For the first time in at least year, I was in Central Park this morning , watching birds with a group. The experience was unpleasant, to say the least. We saw five unleashed dogs in the Ramble, just between 7:30 and 7:45. Dogs are never permitted to be unleashed there. Here is one set:
There used to be signs around Turtle Pond saying dogs were not permitted. They also used to be ignored, and now the signs are not even there. But the dogs were. They were everywhere--not in great number, which isn't surprising since one would expect the majority of dog owners to be responsible enough to keep their dogs leashed in public even where it is legal not to--but they were spread out, putting the lie to the notion that dogs need to be off-leash so that they can socialize. And they were still loose well after dog hours are supposed to end at 9:00 A.M. Notable in their absence were the hoards of birdwatchers who used to frequent the park at this hour at this time of year, the peak of spring migration. Also notable in their absence were any PEP agents, or police for that matter. So, as we had predicted, the dogs are driving humans away from the park.