority who flaunt the leash law, causing serious damage and preventing the use and enjoyment of the parks by other users, especially the young and the elderly. We aim to deter people from violating the leash law, through increased enforcement, higher fines, and a host of outreach approaches — so everyone understands the consequences of letting their dogs off the leash. "

* * * * * * * * *

Wednesday, April 14, 1999
No. 72


DATE: Wednesday, April 14th, 1999

Today, Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern announced the next stage of a comprehensive program to increase compliance with the leash law in City parks. The program protects people, park landscapes, natural areas, wildlife and other dogs.

"We hope to equal the success we have attained in Central and Riverside Parks through the expansion of this initiative," Commissioner Stern said. "Most dog owners are very good citizens who obey the leash law, respect their parks, and respect other park users. These measures are aimed at the small minority who flaunt the leash law, causing serious damage and preventing the use and enjoyment of the parks by other users, especially the young and the elderly. We aim to deter people from violating the leash law, through increased enforcement, higher fines, and a host of outreach approaches — so everyone understands the consequences of letting their dogs off the leash."

Joining Commissioner Stern at the announcement 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, recently wrote Commissioner Stern 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."

Pelham Bay Park (Bronx), Cunningham Park & Juniper Valley Park (Queens),

Inwood Hill Park (Manhattan), Fort Greene Park & Marine Park (Brooklyn), and Clove Lakes Park (Staten Island) will be targeted in the expansion. The leash law initiative began in late February as a pilot program in Central and Riverside Parks.

Its elements include:

  • Increasing enforcement by the Parks Enforcement Patrol and the Police Department;
  • Working with volunteers and dog owners to improve compliance;
  • Prohibiting dogs from natural areas and selected landscaped at all times.

In March, the City’s Environmental Control Board unanimously approved our proposal to increase fines against repeat offenders. The measure raised fines for second-time offenders to $200; third-time offenders to $400; fourth-time offenders to $700; and $1000 for the fifth and each subsequent offense. The fine for first-time offenders remains at $100.

The best indication of the program’s success is the large increase in the compliance rate. Before the program began on March 1, surveys measured the compliance rate at 33%. In the seven weeks since, we have observed over 1,100 dogs and 87% of them have been on leashes.

So far, Parks Enforcement Patrol officers have issued 768 summonses for leash violations in Central and Riverside Parks; in contrast, 1,005 summonses were issued during 1998 in parks citywide.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This is just the beginning

The New York Times ran an article on July 1st titled "Two Wheels, Four Legs, Bared Teeth".

Here is a quote by a dog owner in Central Park:

"When you come into the park you can pretty much take your dog off the leash from the minute you walk into the entrance of the park and, you know, take her where I want to take her."

There is also a slide show that points out just one of the many disastrous aspects of this stupid decision by the commissioners of health and parks.

click here for slide show

Thursday, June 28, 2007

20 year success?

The Department of Parks has been claiming that their offleash privileges has been a 20 year success. This blog has pointed out several flaws in that claim, now here's one more. The following quote is from an article that was published in Time Magazine April 05, 1999 . It mentions a parks department plan to hand out cellphones to volunteers so that they can call the PEP police whenever they saw an unleashed dog in the park.

"I decided that I'm no longer going to remain a victim of my fears. The New York City parks department, which claims dogs do $250,000 worth of damage each year to park lawns in Manhattan, is going to hand out cell phones to volunteers willing to turn in owners of unleashed dogs. Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern told me that he would put me on the list for a phone but that the program hadn't been started yet because he was waiting for a cell-phone company to give him some second-hand ones."

Here's the full article.

Parks department study released

Should I be suprised by the following article?

* * * * * * * * * *
June 27, 2007
Study Criticizes Parks Dept. Management

The quality of the typical New York City park is determined largely by whether it is in a wealthy or poor neighborhood, according to a study to be released by a private nonprofit group today. The report also indicated that despite budget increases in recent years, the Parks Department is not doing enough strategic planning to manage its parkland properly.

“About one of eight parks citywide is not in acceptable condition, and there is a significant correlation between a community district’s share of parks in unacceptable condition and its average income level, ” according to the report by the group, the Citizens Budget Commission.

The study, called “Making the Most of Our Parks, ” is the latest analysis to suggest that city parks have devolved into a multitiered system, with parks operated by nonprofit groups like the Central Park Conservancy and the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation at the top, and parks that are in poor neighborhoods and are run by the Parks Department at the bottom.

