Friday, March 6, 2009

SI Loose Dogs; Geese and Dogs; For Show Cont.

The Juniper Park Civic Association received the following email (sender's name deleted):
I live in Rosebank, Staten Island and I run/walk 3-4 times per week in a park called Arthur Von Briesen Park that has the off-leash law. Unfortunately, the dogs and their owners have taken over the park to the point that other users avoid the one path in the park becuase of the dogs. Yesterday, I was charged upon by a pit bull whose owner did not care that I wanted the dog to stop. My attempts at discussion about controlling the dogs was met with a verbal barrage from all the owners. Today, I was threatened and harrasssed by the dog owners and told that they would folow me to me home. I called the police who treated me as if I did something wrong by being in the park before 9 am. Calls, etc to 311, Parks Dept, PEP , all ignored. I am afriad that I or someone else in the park will be attacked/assaulted. I am reaching out for help and guidance- I think a sequestered dog run would be best. How to proceed? Thanks
Here is JPCA's response:
The Juniper Park Civic Association received your e-mail about the unleashed dogs in Arthur Von Briesen Park in Staten Island. You asked for some input from the JPCA to find a solution to the problem.

First, find out the name of your park department Park Manager for Arthur Von Briesen Park. You can get that information from CB1 which is your community board there in Staten Island. Make the Park Manager aware of the problem then contact your local police, which for your area would be the 120th Pct. Work with them for enforcement of a leash rule in the park. Keep in mind also your elected officials. You can seek them out and let them help you find a solution.

This is what we did in Juniper Valley Park and, also, you can check online ( to see the dog rules for Juniper Park.

Dog owners have an informal area where their unleashed dogs are allowed in the mornings from 6am to 9am, that's it. After 9am dogs are to be leashed at all times and since the park closes at 9pm, no one, including dog owners, are allowed in the park.

It's not an ideal situation but it does put some structure and accountability on a problem where, sadly, most people think dogs are born to run free anywhere, any time. You might consider this enforcement approach in order to first get a handle on the unleashed dogs that, to any normal thinking person, presents a volatile scenario.

Forget a dog run. We have seen from parks that have dog runs that the dog owners continue to act just as emboldened about unleashing their dogs, dog run or not, and, additionally, you invite the problem of a filthy dog area because, believe it or not, not all dog owners are cooperative about keeping a dog run clean!

I hope our response is helpful to you and that you go forward with your own sense of power to solve a dangerous problem. Persistence for enforcement is the name of the game.
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From our correspondent who reported the show of police horses:
I have decided that every time I see an off-leash dog I will call 311 and report it. Anybody can do that.

By all means, but consider the following, because we've tried this before:

1. The 311 operator will never have heard of Prospect Park, and will ask for a street address or cross streets. Say something like "95 Prospect Park West", or even make something up. For reasons we'll discuss below, it makes no difference what address you give. Don't get frustrated no matter how stupid the operator is.

2. At the conclusion of the call, the operator will give you a complaint number or offer to email it to you. Please get that number and send it to us. We'd like to track it (you can yourself on the 311 website), although what will happen is pre-ordained.

3. What will happen next is--nothing. It's not an emergency, so the call will call to DOPR, which will--or far more likely won't--dispatch a PEP officer. And not now or today.

4. The 311 system, an invention of Mayor Bloomberg, is in most respects a tremendous success. It is remarkable that the City managed without it. One of its goals is to make city agencies more accountable for responding to the calls of citizens. It does this by tracking call patterns: if there is a flurry of calls on a particular topic, someone at the responsible agency is notified and is supposed to rectify the problem triggering the calls. It can work. One of us, after making repeated calls to 311 about a blocked driveway, got a call back from a sergeant at the local precinct asking how he could help. The problem with calls about unleashed dogs in the parks is that they get routed not to the NYPD but to the DOPR. And, as we can now document, the DOPR has shown remarkable lack of interest in doing anything about these calls.

5. Go to this document, which we obtained under the Freedom of Information Law. You will see that the DOPR ignored the vast majority of complaints about unleashed dogs claiming "lack of resources". When we followed up complaints we made this summer, the response was identical.

6. Finally, make sure you have a good battery and an excellent cellphone plan. You will need them.

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People are complaining about goose poop on Staten Island. But keep reading, because those interviewed--and, it seems, the reporter--put it in the same category as dog poop. The comparison is wrong and dangerous. Goose poop is unsightly but nobody that we now have has ever said it's dangerous. Read this for bad things that dog poop can do to you.

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