Sunday, September 28, 2008

Missing Dog, Off-Leash of Course

Yesterday, we found a sopping wet 'Missing Dog' sign taped up to the fence at Prospect Park on Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, an area abutting the neighbourhood of Lefferts Gardens. It speaks volumes about the off leash nonsense in Prospect Park.

We have long suspected that most of the dramas behind the 'Missing Dog' signs originate with a dog running off leash, or a dog that is poorly trained to recall getting off the leash accidentally. This sign is unusual in that it details the specific events that caused the dog to run away. The message reads:
MISSING DOG Friday September 12 2008.

Dog is about 2 years of age.
25-30 lbs with semi-German Shepherd markings.
He is brown and black, very skinny.
He is somewhat skiddish [sic], shy, and very sweet.
He was last seen in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, in the the afternoon ( 5-6PM)
in the park where he was off the leash. Some kids started chasing after him
and he got scared and ran away from the owner's friend. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
This is a tragedy that need not have happened and was wholly preventable. The owners/friend are so full of failure, we don't know where to begin. First off, the biggest failure is that the dog was "in the park where he was off the leash". It's pretty hard for a dog that is on a leash to run away.

Second, the owner's friend erred in letting a dog that was "somewhat skiddish [sic], [and] shy" run off-leash. A skittish dog is presumably unreliable and easily frightened. Why someone who was only barely acquainted with the dog would think it was a good idea to let the animal loose in a crowded urban park is beyond me. We'll give the "friend" the benefit of the doubt and assume he/she was following the usual practice of the owners in letting the dog run off-leash in the park. [Off-leash rules also explicitly require the dog to be under the owner's control. But maybe these rules don't apply since the dog was off-leash illegally; see next paragraph.]

Best of all, the dog was illegally off -leash outside of official off leash hours. "He was last seen in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn in the afternoon [5-6 pm] in the park where he was off the leash. "

The kids are being blamed for chasing the dog and scaring it away, but the person who unclipped the leash bears sole responsibility for what happened. We wouldn't want to be in owner's friend's shoes right now.

* * * *
And see this post at It looks to us like, well, dogs acting like dogs. But this sort of behavior--precisely the same sort as we encountered on Friday and several times previously around the Peninsula--is Exhibit A for the folly of unfenced dog runs in city parks.

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