Lots of concern is being generated by a recent column about irresponsible pet owners who walk their dogs off leash, even though Orleans Parish has an ordinance aimed at preventing the action. As one reader, Leslie, pointed out, "There are leash laws in this city and I should be able to walk my dogs in peace."
Since we have two dogs, my partner and I often plot out our walks to strategically avoid running into violators. At times, we have found ourselves avoiding a walk altogether or doing so late in the evening when less folks are out.
Even official dog parks often have areas where dogs must be on leash, and designated off-leash areas where conditions are controlled and dogs interact safely with one another.
To help spread the word, here's the leash law that is on the books for Orleans Parish in Chapter 18 of the city code:
Leash Law (Sec. 18-14) Dogs which are properly licensed and vaccinated may be allowed outside of an enclosure if they are kept on a secure leash and accompanied by its owner or keeper. Any dog that is found "running at large" can be impounded and the owner or keeper ticketed. Dogs who roam present a nuisance or a danger to the public and may be in danger of being hit by a car, being attacked by another animal, abuse from strangers. An animal that is impounded is done so to protect himself and the public.
A reader told me that she had made copies of a previous article on leash laws and handed copies to people she saw violating the ordinance.
Leash laws are in place to protect both dogs and humans and to make exercise what it should be -- fun and relaxing.
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So will someone tell us why, with legally-sanctioned access 365 days a year before 9 to 300 acres in Prospect Park, just a few blocks away, South Slope needs one?
Pam Brown, president of the South Slope Dog Owners Association, says that her organization is a different breed. For one thing, unlike some other groups that have no site in mind, hers has marked its territory: the vest-pocket parks adjacent to the Prospect Expressway.
These sites, located on 18th Street near Sixth and Seventh avenues, have been neglected by the Parks Department, which owns them, and because of their location next to the highway, they’re not ideal places to sit and enjoy the air.
Read all about it.
And check out this article, published last year. Our correspondent writes:
I used to go to this park all the time for sled riding as a kid. It's right across the street from Brooklyn Tech High School, my alma mater.
What's really sad is this park is a dog run on top of the largest mass soldier grave on American soil, over 11,000 bodies from the American Revolution British prisoner ships, hence the 125 foot obelisk monument calls Prisoners Martyrs Monument.
And catch this in the Gothamist blog. Someone claims a musician, doing a photo shoot in Prospect Park's Long Meadow at 7 A.M., during dog hours, kicked his puppy. Here is the band's response, which has the ring of truth:
No member of my band kicked or would ever kick a puppy or any animal for that matter. This is a case of a sad man looking to get a rise out of people and put a little excitement into his mundane life and we want nothing to do with it. A golden retriever did come over and join us while we were doing a photo shoot, as did a number of other dogs and we all enjoyed their company. Every other dog owner in the park had the common courtesy to call their dogs after their dogs had a proper chance to sniff around, while this dog owner did not.Unsaid is that there's nothing in the off-leash regulations that make so-called "designated areas" off-limits to everyone else, but it's pretty obvious that the dog owners think they are.
When the golden retriever wouldn’t leave we called to the dog’s owner who was standing smugly across the field asking him to call his dog at which point he came toward us shouting at us about it being off-leash hours and how the dog was a puppy, telling us to get out of the park and repeating “what are you going to do about it?” I specifically told the dog’s owner, “Yes, it’s a puppy, you’re a human being, use your brain and just call your dog.”
Someone who appeared to be the dog owner’s lackey took the photos that you see and I think they clearly demonstrate how shocked we were by the absurdity of the situation and having someone running up and putting their iPhone in your face looking for an altercation at 7am in the morning.
I hope that people who see this can understand that this has nothing to do with us or any sort of aggression towards dogs and is simply a bitter man, who knew he was in the wrong, throwing a low blow by relying on people’s responses to shock and awe type news stories trying to slander us.
Again, as a dog owner myself, I can assure you, I, and no member of my band would ever kick a dog. I hope this clears up any confusion and that we can all move on to more pressing issues.