“The challenge facing our city in the next century will be to create a park system that can take the successes of parks like Central, Prospect and Bryant and match their managerial prowess with additional public resources to provide a quality park for every neighborhood in New York City, ” the report said.

The Parks Department did not disagree with the group’s main findings yesterday. In a statement, Warner Johnston, the department’s spokesman, said the agency’s performance had been steadily improving.

“As documented in the C. B.C. report, park conditions have improved dramatically across the board, with the greatest improvement in parks in poorer neighborhoods, ” Mr. Johnston said. “We agree that more can be done to develop more sophisticated analytical tools for measuring park use and worker efficiency. ”

The report found that while the Bloomberg administration has increased financing for parks over the past several years, the Parks Department has failed to collect data regarding how many people use its parks and for what activities, at what times particular parks are most crowded, and how much money is required to maintain specific parks.

The information the Parks Department uses to determine which parks need additional resources, some of which comes from periodic park inspections, is “inadequate for effective management, ” the report said.

In contrast, the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, which runs Bryant Park, keeps data on everything from the number of people who sit on the park’s benches at a certain time of day to the ratio of women to men who use the park.

That information is then used to make decisions about what new programs to offer.

Among the report’s recommendations is for the city to allow the Parks Department to keep a larger share of revenue from concessions generated in city parks. Currently, only Central Park, Bryant Park and a few others are entitled to keep some or all of the funds raised from activities like food sales or field rentals.

The report said creating a new fund from concessions revenue could be used to pay for park improvements and to reduce the cycle of borrowing that has been used to pay for large-scale park overhauls instead of daily maintenance.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let's just give them all the parks

The following thread from the "Brooklynian" forums was forwarded to me by a friend. I have to wonder if the dog is actually arthritic or the owner just a lazy, inconsiderate jerk. I think the exchange below speaks for itself. So much for the Parks Enforcement Patrol's ability to control leash law scofflaws. I recommend that anyone concerned about the offleash issue spend a little time reading some of the dog forums, especially the ones in Brooklyn. You will quickly learn that there are some real prizes running around the city parks with their dogs unleashed. (actually, the dogs are usually running around and the owners are standing around drinking lattes, chatting with their friends and completely clueless to their dog's activities)

Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

Author: Slayer
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:29 pm

Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

Is anyone else tired of driving to the dog park in Brooklyn Heights or walking to the always crowded dog parks in Prospect Park? I wrote an email to Assemblymember Jeffries (who is the state assembly member for district 57 which covers prospect heights) over two weeks ago about opening a dialog which would grant us some space for a dog park here in Prospect Heights, and I haven't heard a word from his office.

If anyone else would like to contribute to this cause, you can reach him via email at:

If he doesn't reply to my request to start a communication about this by the middle of July, I will make an appointment to see him in person.

Show your support! Keep our dogs healthy!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:00 pm
Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

Prospect Park is crowded?

The dogs have the run of the entire long meadow for a few hours every morning! There's Dog Beach at the other end of it! Our dogs already have it incredibly good as far as park access...

Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:49 am
Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

Yeah, but that's in Prospect Park.

I'm on Bergen and no way could I walk my 12 year old arthritic dog all the way to the long meadow and back. He sure would enjoy the grass but he'd collapse by the time we got there. Plus, that meadow has gotten out of control. At least it was a few years ago when I still took Cheech there. He ended up getting kind of freaked out by the sheer number of dogs there so we stopped going.

Not everyone can get to the designated dog runs, I'm in a kind of dead zone where they are all too far away. Even though I'm more CH than PH I think a dog run in PH is a great idea. And before we get someone complaining about dog parks being dangerous and wanting to do away with them all. Think about this. A dog is much happier and calmer when it has regular exercise and playtime. Dogs that are never allowed that freedom (but need it) tend to be more agitated and high strung. Some dogs don't need it as much as other dogs. I know every dog I've had was much better behaved when they were able to run around somewhere and get the "crazies" out.

Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:05 pm
Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

After I moved from PH to CH, I also had to figure out how to get my little dogs to the park, it's now a long hike. Have you looked into one of the little covered wheelie carts that attach to the back of your bicycle? During the week, the park is not crowded at all, especially if you go early, around 6-7am. I feel for you and your 12yr old, but the way things are going here in PH, I feel like the PEOPLE are being run out and dogs matter even less than that. Sorry. Good luck with your quest. Sometimes squeeky wheel gets the grease.

