Friday, July 4, 2008

Runners Beware!; Our Comment Policy

On the perimeter roads at 5:30-6 A.M. today we passed 36 pedestrians, 27 of them black. Three of the white pedestrians were walking dogs. One, a young woman, had her two dogs unleashed, running towards us in the runner's lane on the east drive just north of Center Drive. We said, in a polite tone, "excuse me, but dogs aren't allowed off-leash here. They get in the runners' way." The shouted reply, judging by the tone of voice, was neither polite nor compliant, unfortunately just what all of us have come to expect from owners who are told that their dogs should be leashed. As early newspaper reports suggested and as we've noted, unleashed dogs during dog hours seem to be a problem for runners and bicyclists in Central Park, where it seems they're allowed on the roadways. The problem's coming to Prospect.

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Comments on this blog are moderated, which means they don't get published unless the moderator allows them. While we reserve the right to have the last word, our policy is to encourage full and frank--that's diplomatic speak for "I disagree with everything you say"--discussion of the issues raised here. But that discussion, pro or con, must be on-topic, intelligent and polite. Within those guidelines, we have accepted and will continue to accept comments disagreeing with what we say, including comments from those who approve of the off-leash policy. Similarly, we have rejected, and will continue to reject, comments consisting of insults and personal attacks, no matter which side they come from.

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From (we’re giving you the URL in case the DOPR deletes it and you need to find an archived copy of the website):

(Friday, July 8, 1988)


In an effort to cut down on the danger from dogs running loose through Central Park, Parks is stepping up enforcement of the law against unleashed dogs. Since May 13, when the new policy went into effect, the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) has reassigned officers to pursue and ticket the owners of unleashed dogs in the park. As a result, between May 13 and July 2, PEPs issued 270 unleashed dog summonses as well as 12 summonses for unlicensed dogs and 5 for animal nuisances. An unleashed dog summons carries a $50 fine.

“Danger from dogs running loose”. Why are they less dangerous now? And “successful 20-year policy”?


david said...

why does it matter of 27 of the people you saw were black?

Do unleashed dogs have a preference for them?

credo-ny said...

We've explained this in several prior posts. In brief, first, we're documenting that most, or at least a large percentage, of park users are black while owners who let their dogs off-leash, particularly those who do so illegally, are almost exclusively white. We believe that this disparity is no coincidence.

credo-ny said...

To give you a little more—and again see our prior posts for a longer discussion—even though the off-leash areas are not officially reserved for off-leash dogs and their owners during dog hours, they are so reserved as a practical matter. For example, some time ago (before the regulations were issued) when we complained to a Prospect Park official about being menaced by an off-leash dog just outside the peninsula, the response was “during courtesy ours, dogs may run off-leash.” You can see that as a practical matter, if you aren’t an off-leash dog owner and you go into these areas, you’re on your own. So at best, the appearance—whatever the reality—is that the DOPR has reserved immense chunks of parkland, 365 days a year, until 9 A.M. just for a bunch of white people to socialize. That should make you uncomfortable. When you add to that

(1) the fact that, to make a broad generalization, black people seem to be uncomfortable around dogs—we’ve posted a video documenting this,

(2) various statements made by off-leash enthusiasts and DOPR officials about off-leash dogs supposedly reducing crime, and

(3) the fact that no other group has park space reserved for it to any remotely comparable extent,

it begins to look like one of the ideas of off-leash is to increase the number of white people in the parks and reduce the number of black people. That’s insidious.