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.