Monday, May 11, 2009

ABC News; Our Mailbag

From today's Eyewitness News on illegal off-leash in Prospect Park:
There is no official dog run here and critics snap, even though signs are clearly posted, officials do not enforce the law. But the parks department says it is. So far this year in Prospect Park, they have handed out 36 summons and warn undercover officers are out there, starting their shifts at 6 a.m.

Let's see. 36 summonses over about 120 days, or less than 1/3 of a summons per day. Assuming, conservatively, 200 illegally off-leash dogs on the average per day, then the odds of getting a ticket are less than 1/600. Since a ticket costs $100 (if you get one), the "expected value" of a ticket, or what letting a dog off-leash illegally can be expected to cost, is less than 16 cents. And you call that enforcing the law?

This is a moderated blog and so we are free to print or not print comments. That said, we generally print comments, even those opposed to us, if they are not abusive. If you want to be abusive, you can post on the Brownstoner or one of the other open sewers on the web. That said, here is some of the negative feedback we've gotten recently, with the more abusive material deleted:
I guess it is our (the dog lover's fault) that horses need to get off their designated path's and shit huge dumps on walkways where regular people, children and adult's alike walk and I guess it is also our fault that we actually make an effort to clean up after our dogs (I am speaking of the majority of us - admittedly, there are a few exception to the rule!) and try to maintain a clean park. I guess while we are at it, we should perhaps also be guilty as charged after the park looks like a bomb went off after a sunny weekend in the park and humans leaving their BBQ remains and trash of various sorts in and around the fields.
I wish the people that actually have time to lurk in the bushes and snap secret photographs (now talking about pathetic...) would actually have the balls to communicate with us and learn why we have to do what we have to do.
I cannot understand how we can say that we and our dogs are making it impossible for the horses to ride through the park. Are you kidding me? The amount of space that you have available to you and your horses is the entire park! Judging by the dropping I see at different places...
I wish the dog haters would just leave us within our limited spaces and trust our good judgement that we would not let our dogs off leash if they are vicious or attack humans! I am sure the episode of the dog "snatching the child's foot" is highly exaggerated! First and foremost, a parent that is somehow concerned about his child's safety should have parked the stroller at a viewing distance - the beach is for a reason called "DOG BEACH" and the possibility that you will find dog's on or around a DOG BEACH are rather high! If you decide to break out your fancy white's and venture to a DOG BEACH, well, I am sorry to say but that is simply poor judgement on that person's side... But I guess the people that participate in illegal off-leash hours should be blamed for that as well! I am sure that same person that wore white to the dog beach would also wear white going to a horse stable?! I mean, seriously.
We, and I think I can speak on behalf of all the dog lover's in PP, we would wish that the people that invest sooo much energy and time in busting us and making sure we get ticketed and also ensuring that we do not have any area to run our dogs in the future would invest the same energy in providing us with solutions. Get us some light in the off-leash areas so we feel safe going to the park at 9 pm, give us a dedicated area (perhaps even fence it it) where we can run our dogs - but I guess that would be too difficult. It is much easier to lay in bushes in hiding (how sad is that!) and take photograph's that to actually be part of a solution.

dog lover and participant of the "illegal off-leash hours" and I will continue to be unless I am provided with an alternative!!
You've got to be kidding. You've got about 300 acres of Prospect Park, substantially all of the park's open space, plus a lake, plus a dog beach, in which to let your dog loose legally before 9 A.M. and you have "no alternative" but to do it illegally? And you expect some private person to explain to you why you have to comply with the law?

From Thansberry:
"This couple, on Lookout Hill, seem to think if they let their dog go in the woods they don't have to clean up the mess."

This is funny. Poor journalism at it's [sic] best. I happen to be one half of this couple and yes my dog was off it's leash on Lookout Hill.

My dog was digging around in the dirt by a log. This is not something uncommon as he likes to lie in the cool dirt. He didn't go to the bathroom, so there was no mess to pick up. Where in this video do you see him use the bathroom?

How many other posts are created here saying that one thing happened while being unsupported by the video itself? For the record, my girlfriend and I always pick up after our dog.

Also, what is also not shown is my girlfriend asking the camera operator what he was up to... To which he just sat there and kept filming. Creepy at best. Her first reaction was that he was some sort of pervert. I understand that this is just a blog but it may help to identify yourself as most journalist are required to do.
We're not journalists. Even journalists don't have to identify themselves. And why don't you care that the reason dogs aren't allowed off-leash in the woods is that digging and damaging sensitive woodlands is just what dogs do?

From Jeff:
Also saw the NY Post article on your campaign against unleashed dogs in Prospect Park and am wondering if you carry your penchant for vigilantism into other areas of social behaviors, like people who litter or barbecue in the park in undesignated areas.
First, it would help if the Post reporter knew how to use a dictionary. A "vigilante" is someone who imposes summary justice. Calling illegal activity to the attention of the public and the authorities isn't vigilantism; it's called whistleblowing. Second, the difference between an illegally unleashed dog and a barbecue grill is that the latter doesn't have sharp claws or sharp teeth and can't run 30 mph.

From Grivek:
Please do not attempt to recite NYS Penal Law when you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. In the scenario you lay out of a muddy "stranger" coming up and hugging you, you state that would be a misdemeanor assault, we do not have "battery" in the NYS Penal Law. Where in the world do you get your information from. In order for a assault 3 to occur a person must intend a physical injury and cause a physical injury, OR recklessly cause a physical injury by means of a dangerous instrument. A sullied white shirt does not rise to the level of "physical injury" you nmrod!! At best you would have a harassment, a NON CRIMINAL petty offense violation, which would entail the complainant to sign the court information and thereby making the complainant liable for any false arrest law suits resulting from such an action.
Grivek is correct: having not looked at the penal law in decades, we confused the criminal law concept of assault with the civil tort of battery, which if memory serves is any unwanted touching. So we picked a poor example. Would you agree, Grivek, that it would be assault if a dog owner bit you? Then it should be assault if the owner's illegaly unleashed dog bit you.

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