Friday, October 24, 2008

Brownstoner Baloney; It's Your Own Fault If You Get Bit

From a fluff piece about Tupper Thomas, ranked No.4 in the Brownstoner’s 50 most influential people in Brooklyn:

To bring in people [to Prospect Park], she arranged for off-leash hours, knowing dog owners would be the park's most loyal users, and soon joggers, cyclists, and bar-b-quers followed.

So because dog owners were officially given what amounts to exclusive use of all the park’s open areas before 9 each morning, joggers and bicyclists felt safe being in the rest of the park during this time, even though they stayed as far away as they could from the unleashed dogs lest they be bitten or tripped; and also felt safe being in the park when the dog owners weren’t there. And today Prospect Park, because of its dog hours, remains a low-crime island in a city with a skyrocketing crime rate. Did we tell you about the 50% off sale we’re running on a local bridge?

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From the Brooklynian online forum:

Re: The Brooklyn Animal Foster Network, the ones that set up on Saturdays in front of John Jay HS @7th Ave at 5th St.

As I walked by last Monday (Columbus Day), their pit bull lunged at me and bit my thigh. Their first response was suggesting it was my fault because I had a bag of groceries in my arm. They also said that was their sweetest dog. They delayed getting the person in charge (who was across the street), hoping I would just walk away. After I persisted they finally brought over the boss. She offered NO apology whatsoever, but tried to get me to sign a medical waiver! WTF??

Unfortunately, that’s the same attitude we encounter regularly from dog owners who let their dogs loose. Which is one reason why we say dog owners have de facto exclusive use of dog areas, and anywhere near them, during dog hours.

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Wednesday, around 3:30 P.M., three unleashed dogs, one on the Nethermead, one on the path by the Lullwater, and one behind the pools. All of the owners were white.

1 comment:

Datnioides said...

Of course, there were no joggers, cyclists, or barbequers in Prospect Park before off leash dogs were sanctified by Tupper Thomas. There were plenty of Jamaican Dread and Trini footballers on the ground, but the upper-crust dog owners were frightened away by them. How on earth has Tupper Thomas been allowed to rule Prospect Park since 1980? How about a new perspective, one that puts dogs in their proper place - small fenced dog runs - and opens up the early morning park lawns for people who would like to exercise and lose weight? I used to walk through the Long Meadow and Nethermead in the early morning and evening on the way to and from easy, pleasant exercise, now ruined by the presence of loose dogs.

It's absolutely time for a change. Mayors aren't allowed to rule unchallenged for that long! Even presidents have to step down after 8 years! I visualize a black leader for Prospect Park. Why can't the DOPR, with its notorious history of discriminatory hiring and promotion practices, make amends by appointing someone in charge of Prospect Park who is responsive to all its users, not just a chosen few? If the position was put to a vote, Tupper would have been gone a long time ago.

Lately I have been randomly polling various black people in my Prospect Heights neighbourhood where I have lived for 33 years. Many of them are afraid to use the park because of the off leash dogs. All I have to do is mention the dogs and I get the eye-roll of agreement. Unlike the noisy, screeching, well-financed "dog lovers", they are not a bloc constituency, and they have no fluffy cute dogs to use for emotional appeal. They are invisible, poor, elderly, overweight, unimportant.

The pit bull rescuer reacted to the dog bite in much the same way that Tupper Thomas reacted when I told her in a phone conversation that I had seen several owners loose packs of five or six dogs each to play in the Peninsula early one morning in 1998, when DOPR was in the middle of cracking down on the "successful 20 Year Policy": Denial. Ignore it and the maybe complainant will go away. Failing that, make the person doubt the evidence of her own eyes and experience by saying you were there and didn't see it happen, so of course it never happened. The True Believer "Dog Lover" simply does not want to hear anything negative about dogs, and if you dare to contradict them, then you must be a liar.