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.