Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Off-Leash Lies; The Dogs of Central Park

We’ve reported that FIDO’s website and the DOPR brochure advertising dog hours talk about a “successful 20-year off-leash policy” and attribute the decline in New York’s crime rate to the presence of unleashed dogs in the city’s park. We’ve questioned both of these notions and here is more proof of their falsity. A 2006 article from the New York Times, reporting the arrest of an off-leash scofflaw in Manhattan’s St. Nicholas Park, noted that while “informal Parks Department policy allows dogs to go without leashes in city parks between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.”, “police officers do not necessarily look the other way during those hours.” The article also says, “As crime has dropped, the number of people who let their dogs frolic in the park has grown,” implying that it was the drop in crime that brought dog owners to the park, not the other way around. Read the whole thing here.

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In Central Park this morning around 7:40, 1 large dog was observed entering the Ramble at 75th St. About 8:10, two small dogs were observed near Azalea Pond in the Ramble. Prominently posted signs at the Ramble’s entrance and inside the Ramble state that dogs must be leashed at all times there. And at 9:15 A.M., 1 large dog was observed on the path by the east shore of the lake, adjacent the Ramble. All of the owners were white.

So, you say, the population around Central Park is largely white (ignoring the horseshoe on the north end); why should the dog walker population be any different? Largely white is different from almost exclusively white, which is what we see among those who let their dogs loose and particularly those who do so illegally; and this is just part of the same pattern we see in Prospect Park, whose surrounding population is much less white.

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