Residents of NYC public housing have begun surrendering their oversize and aggressive-breed dogs to shelters in response to the new, entirely sensible policy banning them. But that will not make a dent in the loose dog population in the parks; as we've observed too many times to cite, owners who let their dogs loose in the park are not the type to be in public housing.
A case in point is last Sunday afternoon in Prospect Park. The southeast side of the park on sunny summer weekend afternoons is a magnet for barbecuers, and not surprisingly given the population of the adjoining neighborhood, nearly all of them are non-white. Last Sunday we saw two--just two--unleashed dogs there, just outside the rink, and the owners were white.
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Dog which has no business being unleashed meets dog that has no business being near other dogs, or maybe even no business being at all. This kind of thing must happen every day in New York's parks during--and outside--off-leash hours.
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Still no response from Tupper Thomas and, by the number of dog owners unleashing at the Nethermead last Wednesday night, I don't imagine she will ever do anything. From 5:30 P.M. until 6:15 P.M. a total of 16 unleashed dogs were running around the Nethermead Meadow. More were arriving as I left. Again, nobody seemed to care that I was videotaping them. At the dog beach there were 6 unleashed dogs, just yards away from young kids playing soccer.
In the past, Tupper Thomas has praised FIDO for their ability to control the dog community. Yeah, right. If that is actually the case, I issue the president of FIDO a challenge; Prove that you care about the dog community's obeying the rules and that you are not complicit in this 5 P.M. lawbreaking on the Nethermead. Go out to the Nethermead Meadow at 5 P.M.each night and tell people to keep their dogs leashed until 9 P.M. I guarantee that no such thing ever happens. FIDO and Tupper Thomas ARE the problem.