Friday, May 30, 2008

Still More On the Nethermead, Including a Caninicide

But first today's loose dog report, from Prospect Park

7:50 A.M. 1 medium brown dog, Ocean Parkway entrance
8:05 A.M. 1 large white dog on Wellhouse Drive walking away from Peninsula, a repeat offender
8:10 A.M. 1 large brown dog on upper lullwater east, at bench
8:15 A.M. 1 large black dog walking under east drive overpass towards Binen Bridge

All of the owners were white. However, near the Boathouse, we passed a black woman jogging as she pushed a baby stroller (with baby), her leashed dog trotting behind her. Dogs must be unleashed so they can exercise? We don't think so.

To the Nethermead. Back on May 13 we posted this email to Tupper Thomas complaining about unleashed dogs on the Nethermead. The email reported that the dog owners were saying that Tupper had told them it was OK to run their dogs before 9 P.M. To our surprise, as we reported on May 14, Tupper answered that she would check it out. Here now is Tupper’s report:

Thanks for your letter. PEP had enforced the change in rules last year and on occasion over the winter. This spring it was apparent to many of us that we had to start again on the Nethermead in particular. We have spoken to PEP and to the police and we have redone the rule cards again so that FIDO and PEP can give them out. We have been very clear that the rules changed over a year ago. This weekend Josephine Pittari , our Chief of Operations, went out with the police and warned people and then went around again and had individual conversations. FIDO is now informing their membership to be more vigilant. Now that the Memorial Day weekend is over, PEP will also be deployed to that area, first to warn and then to summon.



Tupper Thomas
Prospect Park
95 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY. 11215
Please note new email:

Let’s play “how many things can you find wrong in this picture?”

1. Since the leash law was changed, we have seen no PEP agents in Prospect Park, ever. They probably are there some time, but not where the loose dogs are, and not at all before 9 A.M. Every day we or our correspondents have looked since the leash law was changed—and afternoon dog hours on the Nethermead were officially outlawed—there have been many unleashed dogs on the Nethermead after 5 P.M. And we mean “every day”. We wonder just what Tupper means by “enforced the change in rules”. Aha! Maybe Tupper means that literally: the rules—the City’s leash law—used to ban unleashed dogs completely, and it was only a “courtesy” that the rules weren’t enforced (at certain hours). The change in the rules was that dogs now may be unleashed between 9 P.M. and 9 A.M. in certain areas. So perhaps PEP is somehow “enforcing” this rule; what they are NOT enforcing is the corollary, that dogs may NOT be unleashed at any other time. That’s brilliant, Tupper!

2. As we reported here, last Saturday at 5:45 P.M. there were at least 10 unleashed dogs on the Nethermead and no cops in sight. Maybe “last weekend” means Sunday?

3. Why are these people being warned or being given the benefit of “individual conversations”? Are turnstile jumpers or litterers warned before being given summonses? When the sanitation department began recycling, it issued warnings for the first few months, but now issues summonses. Dog hours have begun at 9 P.M. on the Nethermead for over a year now--and they were always 9 P.M. during daylight savings time. Why aren't these people being given summonses? Is the difference that the offleash scofflaws on the Nethermead are all white? Or that Tupper has been telling them all along that it's OK?

4. Are all the off-leash scofflaws FIDO members? We doubt it. But telling FIDO, which throughout this off-leash travesty has been the problem, not the solution, to police its membership is a little like asking the Mafia to ask its members not to collect so much vigorish.

And this, from a correspondent:

Yesterday late afternoon I met an officer on scooter from the 78th Pct. I was checking out some birds on the path above the Sparrow Bowl when he stopped to say hello. If my memory is working today, I believe his name is Fabio Sanchez. He seems like a really good guy and concerned about the park. We talked for 15 minutes about birds, wildlife, police work (yes, I mentioned that my brother is on the job), offleash dogs and wackos in Prospect Park. He actually said that he has a dog, but would never bring it to run offleash in Prospect Park because it's too dangerous. Told me about an incident a little while back when a dog was killed by another one on the Nethermead Meadow. I told him about Marcia and the guy who accosted [the birder whose account we posted yesterday]. Also, I said [the birder] might stop him in the park to let him know about Mr. Small Brown Lab.

And finally, an anachronism we found on the web, at

Q: What are New York's leash laws?
A: NYC Parks reminds you that they enforce the health code laws for the following reasons:

• Unleashed dogs pose potential danger to people and to other dogs. Many park users, horses, park wildlife and leashed dogs have been attacked and bitten by unleashed dogs.
• Many park visitors are frightened by dogs and may find unleashed dogs to be intimidating or annoying.
• Unleashed dogs are more likely to leave behind waste that is not picked up by their owners; canine waste is a known source of several pernicious zoonotic diseases.
• Unleashed dogs destroy lawns and flower beds: areas used as informal "dog runs" have been severely damaged by the combination of wear and uric acid, a known killer of plant life.

In a city of eight million people and around 120,000 licensed dogs, it can be tough to strike a balance, and we hope as a visitor you can understand these regulations are probably mores stringent than what you are used to at home! But just spend some time on the streets or in the parks with other pet lovers, and you'll see just how dog-friendly NYC really is!

Actually, this was taken verbatim from the DOPR's website, although of course it's not there anymore, so it must not be true. The question is: why?

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