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 3:11 pm
Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

Go to Mount Prospect Park - it is doggie friendly 24/7, unofficially of course. But especially in the mornings....

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 5:10 pm
Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

"Go to Mount Prospect Park - it is doggie friendly 24/7, unofficially of course. But especially in the mornings...."

First there were the unofficial morning and evening off leash hours. The off leash contingent won their case in court for the 9am 9pm hours.

Now it's unofficially 24/7 "doggie friendly" off leash hours? Now we are looking at off leash ALL THE TIME? Whatever happened to people-friendly parks?

It may be hard for some to believe, but there are people who are afraid of dogs or just don't want to deal with other people's dogs, and they would like to be able to use the parks too. Why on earth can't dog owners respect that?

Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:00 am
Post subject: Dog Park for Prospect Heights?

oh yes, I know where that is. I didn't know it was called Mt Prospect Park.

Great, thanks! Main Index -> Prospect Heights Forum | Message Boards

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Parks Department "steals" parks from the public


For Immediate Release

For More Information please contact:
Sheelah Feinberg
(212) 838-9410 x302
(917) 626-4276 mobile

New York, NY---Today, the Franchise Concession and Review Committee voted to approve the controversial contract between the City, the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, and 20 private schools.

“From the outset, we said that the City should not endorse a pay to play policy for parks, which this proposal creates. Public access to public parkland has been an underlying principle since the creation of the first public park in New York City. Today’s vote clearly violates that principle,” said Christian DiPalermo, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks.

“We thank Borough President Stringer for voting against this proposal and we thank Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito for speaking out in support of the public. It’s unfortunate that the City Administration and Comptroller Thompson did not see the value of improving this deal for the good of the public,” said DiPalermo.

The Randall’s Island proposal is between the City, 20 private schools, and the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation. In exchange for giving the City $2.85 million dollars a year for the next 20 years to renovate and expand the ball fields, the private school consortium will have exclusive use of some ball fields on Randall’s Island during peak hours, 3-6pm, on weekdays, during the school year.

New Yorkers for Parks believes this vote has set a dangerous precedent of limiting public access to public parks which can affect city parkland from Governor’s Island to local neighborhood parks.

DiPalermo further stated, “We must do everything possible to make sure this type of privatization doesn’t spread throughout our precious park system.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007

NYC Comptroller audits

Since the information is available online, I thought I would list audits of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2001 until now. Next time I'll list state audits of the department, as well as, the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Audit of the Licensing and Monitoring of Summer Day Camps by the New York City Department of Health

Audit Report on the Tracking of Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels by the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program of the New York City Department of Health

Audit Report on the Shelter Conditions and Adoption Efforts of the Center for Animal Care and Control

Audit Report on the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Auxiliary, Inc., of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

Audit Report on the Inventory Controls of The Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Over Non-Controlled Drugs and Medical and Surgical Supplies

Audit Report on the North Central Bronx Hospital Auxiliary, Inc., of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

Audit Report on the Development and Implementation of the West Nile Virus Integrated Data Management System By the Department of Health

Audit Report on the Development and Implementation of The Enhanced Syndromic Surveillance Data Capture System by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Follow-up Audit Report on the Collection Practices and Procedures of the Health and Hospitals Corporation Related Medicaid Managed Care/ Heath Maintenance Organizations

Audit Report on the Development and Implementation of the Electronic Death Registration System By the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Audit Report on the Development and Implementation of the Disease-Tracking System, PRIME, By the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Audit Report on the Enhanced Pest Control Program Of the Department of Health

Audit Report on the Inventory Controls of Kings County Hospital Center, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Over Noncontrolled Drugs and Medical and Surgical Supplies

Audit on the Effectiveness of the Compliant Inspection Program for Food Establishments by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Follow-up Audit Report on the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Wide Area Network

Audit Report on the Inventory Controls of Bellevue Hospital Center Over Noncontrolled Drugs And Medical and Surgical Supplies

Audit of Early Intervention Payments by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Follow-up Audit Report on the Administration of the Enhanced Pest Control Program by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Audit Report on Cash Accountability and Controls at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Vital Records

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Do you know this woman?

