Friday, November 21, 2008

Dog Biscayne

A dog owner in Biscayne, Florida writes in today’s Biscayne Times about oblivious (and worse) dog owners who let their dogs loose:

It seems wherever I go, whether with my own dogs or with clients and theirs, I am accosted by loose dogs running freely at me. Often this happens when I’m working with an owner and dog whose problem is dog-to-dog relations.

A few years ago I brought my new rescue dog (Jay-J) to Pine Tree Park in Miami Beach, along with a friend’s newly fostered Rottweiler named Sophie. She’d been rescued from a junkyard environment where it seemed her job was to live outside and guard the “junk.” We had no idea what type of socialization Sophie had experienced, or how she would react if another dog approached her. More than 12 unleashed dogs came at us during our walk, making Sophie and her owner extremely nervous. We had tried to stay away from everyone by remaining on the outskirts of the park, but dogs were racing more than 50 yards to check us out.

The owners were completely unhelpful when we asked them to call off their dogs, or told them we were working with these dogs to help them. They felt their dogs were entitled to roam wherever they wanted. The funny thing is that Pine Tree happens to have a dedicated, fenced-in dog park section, but only one or two owners opted to use it. The rest were running wild. I began telling owners that the dogs we were with had parvo disease ( a lie), just to try and get some distance, but they didn’t care.

Unfortunately, even as careful as I am, I run into this situation repeatedly. Pine Tree Park is just one example. And as much as I love dogs, I really don’t want strangers’ dogs mingling with my dogs or my clients’ dogs when I’m not inviting them to do so. I don’t know them or how they are cared for. It’s one thing to be in an off-leash dog area and expect dogs to interact. It is another to put dogs in a dangerous position or to frighten people who don’t own dogs because your pet is loose and approaching them. Many people are afraid of dogs, including small, fluffy, and toothless pets that couldn’t hurt a fly.

Even if you are in an area that allows dogs to be off-leash, should your dog be? Some dog owners appear to be obsessed with the notion that their pets are entitled to roam freely without being leashed. It seems egotistical, as if the dog is actually minding them and choosing not to leave them -- something like people who live together but aren’t married.

Simply put, off-leash obedience can never be guaranteed.

There is always more inherent danger when dogs are off-leash than when they’re leashed. Even the most well-trained dog could be distracted or simply not listen to you one day. I once had a client with an adopted Chihuahua tell me he wanted to train his dog to be off-leash like the German shepherd who lived across the street. He resided on a busy highway, and I explained to him that off-leash obedience was never completely reliable. Dogs are not robots and they do not usually understand danger. The shepherd’s owner was taking a giant risk with his dog on such a busy street. Sadly, a year later my client informed me the shepherd had been hit by a car and died.

I do not know any other dog trainers who take their dogs off-leash near busy streets -- unless they have something to prove. Our dogs are just too important to us to take such a risk.

Read the rest here.

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Loose dogs in Prospect Park:

Today at 9:35 A.M. in the Nethermead, a bulldog with a 30-ish male owner, and at 9:40 2 rat terriers with a thin woman owner. A DOPR worker handed her a copy of the off-leash rules, and she handed them back. At 10:45, a German shepherd with a 35-year-old male owner in the Midwood, who was hostile when a DOPR worker asked him to leash his dog.

Yesterday, around 7:40 A.M., a large black dog on the south side of the lake with a male owner. And on Monday from about 7 A.M. to 8 A.M., the area around the Peninsula dog run had too many loose dogs to count.

Without exception, all of the owners were white.


Christina said...

This is absolutely correct. They want dog runs, then after they're built, they run the dogs off the leash everywhere else in the park anyway. It's very frustrating.

jp22jr said...

We as dog owners would ourselves 'police' those people with their dogs off-leash in the park. We would also agree to those people being summonsed. Their are a percentage of people in every group that just do not comply for the sake of not compling. I'm sure not every homeowner on your block or in your neighborhood keeps their property or home the way you do or the way you would like to see it. But, please don't paint dog owners with a broad brush. Rest assured 99% of dog owners love our park. We have a group set up to maintain the area we presently utilize. We set up 'clean your park' dates, we schedule the mayors Alliance to come and do micro-chipping and adoption events. We feel we should be able to use OUR park just like people with children, people who like to play TENNIS, SOFTBALL, BASEBALL, HOCKEY, HANDBALL, FOOTBALL, SOCCER, etc. If you notice, not all those people pick up their garbage when they leave either. There is some in every bunch. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and you family!

