Sunday, November 15, 2009

Minnewaska and Wellwyn; Propsect Video

Last Sunday one of our correspondents was in Minnewaska State Park near New Paltz. here is his report:
This park requires all dogs to be leashed. That's what the signs say, and it's clear from the park's website. In a couple of hours, we saw 4 unleashed dogs, including this one by the lake, who repeatedly ignored its mistress's calls. Fortunately, the dog wasn't threatening.

On our way back we saw a woman on a bicycle headed towards us and 2 large, friendly and, even by canine standards, stupid dogs. A couple was walking maybe 20 feet ahead of us, and the guy called out "I think we have ourselves a dog." One of the dogs had started to follow him. The owner called, and then the dog started to follow us. I kept motioning to the dog to follow me; he did; the owner kept calling, increasingly worried, and the dog started whining, obviously confused. Finally the wife made me stop and we went our way. We caught up with the couple in front of us; he had been calling the dog too until his wife made him stop. Like us, they are dog lovers--but the two of us had the identical idea: if the stupid, inconsiderate owner couldn't leash her dog, we'd make her suffer a little.

Today the same correspondent was at Welwyn Preserve in Glen Cove. Here is the report:
Signs all over the place say pets are not allowed--period, leashed or unleased--and some threaten a fine. Here are two of the signs:

Nevertheless, in a couple of hours we passed 6 dogs, five of them unleashed. The owners made no attempt to leash them in our presence:

What is going on here is incivility, self-centeredness, a fundamental lack of consideration. It is no different from that shown by people who take shopping carts from a grocery store and leave them in the parking lot, who drop coffee cups and bottles on the sidewalk (forcing home owners and storekeepers to clean them up lest they get fined), or who accelerate on a highway to cut off motorists attempting to change lanes. Sorry, Winston; that's not going to be changed by someone in authority gently telling them to leash-up.

* * *

10:15 this morning, Prospect Park lake, video taken from the Wellhouse.


Suva said...

I find this laughable, and I can only assume the reason no one has bothered to post back is because your pictures and complaints concern friendly and sociable labs and retrievers—

Who are you kidding?

If these were unleashed pit bulls and rottweilers I would see your point. If you simply had a picture of any of these dogs defecating on the path without their owners picking up after them I wouldn’t have much to say—but even you yourself must find this little blog of yours both inconsequential and ridiculous.

Do you have a job?

I would think there are other ways you could spend your spare time, and other causes a little more worthy of your goodwill. Surely you are capable of more than voyeuristically snapping pictures of people enjoying their pets and their days off in nature?

As for responsible dog ownership, dogs require proper exercise and more often than not that involves running, swimming, and playing with other dogs. These are not guard dogs, they do not require a muzzle, and they are not dangerous animals. I applaud their owners for taking the time.

You on the other hand need a real hobby.

credo-ny said...

Of course labs are friendly and sociable. That means that they almost certainly won't hurt people. But even friendly and sociable dogs (1) frighten people who are afraid of dogs, (2) damage park flora and fauna, and (3) interfere with other permissible park uses, including (among many others) horseback riding, bird-watching, and roller-blading. When parks require dogs to be on leashes or ban dog altogether, there are generally good rasons for doing so. People who insist on unleashing their dogs nonetheless, for whatever reason, are simply being selfish. If your dog needs exercise, stop being lazy and selfish and exercise the dog on the4 leash, or take your dog to the many areas that permit off-leash dogs.

vitosavello said...

To credo-ny,

Are you even a member of our community? Are you a Glen Cove resident? Do you even live in Nassau County?

I'm curious - can you list for us some of "the many areas that permit off-leash dogs" within a 10-mile radius of Glen Cove?

As a life-long Glen Cove resident, I've been going almost daily to Welwyn Preserve for 35 years. And while I am not a dog owner, I have never had a problem with ANY of the dogs at Welwyn during this time. Our dog owners are kind, caring, responsible people. We should treat them with respect, not hold them up for ridicule.

But what's really ridiculous here is that I actually know two of those people who you took pictures of. How would you feel if I came into your community, secretly took pictures of you and your family, and posted them online for all to see? Honesty, I think people like you pose a far greater danger to our society than a couple friendly off-leash canines.

You call yourself a "correspondent," but you're nothing but a cyber-bullying peeping tom.

I'd tell you that you should be embarrassed, but people like you rarely embarrass easy.

Vito Savello
Lifetime Glen Cove Resident

credo-ny said...

Mr. Savello:

1. You seem to have a rather narrow view of what constitutes "your community". But, as a resident of this "community", if you or the person who was photographed thinks that dogs should be permitted to be unleashed in Nassau County nature preserves, your only right--a constitutionally guaranteed right--is to petition whatever governmental authorities make the leash rules to have those rules changed. You have no right to break the rules.

