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15 June 2006

Comments

Fred

"In NYC, off-leash hours in city parks (without designated dog runs) are in danger of being taken away thanks to the Juniper Civic Association lawsuit."

No, the problem is actually caused by the selfish people who allow their dogs to tear up the forests, waterways and disrupt players on the baseball fields. If the thousands of unleashed dogs that visit NYC parks were forced to abide by the rules there wouldn't be a lawsuit. It's the people, not the dogs.

Rob

I agree with Fred. It's the self-centered, inconsiderate dog owners who have brought this on themselves. A fraction of the folks who run their dogs in Prospect Park actually obey the rules to the letter. They don't deserve the "courtesy" if they can't give any.

Matthew Parker

Fred and Rob:

It always amazes me how people focus on a small minority of any group and then either conciously or unconciously paint the whole group with the same brush.

I'm not sure which Prospect Park you go to, but I've been doing offleash in Prospect Park for a long time, many times a month. Yes, I have seen a FEW people not leash up their dogs at 9am on the dot. And I have seen a FEW disobey rules. But in a place with hundreds of dogs and their taxpaying owners enjoying a few hours in certain areas of the park each day, the good of the many outweights the FEW who are selfish and inconsiderate.

Do we file lawsuits to ban rollerbladers who speed heedlessly through the park? Three years ago, I was knocked down and bloodied by a rollerblader in Prospect Park who told me to watch where the F**k I was going, before speeding off. Same with bike incidents. There are hundreds of bike riders, some of whom are rude or disobey rules. Do we ban bikes from the parks?

Fred and Rob might not have lived in NYC over 15 years ago, or have forgotten what Prospect Park was like back them: Crime ridden and dangerous. No one in their right mind would go into the park early in the morning or late at night unless they were looking for drugs, prostituion, or to mug someone.

Three of the past Parks Commissioners have credited the offleash movement with helping to bring many parks in the City, including Prospect Park, back to the safe place it is today because offleash advocates were the only ones who used the parks back then and they worked to keep the parks safe and clean, helping to begin the chain reaction that helped lead to Prospect Parks renaissance.

And this is how they get thanked? Now that the parks are usable again, revoke their privleges? Who is selfish and inconsiderate?

Fred and Rob: I don't like baseball, and I'm always skittish about walking by a baseball game in the park because I don't want to get beaned in the head with a line drive. So what do I do when there are baseball games going on? I avoid that side of the park, I don't look to ban baseball.

Bar-b-Qers leave Prospect Park filthy every day. Some BBQers break the laws constantly. Should we ban BBQ in the park because some people don't obey the rules?

Ironically, the people who want offleash ban will be the people crying the loudest if we have to go back 20 years to before offleash when the Health Dept. recorded 40,000 dog bites each year, vs just over 4,000 reported in 2003 (last reported year stats are available). Why do you think that is? There are more dogs in NYC than 20 years ago as well. It's because dogs are being properly socialized and exercised due to the proliferation of offleash opportunity--including dog parks and the 9-9 offleash rules.

There are over 30 dog parks in the City, woefully inadequate for 5 boroughs with over 1.4 million dogs. Offleash in parks must be continued. It has worked for 20 years.

To educate yourselves and to put the benefits of offleash into historical and societal context visit: www.nycoffleash.com

Keep a 20 year old sucessful policy going!

Matthew Parker

Educate yourselves on offleash recreation in NYC: http://www.nycoffleash.com

Christina Wilkinson

Actually, Matthew, 40,000 was the annual number of dog bites reported during the 1960s. Off-leash hours weren't in place in the 1960s, 1970s or early 1980s and this is when the drop in dog bites occurred. At the advent of off-leash hours, in the mid 1980s, the number was already down to about 8,000 dog bites citywide. The 2003 NYC Health Department stats quoted by Bob Marino in NYC DOG's Amicus Curiae Brief state that there are just as many now. It seems "better socialization" has not had a profound impact on decreasing the annual number of dog bites reported within NYC.

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