She is known by many people only as the Jack Russell Terrier woman and she has the distinction of being the most obnoxious off-leasher in Prospect Park. She has taken the words "inconsiderate" and "self-centered" to another level. It isn't enough for her to use the 108 acres that are designated as off-leash areas between 9PM and 9AM, she needs her dogs unleashed anywhere she wants and at any time. That includes lifting her dogs over the fences that are designed to protect sensitive habitats, so that they can run around in those areas. In some places she just destroys sections of fence allow her dogs access. To add insult to injury, she has threatened physical harm to anyone who asks her to leash her dogs or tries to take her picture. I know of at least half a dozen people who have complained about her, as well as, most of the staff of the park's landscape management crew.

If you know her name and would like to help keep the park safe from unstable individuals like her, please send an e-mail here.

The local precinct would also be interested in speaking with her. You will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Prospect Park and land usage

Check out the following land usage statistics for Prospect Park. I will eventually post the same for all parks with designated off-leash privileges:

Prospect Park Total area: 526.25 acres

Open Spaces in Prospect Park
Rose Garden: ~1 acre
Nelly's Lawn: ~3 acres
Peninsula Meadow: ~ 3 acres
Nethermead Meadow: ~15 acres
Long Meadow: 90 acres
Total open space (field or meadow): 112 acres

Designated Off-leash Areas
Long Meadow: 90 acres
Nethermead Meadow: ~15 acres
Peninsula Meadow: ~ 3 acres
Total open space designated as off-leash: 108 acres

Total terra firma in Prospect Park (open spaces + wooded habitats)
Prospect Lake: 60 acres
Land mass minus Prospect Lake: 526.25 - 60 = 466.25
Total percentage of Prospect Park's terra firma designated as off-leash areas: 26.16%

Total open space (field or meadow): 112 acres
Total "official" off-leash areas: 108 acres
Total percentage of open spaces designated as off-leash areas: 96.4%

These numbers are pointless, however, because the policy is not enforced anywhere in the park.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What is wrong with the parks department?

I just read the following article and could only shake my head as it's another example of the department of parks really poor judgement. The article is followed by some comparison photos of the area where the kids were forced to have their picnic and the activities that normally occur in that spot.

Parks Dept Sends Kids to Contaminated Area of Juniper Valley Park to Picnic
5/17/2007 1:59:00 PM

by Robert F. Holden

This photo was taken at 12noon today at Juniper Valley Park.

Many schools have been having field days at the park.

At about 10am caution tape was wrapped around trees by the Parks Department in the area "designated" for unleashed dogs.

Bus loads of small children started to arrive and blankets were spread throughout the off-leash dog area.

Children started to roll around, play soccer and wrestle on the grass.

Virginia Adams, the supervisor of the children, was asked about the event. She said there were about 300 children from PS 89 in Elmhurst who were part of multilingual classes at the school.

She was asked who designated this space for their picnic. She replied that it was the NYC Parks Department. When told that this was a semi-fenced in dog walking area and therefore not a good place for children to be playing, rolling around in the grass or eating lunch, Mrs. Adams said that she was disgusted and would bring this up to Parks.

It was then that a Mexican band arrived to entertain the children.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Off-leash and Environmental Review

It appears that the City of Ithaca actually understands the implications of unleashed dogs in public.

In the article they write:

"Looking to delineate just what will be studied during an environmental review of three possible off-leash dog sites, a committee of 11 people representing seven organizations weighed in on 12 draft parameters."

Here is an appropriate administrative response to dog owners who demand that the city turn over valuable green space for their pets. In New York City, on the other hand, we blinked and the Department of Parks & Recreation shoved their policy down the throats of an uninformed general public.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Doggy Liberation Limited to Uptown Only


Back on the leash
By Carol Vinzant

A new rule allows dogs to go leashless between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. in parks unequipped with dog runs. Except downtown. Three owners recently got ticketed in a fetch-friendly part of the East River Park they’d been using for years; others reported nearly getting collared in Carl Schurz and Battery Parks. As it turns out, the new rule doesn’t apply below 59th Street. Dog activists are howling, but Parks commish Adrian Benepe calls the East River Park “a series of ball fields” that “was never supposed to be an off-leash area.” He says he might put a dog run in, though.

From New York Magazine 05/07/07:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New city park rules

Here is a link to the parks departments webpage that outlines the new official off-leash policy:

-Dogs in New York City Parks-

I don't have the energy right now to point out the obvious but will get to it shortly. It is interesting to note that in the notice of adoption are the stipulations:

"In addition, the rule has been further amended to authorize the Department’s Commissioner to limit or eliminate off-leash privileges in specific DOPR areas and facilities if the Department determines, based on epidemiological evidence, that there is an increase in preventable off leash dog bites or a risk of zoonotic disease transmission in such areas or facilities."

