While serious accidents with dogs are rare, cyclists said, a handful occur every year on Central Park's increasingly crowded roadway, the 6.1-mile loop around the edge of the park that's a jumble of bikers, roller skaters, runners, dog walkers and even cars. It is legal to have dogs off their leashes there during designated hours, including between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., when cyclists and runners swarm—a policy officials are now starting to question.
"I think a lot of these owners are really, really foolish for letting their dogs run across the road or even letting them near the road," said Linda Wintner, who was hit by an unleashed pit bull while riding her bike through Central Park in April 2010 and suffered a mild concussion. "A dog's an animal. It might not listen."
* * *
When told there had been a series of accidents involving cyclists and dogs on roadways, [dog owner] Ms. Klein frowned.
"That's a bummer," she said. "I think it probably depends on different dogs. I mean, she's 8 years old, so the only thing that gets her to do something erratic is a squirrel."
That is exactly what caused a dog to bolt across the road in 2009 into the path of Theresa van Vugt, who was leading a bike ride into the park. As Ms. van Vugt, a triathlon coach, turned toward Tavern on the Green, she heard someone "screaming, 'No, no, no!'" she said.
Then she spotted a squirrel scurrying across the road, and a golden retriever in pursuit.
In the collision, Ms. van Vugt said she fractured her elbow, wrist, hand and three ribs. Her knee later required surgery and she suffers from permanent nerve damage, she said. "I've never had that many parts of my body hurt all at once all at the same time," she said.
She has since witnessed several other crashes, she added, http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifand heard about others from friends who compete, coach and train in the park. "It's probably something we hear about on a monthly basis," said Ms. van Vugt. Not every owner even stops, she said, and one dog owner cursed at her when he overheard her warning other cyclists about off-leash dogs.
The "A Walk in the Park" blog picked up the story, posting with it a picture of a dead unleashed dog struck by a car, apparently after running from some park on the Lower East Side. Following an assertion in the WSJ story that offleash activity in Prospect Park was restricted to designated areas during off-leash hours, the blog also posted a picture of an unleashed dog in Prhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifospect Park, after offleash hours, with the following note:
A Common Sight In Prospect Park. A woman plays with her off - leash dog last week in the afternoon. The public often complains about lax enforcement of off-leash laws. A number of Parks Department employees, as well as members of the public have been attacked this year by off-leashed dogs. (Photo: © NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.
Chilton's lawsuit is also reported here.
Hat tips to Christina and Winston Smith.
* * *
What is Wrong With This Picture?
We are told that FIDO president phoney Tony Chiaperelli regularly parks his van across from the Wellhouse in Prospect Park during dog hours. Apparently he once said that he needed the permit to pick up trash. We were sent this picture, which was taken over the summer. Phoney Tony sticks the permit in his window and, we are told, cops drive right by. Look at the expiration date and the hours the permit was supposed to be effective.
* * *
And here is n cautionary tale about what can happen when one lets a dog loose in public: the loose dog, having tangled with another dog, is now dead, courtesy of a cop's bullet.
Hat-tip to Christina.
* * *
Ten unleashed dogs at Ft. Tilden today around 11:30.