Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Alley Pond Park , 311 and PEP

From a 4/2008 post about Alley Pond Park on E-bird :

A couple of hours at this Queens park this morning turned up at least 3 Yellow Warblers, two House Wrens, a few Yellow-rumpeds and numerous other spring birds mixed in with what seemed like hundreds of dogs.

An email exchange forwarded to us:

Dear___________:

I led an early bird-watching April trip to Queens, including Alley Pond Park. I noted dogs running throughout Alley's woods especially near Great Horned owls, including owlets and their nest.

You, your group ,and community members need to

1) call 311 and lodged complaints

2) take pictures and documentation

3) call PEP (the Park Enforcement Patrol) even though they rarely are effective

4) complain to your local elective representative.

To stay on the sidelines while birders’ rights are disenfranchised and their rights are violated isn't going to help.

Response:

You are right, and while I had experienced lots of dogs there in the past quite often, it never seemed nearly as bad as this past week.

Response to response:

We have the same terrible problem here in Prospect Park (as with all city parks). What happens is with an inept and indifferent PEP looking the other way or unwilling to issue tickets, there is total disregard for the rights of others by abusive and selfish dog owners. Only an all-out effort by other park users to call 311, which by city requirement logs documented records which park administrators (as well as other officials) receive will--or might--get attention. Also, a photographic record, still or video—taken with friendly parties helping you for protective reasons (some dog owners are quite hostile and downright nasty; you don't want to confront them ) will provide evidence. With all of the rights granted by the parks commissioner to dog owners, one would think that they should be satisfied, and let other park users enjoy the park too. They no longer have any excuse—if they ever did—that they need to break the law so that their poor, pampered animals can get exercise. If they aren’t satisfied—and it’s obvious they’re not--PEP should be vigilant in enforcing the rights of other users. Unfortunately, though, it’s the status quo; these brazen and defiant dog owners are doing precisely what they did before they got all these privileges.

The more people complain--all park patrons (not just the birders)--the more obvious it will be to everyone what a farce the off-leash rules are.

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Calling 311 routinely is an approach that we haven't pursued to report unleashed dogs in the woods because we haven't quite figured out how to phrase the complaint, and also because it takes time--sometimes several minutes--to connect to 311 and then file the complaint. But it may be the best way to get a response, if a delayed one.

1 comment:

Michael said...

It is a shame to read about dog owners who abuse the off leash laws and those who do not enforce the law as written. It is against the law, by the way for dogs, either on or off leash to disturb animals that live in the park. It is really upsetting to read something like this when there are many people who do obey the law and leash their dogs immediately at 9:00am and only allow their dogs to run free in designated areas. It is also the responsibility, whether written or un of dog owners to pass the word and do their best to make sure that all dog owners obey and uphold the Off leash laws. Abuse will bring about a rescinding of the law, and I, as a dog owner, along with a multitude of others would eternally regret losing something we fought so hard and long for. As a representitive of dog owners who follow the rules at Astoria Park, I would like to issue an apology to non dog owner users of the parks for the behavior of very selfish people who seem to believe the sun rises and sets in their rear ends. Rest assured that if it wasn't the off leash laws they are abusing, it would be something else.

Please believe that there are many many more people who appreciate and respect their privelege to have their dogs off leash in specific areas between 9pm and 9am and regret having to read of such abuses.