2. If you read our response to the previous comment, you will see that our objection is not to the dogs bothering us but rather to the other things dogs do.

3. In any event, when we go into an area that requires dogs to be leashed, we have legal right to expect that they will be leashed. People who unleash their dogs in such an area are not only violating the law; they are also violating our rights.

4. A person who breaks the law openly in a public park has no legal or moral right to have that lawbreaking kept private. If you think otherwise, please provide a written source.

5. See this list of local dog parks.
We haven't checked whether any of these are within 10 miles of Wellwyn, but that doesn't matter: if you have a dog an want to let it loose, you must do so legally or not at all.

vitosavello said...

I doubt you'll ever print this response but again, I ask you: How would you feel if I came into your town, secretly took pictures of you and your family, and posted them online for all to see?

Here's a hypothetical situation: How would you like it if I set up shop at a stop sign in your town? How would you like it if I then took pictures of everyone (your friends, your family, your neighbors) that didn't come to a complete stop and then posted them online for all the world to see? Would you still use your "A person who breaks the law openly has no legal or moral right to have that lawbreaking kept private" line? If it was your family? Doubt it.

There's a reason our police department doesn't ticket dog walkers - they (unlike you) clearly have better things to do with their time. I don't think the tax-paying citizens of Glen Cove would appreciate our police officers roaming the depths of Welwyn to hand out a couple silly tickets, all while serious crimes are taking place. Frankly, it's ridiculous to even think about it.

Also, no one in our town has complained about it (I know this for a fact since I have friends on the force). So far the only one who's complaining is your "correspondent" - whoever that is. (And I seriously doubt he/she is a Glen Cove resident.) The fact that your "correspondent" won't reveal his/her identity makes this all the more disgraceful and gutless. You've made an accusation - now stand by it.

And have you ever actually been to Welwyn? This isn't Prospect Park we're talking about here. On a given day, it's rare to have more than 50 visitors - most of them dog owners. If you have ever been there, I doubt you would list (as you did in an earlier comment) "rollerblading" and "horseback riding" as "permissible park uses." That's laughable.

Perhaps a better use of your time would be helping the millions of homeless, abused, and neglected animals all over this country. But clearly that's not going to happen. In the meantime, you can keep your spies and hidden cameras out of my town.

Thank you

Vito Savello

credo-ny said...

We have several correspondents who take pictures of dogs illegally off-leash and their owners. None of them can afford to live out near your neighborhood. Some live in Brooklyn and others live in Manhattan. All of us pay taxes to the State of New York, which subsidizes your community in many ways, directly and indirectly (e.g., the highways, the state police). None of them uses a hidden camera. And most of us are bird-watchers, an activity that you don't mention and is rendered impossible when an unleashed dog comes along.

We don't post the names of our correspondents out of fear: our experience is that all too many dog owners who let their pets off-leash illegally are threatening and occasionally violent. It's all very well and honorable for you to post your name, but we can't afford to do that.

Nobody but you is suggesting taking pictures of people who are going about their business legally. But if you or your friends would like to come to, say, Brooklyn around Prospect Park (or for that matter, Manhattan around Central Park) and take pictures of people throwing candy-wrappers and cigarette butts on the ground, or of drivers who are speeding, yakking on their cellphones, failing to yield to pedestrians, running red lights, or doing any of a number of things that the cops can't be bothered ticketing and about which he local precinct undoubtedly gets no complaints, be our guest--we can use your help.

credo-ny said...

And now some questions for you:

1. Welwyn is a pretty place. It has woodland trails, streams, ponds, some frontage along the Sound, and wetlands. All that ought to translate into bird life. What effect do you think unleashed dogs have on birds trying to nest? There are also formal gardens off the parking lot, which somebody has to maintain. Forget about the cops; have you ever asked parks personnel there what they think of unleashed dogs in the preserve?

2. Welwyn is called a "preserve". What exactly do you think Nassau County is trying to "preserve"? Habitat for unleashed dogs?

3. Have you ever been to Muttontown Prserve? If so, do you remember the show-off peacock that used to frequent the parking lot there some years back? It was owned by someone whose house adjoined the preserve. Did you know that it was killed by an unleashed dog?

4. Not to be personal, but why exactly do you go there?

vitosavello said...

In response to your two comments:

And do I not subsidize your community as well? What exactly do you think downtown Manhattan would look like if people like me weren't commuting in 5 days a week to work there? If you have any doubts, swing by there around 7PM on a given weekday and try and get yourself so much as a sandwich or candy bar. Good luck. And how about the thousands I spend every year in "your" city - buying lunches every day, taking clients out for drinks, bringing my wife to shows, taking my kids to ballgames, etc., etc., etc.