Christina said...

"We as dog owners would ourselves 'police' those people with their dogs off-leash in the park."

Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, from FIDO and NYC DOG before off leash became official policy. Did this happen? No.

Yes, bad apples in a bunch ruin it for everyone, but what I have seen in my local parks and on this site unfortunately seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

People pay for permits to use fields, which goes toward the maintenance of those fields. And they are exercising to keep themselves healthy, a necessity.

You decided to own a dog in a crowded city. It's not the taxpayer's responsibility to provide a place for your dog to run around - it's yours. When I had a dog, I understood that only a small dog would get adequate exercise inside my house and in my small yard.

Just about every dog run in Queens is decrepit. They all had people advocating for them and promising to maintain them and now those same people refuse to use them and want more space somewhere else. Hell, even the one by Gracie Mansion stinks to high heaven and that one has volunteers there regularly. I don't see the point of turning scarce open space into something that in a few years won't be usable by anyone.

jp899722 said...

'You decided to own a dog in a crowded city' c'mon Christina please! Do you own a CAR in this 'crowded' city? WHY? It’s already hard to find places to park. Is it a big one or small one? Oh, wait, maybe its none of my BUSINESS what size or type car you own! Look, I as well as all the other dog owners are Middle Village taxpayer...all we ask is to be able to use PUBLIC places just like everyone else without someone like you complaining. I watch people playing baseball, softball and football or as you put it, EXERCISING and throwing their trash on the ground when they are only 5 feet from the can. I've seen parents watching their children practice football early in the morning and drinking beers and leaving a mess, I've had fights in the park with kids knocking over garbage cans and knocking down the fence over near the area where we EXERCISE our dogs. I don't hear or see anyone complaining about that! You people are afraid to say anthing to them, you just pick on the dog owners thinking they won't fight back. WRONG! What about the alcohol and drugs being consumed at the hockey rink? I hear no complaints or plans about that. Oh, thats because you probably didn't know about actually have to be in the park to see it. So don't tell me about YOUR park. JPCA is out of touch with the goings on at Juniper Park. I'm willing to bet I'm in YOUR park a hell of a lot more than you are. I'm there EVERY week night and morning and night on the weekends. My wife is there morning and night 7 days a week! How about you? See, this is the problem, JPCA thinks they know what’s right for EVERYONE! News don't. Politicians usually tell you what you want to hear and then once elected they do what THEY feel is right not the will of the people. That’s where JPCA is now. They take up causes THEY feel are they ask the majority or just the people on THEIR Board? They make statements like "Middle Village will stay just the way I like it, as long as I'm alive" Well that’s a great sentiment, but who says the way you like it is the way everyone likes it...or do you care if that’s what they like? So, Please...just admit their are a couple of you that just DO NOT like dogs! Even yourself...a small dog for a small house? If a big dog was going to be killed but you have a small yard...what do you do allow the dog to be killed or take him home and walk him outside the house? They like to get out and see the sites too... you know? So Please, JPCA will never be satisfied... Well we will not be satisfied either, until the dog park is a reality and we will not go away until then! P.S. Little Bay dog park is very nice and soon to get a $500,000 upgrade...sounds like they hate dog owners in bayside too, huh?

Christina said...

When off-leashers can’t answer valid points, they instead resort to childish arguments and yell – in this case type in caps - while trying to define who you are instead of answering the questions posed to them.

To answer your first question, no I don’t own a car because the parking situation in my neighborhood is horrendous plus there is alternate sides. I use public transportation mainly (I live near the subway) or walk unless someone picks me up, which isn’t often.

If I saw a dog about to be killed (outside?) I would not bring him home, I would bring him to a no-kill shelter or rescue group because I do not have the capability to handle a dog at this point in time.

You are using a public space just by entering the park whether you run your dog off the leash or not. If Juniper is as crowded as you say, then the Parks Department has to decide which amenities are in greatest demand and allocate resources toward it. From what I have read and been told, it is up to the dog groups to raise the money to build a dog run. If you don’t have this money, the rest of what you say about the issue is moot. In this era of economic strain, I don't see you getting the kind of money from an elected official that was allocated for a dog run on the fringe of Bayside when times were good. Sorry.