"(2) Unless specifically prohibited herein or by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH"), properly licensed dogs wearing a license tag and vaccinated against rabies pursuant to the laws of the State of New York and City of New York may be unleashed within a designated park or designated portions of a park between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. under the following conditions: (i) such dogs shall, except for being unleashed, be kept under the control of their owner and shall not at any time harass or injure any park patron and/or, harass, injure, damage, sever, mutilate, or kill any animal, tree, planting, flower, shrub or other vegetation;"

It should also be noted that the official "Notice of Adoption HC-Art161" is one page longer than the one posted on the Department of Parks and Recreation website. I suspect that if the general public read the entire explanation and "reasoning" they would start to question the motives of the DoH and DoP. Let's see how long it takes before the link to the official HC-Art161 is taken down.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Parks Enforcement Patrol effectiveness

In 2003 the New York City Council proposed a resolution to analyze the effectiveness of the Park Enforcement Police (see below). Following that are the results of that proposal from 2003. The resolution was just a knee-jerk reaction by the city council to several high-profile crimes within park borders. Apparently, it was all for show, and nothing more was done about evaluating P.E.P. effectiveness and park crime statistics until last year. The city, under pressure from park advocates, has finally begun to keep park crime statistics.

Res. No. 693

Resolution calling upon the City of New York to analyze the effectiveness of the Park Enforcement Police and to evaluate safety in the parks and open space in the City of New York.

By Council Members Addabbo, Jr., Avella, Brewer, Comrie, DeBlasio, Felder, Fidler, Gennaro, Gerson, Jackson, Liu, Martinez, Monserrate, Nelson, Rivera, Sanders, Seabrook, Sears, Weprin and Quinn; also Council Member Vallone

Whereas, The City of New York has over 28,000 acres of open space and park land, most of which is comprised of neighborhood parks; and

Whereas, The Department of Parks and Recreation has 112 Park Enforcement Police officers to cover this property; and

Whereas, The rape in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on or about January 9, 2003, the rape in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park, Queens on or about December 23, 2002, and the rape in the Lincoln Terrace Park, Brooklyn on or about November 29, 2002 have shown an indication that measures to increase safety are needed; and

Whereas, Although the Police Department of the City of New York tracks crime by precincts and precinct sectors with COMPSTAT, there is no system to gather and evaluate crime statistics that specifically reflect park properties; and

Whereas, Information on crime statistics in parks should be specifically analyzed by the Police COMPSTAT system; and

Whereas, Only Central Park has a dedicated police force, that protects park users and public property; and

Whereas, Neither neighborhood parks nor larger high-profile parks in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx and the rest of Manhattan have a dedicated security/police force; and

Whereas, Parks which are covered by more than one precinct are not properly analyzed in terms of park crimes with the current COMPSTAT system; and

Whereas, For example, 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), there are over 12 parks in the 115 precinct in Queens, 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 precints, and Van Cortland Park is covered by the 47 and 50 precincts; and

Whereas, As COMPSTAT has shown its effectiveness in tracking precinct crime, such a system will also assist the Police and Parks Departments in pinpointing park violence; and

Whereas, Non-supervisory Parks Department Enforcement Patrol has less than 100 officers, and are stretched thinnest outside of Manhattan, with 9 in the Bronx, 12 in Brooklyn, 7 in Queens and 6 in Staten Island; and

Whereas, In addition, better avenues of official communication are needed between the Police Department and Parks Department of the City of New York; and

Whereas, Increased support or reallocation of resources of the Parks Enforcement Police is necessary to enhance its effectiveness in keeping the City’s parks safe; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the City of New York to analyze the effectiveness of the Park Enforcement Police and to evaluate safety in the parks and open space in the City of New York.

THC – LS # 2038

Resolution Status (click to enlarge)

Consider this

The Department of Parks and Recreation claim that they will be able to manage all the unleashed dogs in unenclosed sections of city parks. Take a look at the following law enforcement comparison, then you tell me if they can:

Click to enlarge

And it's just beginning...

I just received this from a Brooklyn resident. Now that the city has swallowed the lunatic, fringe off-leasher's argument hook, line and sinker, we'll be seeing lots more of this behavior.

Date: April 11, 2007 11:54:22 AM EDT
Subject: New incursion by off leash contingent?

