Can it be true? By now, you’ve heard that New York City is about to do an “end run” around off-leash opponents and will “enshrine in law a two-decade-old unofficial policy that has allowed Lassie, Rusty and Sparky to roam free in city parks” for very limited hours [See “Dogs Win! Off-Leash Hours Survive”].
Not necessarily so, says Prospect Park Advocate, a blog that seems to be spearheading the anti-anti-leash-law movement: he says the author of that article, Dana Rubinstein, “is either another example of a journalist making up facts to suit a hidden agenda or she is just an outright liar.”
He quotes a letter from Bob Holden (president of a Queens civic association that sued to end the unofficial “policy” of looking the other way during off-leash hours) saying that many people “don’t believe the city can or even will (make off-leash legal) … Parks attorney, Paula Van Meter, when backed in the corner by the judge, blurted out at the city will ATTEMPT to clarify the commissioner’s authority to allow dogs off-leash in parks. The judge was grilling her on how can a commissioner give himself the authority to tell people they can violate a law.”
Not familiar with off-leash? Go to Prospect Park in the early morning hours and witness the teeming mass of dogmanity. Whether you think it’s dangerous or not… You may never walk barefoot on the lawn again.
Rockhound backs up ParkAdvocate on this Park Slope thread: “Dana Rubenstein was not telling the truth when she proclaimed off leash hours to be safe…. Hullo, I don’t know how ‘benign’ it is to allow your dogs to menace your fellow park goers and leave poo all over the place. I have been cornered by two huge growling hair-bristled off leash mutts and the owner didn’t give a rip.”
“It was terrifying, just like being mugged — but wouldn’t have qualified as an “attack” because no blood was drawn (true of many muggings as well!). Off leash dogs can be frightening, and intimidating other park visitors is not a “benign activity”.
Whatever the truth is… these off-leash advocates seem to have their act together. Go read what they have to say, and if you agree with them Here’s the petition.
Park Advocate has his say on the Park Slope Message Board
Time Out New York: Off-Leash Poll