Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dogs in Stores; More Prospect Park Updates

It started the day I tripped on a dog’s tail while leaving the dressing room at the Banana Republic at 86th and Broadway. The tail, an ordinary brown one, was sticking out of the dressing room next door. I never did see the dog’s body or the master of the animal, who was, presumably, deciding whether to buy just the black T-shirt, or the red one as well.

Animals are joining the ranks of small, bored children who must accompany their grown-ups just about everyplace. Can’t tie up my kid on a leash outside, so why should I do it to my dog?

In the two years since I tripped on the tail, dogs seem to be appearing all over the place. The managers of the Gap informed me at every store where I inquired that “the corporate policy is to allow dogs in our stores.” This was confirmed recently by a customer relations representative, who added that dogs were allowed into Gap stores as long as the leasing agent of the store permitted it and no other customer objected to the dog.
Read the rest here

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Yesterday we blogged a forum about a supposed PEP ticket blitz on January 11 aimed at dog owners who were abusing the 9 A.M. off-leash cutoff. Maybe. Here's a report sent to us on January 14:
Nothing seems to have changed with regard to enforcing the leash law in Prospect Park. No matter what day of the week, time of day or location within the park, I am confronted by strange, unleashed dogs. Park Enforcement Patrol officers are little to no help and I am now certain that they are all a bunch of dopes. For example:

On January 9th, between the hours of 11am and 2pm I came across a total of 9 unleashed dogs on the Long Meadow, the "Snow Bowl" (between Tennis and Picnic Houses), Rick's Place, Lookout Hill and Breeze Hill. On Breeze Hill the two guys with the five bergamasco sheepdogs were using the grass as their personal dog run. These are the guys whose dogs ran over to me barking and I used my bike as a shield. I saw a PEP patrol car near the wellhouse and told the officer of my continuing issue with these guys. He said, "Good, because I need to write some tickets today." I mentioned that he had missed at least seven unleashed dogs. I also pointed out that I've witnessed on numerous occasions (even that day) dog owners leashing their dogs when they see the patrol car coming, then unleashing as it leaves. I suggested that, if they were serious about catching off-leash scofflaws, that they patrol undercover.

A short while later, and only about 2 hundred yards from where I spoke to the officer, there were 2 more unleashed dogs on the Nethermead Meadow.

[On Jan. 10] these folks where running their dogs offleash in the Lullwater, which is never permitted. As soon as they saw me taking out my camera, they leashed their dogs. I suspect that as soon as I was out of sight, they unleashed them again.

This was really galling. I was walking across the Nethermead Meadow with a friend at about 4pm, yesterday [Jan. 13]. Suddenly, an unleashed pitbull came charging at us, barking. I pointed my tripod legs into the dogs face, ready to jab it when I heard the owner calling from behind us. The dog backed off, but there were a total of three pitbulls now running on the meadow (there was also a fourth dog unleashed, but the owner seemed nervous, quickly leashed her small dog and left. While the three dogs were running around an NYPD patrol car stopped at the edge of the meadow, flashed its light and siren. The dog owners leashed their pitbulls and the police sped off. As soon as the patrol car was gone, they unleashed their dogs again.

It gets better.

On that same day, I spotted an unmarked Parks Enforcement Patrol vehicle sitting next to the lake near the Wellhouse. While I was on the Peninsula I noticed a dog owner throwing a ball to his unleashed dog on the Peninsula Meadow. This was in full view of the PEP officer. The officer ignored the scofflaw. As that dog owner was leaving the meadow, a second dog owner came onto the meadow with her unleashed dog (her dog had also been unleashed as she walked down Wellhouse Drive). She continued across the meadow and into the woods with her dog still unleashed. I knew the officer was watching her and, I was so angry, I went over to his car to ask why he wasn't giving her a ticket. As I got closer to his car, he started to move and drove out onto the Peninsula, presumably, to give her a ticket. I followed after him to see what would happen. As I expected, she was giving him some cockamamie story about how she didn't know the rules and that it was too dangerous to bring her dog into the park at night. Officer Ortiz either accepted her outright lie or couldn't be bothered to write a ticket, either way, this woman now knows that there is little or no reason to ever leash her dog. I'll make sure to post her photo and video next time I see her with her unleashed dog.

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