Recently while getting off the train at 6 pm, I  noticed a dog owner going into the Brooklyn Museum parking lot, which abuts the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I thought they were just taking a short cut..
Last night while walking my dog around the BBG block (a two mile walk), I noticed a woman letting three dogs romp free on the grassy hilly area between the BBG and museum parking lot. Is this another "successful unofficial policy" aborning?
Nearby Mount Prospect Park isn't "dog friendly" enough for some people I guess..

NYCDOG believes that leashes are bad for dogs and bad for the public. Unleashed dogs are happy dogs that don't bite. Therefore, dogs should never be required to be on leashes. Their logic is right out of a Monty Python script:

"Bedevere: There are ways of *telling* whether she is a witch!
Villagers: Are there? What? Tell us, then!
Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches?
Villagers: You BURN them!!!!
Bedevere: And what do you burn apart from witches?
Other Villager: Wood.
Bedevere: So. Why do witches burn?
Villager: (tentatively) Because they're made of... wood?
Bedevere: Goooood!
Bedevere: So. How do we tell whether she is made of wood?
One Villager: Build a bridge out of 'er!
Bedevere: Aah. But can you not also make bridges out of stone?
Villagers: oh yeah.
Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?
One Villager: No! No, no, it floats!
Bedevere: What also floats in water?
King Arthur: A Duck!
Bedevere: exACTly!
Bedevere: So, *logically*...
Villager: If... she... weighs the same as a duck... she's made of wood.
Bedevere: and therefore...
Villager: A Witch!"

Monday, April 09, 2007

New York Post article

Check out the following article, but before you do, consider this:

The people who use the dog run in the article think that they need really strict rules to bring their dogs into the run (which makes sense) while the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, under the leadership of Commissioner Adrian Benepe, won't have any rules and, even if they did, they wouldn't have anybody to enforce them. Who is going to monitor Prospect Park for the uncontrolled, unlicensed or unvaccinated when there are "700 unleashed dogs" in unenclosed areas of the 526 acre park? Will you have your "key" to the park taken away if you don't follow the rules? What prevents kids that are younger than 12 years old or smaller than 4-foot-11 from entering the parks during off-leash hours?


Wag the Finger
Dog-run rules for dog owners

April 9, 2007 -- This run is for the dogs - but the rules are for the owners. And there's a long list of them at the private Mercer-Houston Dog Run at the edge of SoHo, including restrictions on food, toys and pool hours, as well as a strict ban on "bitches in heat."

When the owner of an unfriendly dog asks for some time to be alone with his pet in the park, there's even a suggested, walking route for the others outside the gates so they can avoid canine eye contact with the troubled pooch.

"Walking around the block, waiting at the Coles Center Benches or waiting across the street at the theater are appropriate activities while 'in waiting mode,' " officials advise in the dog-run association's lengthy bylaws.

* Owners must rinse and sweep the spot where their dog pooped.

* Kids in the dog run must be at least 12 years old and 4-foot-11.

* No picking up your dog - i.e., exposing its belly.

* No choke collars.

* No dogs that "scoot" - i.e. wipe their rumps along the ground.

"This run certainly has its rules, and people are good about following them," said dog walker James Mangan, 26.

Owners said they love their fenced-in patch of cement across from the Angelika Film Center. For just $50 a year, they get a key, an instant community full of artists and musicians, and strict instructions about keeping a fight-free atmosphere - such as refraining from eating, giving treats to pets or bringing in personal toys during peak after-work hours.

"I've never seen a fight - these dogs are really social," said Rob Jessel, 57, who was there with his perky border collie mix, Bronx, last week. And "they hose it down a lot."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Henry Stern

Here's a man who talks out of both sides of his mouth. Which statement do you believe, "the successful unofficial 20 year policy" or this one:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Another Ignored City Health Risk?

The following article is from yesterdays issue of Metro NY -

See no evil?

Parks Dept. denies health study of synthetic turf
by patrick arden / metro new york
April 4, 2007

MANHATTAN. The city’s Parks Dept. has refused a request to study possible health risks from synthetic turf fields currently installed at 73 locations and planned for another 40 athletic fields.

Crain became concerned after the city paid $3.9 million for four acres of turf to replace worn natural athletic fields near 107th Street. The new generation of artificial grass consists of green plastic strips poking out of loose rubber crumbs. A boy had told Crain he regularly found the pellets in his shoes.

