Four-year-old Lee Fama sat in his stroller on a Brooklyn sidewalk when a vicious pit bull suddenly pounced and began ripping his face apart. . . .According to the DOPR pamphlet, "Dogs in Parks" (see our sidebar), the city's off-leash policy has "over the past twenty years . . . reduced the number of dog bites". But that was the unofficial policy. Now that off-leash is the law, the number of dog bites has "soared". So why does it not follow that the off-leash policy is the cause of that too? And of course 3,537 is only the number of bites that were reported.
As Monastersky screamed in terror, the dog owner repeatedly bashed the bloodthirsty beast over the head. EMTs had to give the hysterical mother oxygen as they tended to her son's mangled nose.
Lee was one of 3,537 people bitten by dogs in New York City during the last fiscal year -- including a 90-year-old Staten Island man who died after a pit-bull attack.
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Prior to the insanity called "Offleash Hours" the DOPR used to have the following posted on its website (the item has been removed, but no doubt you can find it in archives of websites):
New York City Dog Runs
In New York City, dog owners often complain that their dogs cannot possibly get proper exercise because of the mandatory leash law. Parks & Recreation has a solution to the problem: DOG RUNS. Dog runs are enclosed places where well-behaved and friendly dogs can roam and play off-leash. Dog runs give urban dwellers and their pets a country-like place to frolic. For dogs to run however, owners must clean up after their pooches and pay close attention to their actions. Owners are encouraged to inquire about any dogs already in the run which are unfamiliar to them, prior to entering the run, to avoid unnecessary dog fights. Doggies must be properly inoculated and parasite-free so as not to infect their friends. In addition, "rebel" dogs must leave their pinch and spike collars at home so that others are not injured. Instead, dogs should wear a basic flat buckle collar with city license, rabies and identification tags because only dogs who are licensed may use the run. Because these runs are dedicated to user groups, the maintenance and enforcement of rules in the runs are up to the users.
To the dog owners who still gripe about leash laws, Parks & Recreation enforces the health code laws for several reasons. First, unleashed dogs pose potential danger to people and to other dogs. Many park users, horses, park wildlife and leashed dogs have been attacked and bitten by unleashed dogs. Second, many park visitors are frightened by dogs and may find unleashed dogs to be intimidating or annoying. Third, unleashed dogs are more likely to leave behind waste that is not picked up by their owners; canine waste is a known source of several pernicious zoonotic diseases. Finally, unleashed dogs destroy lawns and flower beds: areas used as informal "dog runs" have been severely damaged by the combination of wear and uric acid, a known killer of plant life.
• Only dogs who are licensed may use the run. Dog licenses should be obtained through the Department of Health.
• Dogs must be properly inoculated and parasite-free so as not to infect other dogs in the dog run.
• Owners must clean up after their pets and pay close attention to their actions.
• Prior to entering the run owners should inquire about any dogs already in the run which are unfamiliar to them to avoid unnecessary dog fights.
• Dogs should wear a basic flat buckle collar with city license, rabies and identification tags. Pinch and spike collars are not allowed so that other dogs are not injured.
Given that these dogs runs are dedicated to user groups, the maintenance and enforcement of rules in the runs are up to the users.
Source: New York City Parks/Parks and Recreation: Things to Do (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/computer_resource_centers/images/af_dog_runs.html), Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Note the italicized sentence. When walking along the Long Meadow recently, we noticed that many of the younger trees and saplings were rotting at the base of the trunk. This is especially true in an area adjacent to the Lower Pool where many dogs congregate. It is obvious that these trees are being killed by constantly being inundated with dog urine. One tree is already dead and a second looks like it's on its way out. What is even more galling is that several of these trees are "Gift" trees that individuals paid the Prospect Park Alliance a lot of money to have planted and maintained.
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Yesterday, Prospect Park, Sullivan Hill at 12:15 P.M. red-headed male with unleashed German shepherd.