If you want to stop some off-leash pitbulls from running around on a Saturday afternoon in July in Prospect Park, you're welcome to do that. I may even support you. But the fact is you don't live in my town, so you do not understand the context of our park. I can walk through Welwyn for 2 hours without seeing a single person, let alone a dog. As I already mentioned, on any given day less than 50 people may actually go there. So none of us care about a couple friendly pooches walking around - not the citizens of our town, not the bird-watchers, not the cops, not the park employees. No one complains, and no one is bothered by it. Except you apparently. Funny how the only comments you've received over this are negative. You think that's a coincidence? The fact that you've decided to "expose" the good citizens of this town without letting them know who you are is as disgraceful as it is shameless - and more than a little dangerous.

As far as bird nests go, you've got to be kidding. Seriously. Is there a new tree-climbing breed of canine that I'm unfamiliar with? By your logic, we should be going after all those off-leash foxes, since I have a feeling they've done more damage to birds nests than some dopey happy-go-lucky yellow lab ever could. And have you ever actually been to the wetlands of Welwyn? No dogs (or humans for that matter) are going to be crawling and sloshing their way through the swamps, muck, slop, razor-sharp reeds, and thick, malodorous mud. The birds have that area all to themselves - trust me.

And do you actually consider off-leash dogs to be a genuine danger to birds? Haven't seen too many incidents of a dog catching a bird - short of the pet peacock you've brought up. If you know of more, surely one of your "correspondents" could sneak us a picture or some film. I can take any isolated incident and make a point like that. For instance, did you hear of the guy last month who slipped in the shower, hit his head, and died? Lesson: Never shower. Or maybe you heard of the 20 people killed crossing Queens Boulevard over the last few years. Lesson: Never cross the street.

But most importantly, I doubt you truly care about these birds anyway. The only thing you really care about is being inconvenienced - and that's why we can't take your complaints seriously. Do you have any understanding of what actually endangers these birds? If saving the declining bird populations were your motivation, you'd work to have the millions of feral cats in our country spayed and neutered like my wife does. Again, another USEFUL activity that you choose not to participate in. While you complain and moan about a couple golden retrievers, she does more for these birds than you ever will.

Oh, and I'll be happy to answer any of your personal questions - the moment you stop hiding behind this site, stand up for what you say you believe in, and have courtesy and the guts to provide us with your real name(s). If you're going to snoop around our towns, snap secret pictures of us, and post them online, you owe us that much - no?

Good day then

Vito Savello

credo-ny said...

Indeed you do. And that is one of the fallacies of your view of "community". You, as a New York State taxpayer, have a right to see that the law is enforced in Prospect Park if you use it, and absolute standing to complain if it is not.

Your assertions about the avian and ornithological knowledge of those who contribute to the CREDO blog do not deserve a response. Suffice it to say that the three principal correspondents have, among them, maybe 80 years of experience as birdwatchers, academic degrees in biology, published articles on birds, etc. You are also obviously unaware both that many birds do not nest high in trees and that scientists have found that the presence of even leashed dogs strongly inhibits nesting. We posted a cite to a Science News article on point several months ago. You are also obviously unaware that many species of songbirds are endangered, and it is precisely preserves like Welwyn that are attempting to do their small part in keeping them around. And while you may be right about the number of people at Welwyn during the week or in the winter, the place is far from empty on weekends during good weather.

All of this, though, is not the point. The point is that requiring dogs to be leashed in parks, and particularly nature preserves, should be observed and enforced and it is neither. Our correspondent didn't go out to Welwyn with the aim of trapping one of your devoted community members. He was there looking for birds, and in the process added another data point to our contention that all too many dog owners are a bunch of scofflaws.

Thank you for your input. We are sorry that we cannot divulge names of correspondents online; while you have nothing to fear--and are to be commended for not hiding your impoliteness behind a veil of anonymity, as so many anti-leash people do--unfortunately, we have much to fear. And BTW, it seems to us that you owe us an apology for your contention, in your initial comment, that we would not have the "guts" to post what you wrote.

With that, this moderator will assert the privilege of the last word

Anonymous said...

Some dog owners are like thieves in that they'll come up with any excuse to justify their behavior. There are good reasons for leash laws throughout the civilized world. Here are just a few:

- Unleashed dogs pose a potential danger to people, to wildlife and to other dogs.

- Many people are frightened by dogs and may find unleashed dogs to be intimidating or annoying.

- 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.

- Unleashed dogs damage and destroy flower beds and other vegetation: areas used as informal dog runs are severely damaged by the combination of wear and uric acid, a known killer of plant life.

Unfortunately, all the reasons in the world wouldn't persuade the lazy, self-centered dog owners to leash up. A heavy fine seems to be the only thing that ever convinces some folks to behave in a socially responsible manner.