That rubber comes from recycled tires, and Crain’s toxicology test showed levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) far above safety standards set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. A concentration of the highly carcinogenic benzo(a)pyrene was found to be more than eight times above acceptable soil levels. If this was found in dirt, Crain said, the state would declare the fields contaminated.

Teaming up with Rutgers chemist Junfeng Zhang, Crain repeated the test with a new sample. The new results backed up the first test, but the pair needed more information to determine whether the PAHs in the rubber pellets could be absorbed into the body.

In an Oct. 26 letter to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Crain explained that a third test would use “advanced laboratory procedures” to find out if the PAHs could be taken in through ingestion or skin contact. He asked for permission to collect “about two handfuls of rubber pellets that are loose on the surface of synthetic turf” from one park in each borough. “It is quite possible that there is no realistic risk,” Crain wrote, “but we need the relevant information.”

Two months later, Benepe denied the request in a letter directing further questions to the department’s lawyer. He claimed any samples taken from a park would be “compromised” by the “surrounding environment.” He also said the state’s soil contamination levels were “not an appropriate point of comparison for conditions in the City as they are based on conditions found in rural areas.”

Crain asked Benepe to reconsider in a letter dated Jan. 15. He said for-profit turf manufacturers would be reluctant to provide pellets, and he explained that all samples taken from Parks would be cleaned “to remove extraneous matter” prior to tests. He also wanted to see what happens to the turf over time. Potential funders of the new test had stipulated permission from the Parks Dept. was necessary. As of yesterday, Crain had yet to receive a response.

“They’re just trying to come up with arguments to keep us from doing it,” Crain said. “You don’t want your kids exposed to things considered dangerous, whether it’s in a rural environment or an urban environment.”

Soon after Crain and Zhang published their results last December, they discovered a test conducted for the Norwegian Building Research Institute with a similar conclusion. This week the Parks Dept. cited two studies to discredit Crain; one was funded by the Tire Recycling Management Association of Alberta, Canada. Crain cited numerous studies that concluded more research is required.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Daily News Article and Letter to Editor

FROM NY Daily News, Sat, 31 March 2007, page 6

Sanit set to curb dogs With new poop-scoop campaign


The Sanitation Department is stepping up to do some- thing about it with a campaign to remind New Yorkers to curb their canines - or pay steep fines.

"We. want to get the Health Department involved and possibly get the mayor out there, too," Sanitation Commis- sioner John Doherty said yesterday.

He discussed the effort at a City Council hearing in which some lawmakers griped they can barely walk in some parks because of the dog poop.

Doherty said that starting next month, a public service announcement - either on TV or in print - will warn New Yorkers that they must clean up after their pets. He noted that fines for not scooping are expected to rise to $250 from $100. The Assembly already has passed a measure that authorizes the city to increase the minimum penalty, and the bill is awaiting action by the state Senate and Gov. Spitzer.

Kathleen Lucadamo

= = = = = = = = Letter to Editor NY Daily News = = = = = = = =

Call me some sort of fool, but isn’t it true that some lawmakers “can barely walk in some parks because of the dog poop” because Mayor Bloomberg directed the Health Department to allow the Parks Department to unleash the dogs in our parks?

Now, the Sanitation Department wants to get the get the Health Department involved and “get the mayor out there, too.”

Hey! The Health, Parks Departments and the mayor have been “involved” in this dog poop problem from the very start.

Responsible New Yorkers have been complaining directly to Bloomberg for far more than a year; he is entirely aware of the problem. A Civic Association even used its own precious funds to sue the city to require the leashing of the dogs in all the parks at all times.

The mayor’s defense? That the city had been violating the law for more than 20 years, using an “Unwritten law” to give itself permission to do so. Naturally, it was unable to produce any such “Unwritten law”, claiming that since it was unwritten they didn’t have to produce it.

So, you delicate lawmakers, raise the fine for not cleaning up after the dog to as high as it takes to convince dog owners it better to clean up than to be cleaned out.

Then, override the mayor, the Health and Parks Department and enact a leash law that requires all dogs to be leashed at all times in all public places, and that the leash extend no greater than 6 feet from the hand of a responsible person who can completely control the dog.

A dog owner can't curb a dog that's not at the end of a leash.

That's a simple law to write, understand and enforce. Let Bloomberg explain why it's not a good idea!

That sure beats stepping in dog poop all through our parks. Let's do it for the kids.