We’re going to have enough trouble maintaining what we have, forget about building new amenities.
Furthermore, there is a faction of off-leashers that refuse to use dog runs because they have odors, are frequently dirty and crowded.
Have you worked this out with them before demanding a run in your local park? Because they will no longer legally be allowed to exercise their dogs as they wish and will be subject to fines.

And as for the argument that those against a dog run or off-leash must hate dogs, many people who take this position own or have owned dogs, or walk their dogs on leash (and have had their dogs attacked). But the knee-jerk reaction whenever something controversial is discussed is to label the other side a bunch of haters.

Pointing toward others’ bad behavior to justify your position is not going to get you anywhere. Neither is trying to show how much of a better park user you think you are than everyone else. As for saying something to people doing bad things in parks, what is the point? I have asked off-leashers, bicyclists, ballplayers, skateboarders, etc. follow the rules and had nasty retorts flown back at me. People who know they are doing something wrong hate to be called on it. A better strategy is to report them to the people who are in charge of the park.

Here’s an idea: if you want your dog to get exercise, why not jog with him on a leash? I see people do this at Fort Tryon all the time. Both of you will get healthy that way. If that is not feasible, then drive him over to Little Bay Park (since you indicated that you have a car) but definitely not to any other run in Queens. Why are they all in such poor condition, anyway, with so many people around who claim they will take care of them?

jp899722 said...

I did answer your just refuse to accept them as answers. You categorize them as other things, such as 'childish arguments' or you say I'm pointing at other bad behavior happening in the park. You miss my point. All I hear from people like you is 'dog owners' I never hear at a meeting about the things I mentioned. I brought them up for that reason alone. But funny you answered in the manner you did. I was told by a number of people that you and others like you, refuse to hear the argument for what it is. Heaven forbid you should be wrong or allow something to go forward that you’re not totally in agreement with. I was also told you would take everything I say either out of context or twist it for your own purpose, which you did true to form. Normally in conversation, if someone makes a point or raises a question the other person responds to it like I did. But, if you would rather I ignore what you have to say (as you do) and just ramble on about my position I could do that as well. However, that’s why nothing gets accompliced...which perhaps is your goal. You would rather just go back and forth at each other than politely try to come to compromise or solution. Oh, that’s right those words do not exist for you’s your way or not at all. Maybe, just maybe that’s the real problem here...if you think it’s a bad idea...then it must be...because your never wrong. And Christina if you think I sound a little angry... I am, because I am tired of being told what can and cannot happen in my neighborhood by a certain few that think they are going to make all the decisions for everyone that lives there. I'm finished talking with you...its a big waste of my time...I thought we could have a civil and open discussion about this but you refuse to hear anything other than what you feel is right. You're like talking to today’s youth...when you tell them something they make up hundreds of reasons why you’re wrong and why they should do things their way. Merry Christmas.
P.S. I was not yelling...I merely capitalized to highlight my points, since you are unable to do things of that nature here...but as usual, you see it your way...I'm yelling....whatever. The people I spoke with had you pegged PERFECTLY.
Go ahead and say what you want...put your spin on it whatever it is you do to justify your position, its makes no difference to me. We will continue our efforts for a dog park regardless....thanks for your time

Christina said...

No member of any dog organization has ever contacted me or attempted to start a dialogue with me, so I am not sure where you are getting your information about me from. As for the other problems in your park and other parks throughout the district, they are addressed with the police, community board or park officials and yes, they are brought up at community meetings from time to time. Not sure which ones you are going to, but at the ones I have attended, I don't hear much complaining about these things from others.

Just because you want something or feel you deserve something doesn't mean someone should give it to you. Since you think you know all about me but won't identify yourself and since you can't answer my valid questions about dog owners policing each other, how this will be funded while we are in a deep deficit or the condition of other dog runs, but feel the need to rant about trash in the park, a civic group you don't like and what you feel taxpayers owe you, I see no reason to continue this discussion either.

credo-ny said...

Since the parties seems to have exhausted themselves and the topic, the moderator will exercise his authority and end this thread.