Yesterday I posted the reply of Glenn Phillips, President of NYC Audubon, to my open letter explaining why NYC Audubon wasn't getting any of my money this year. The reply deserves a response.
Mr. Phillips says that he has expressed concerns to the DPR about the off-leash policy. Perhaps so. But while one would be hard pressed to find any birders in NYC who support this unenforced and unenforceable policy, incredibly, NYC Audubon has yet to make
any public statements about it or about the clearly negative impact that thousands of unleashed dogs running around our city's green
spaces, 365 days a year, have on birds (on humans too, but I guess that's not Audubon's concern)
He also says that he's working with the National Park Service to enforce the leash rules in Gateway, but again I've neither seen nor heard any evidence of it.
And it is equally incredible that Mr. Phillips, who says that he is a birdwatcher, can find nothing more wrong to say about unleashed dogs in the parks than that they make bird-watching more difficult. What about the effect on the birds? It's not that the Audubon Society as a whole is unaware of this problem. See, for example, North Carolina Audubon's newsletter, pointing out that "One person or dog walking through a bird nesting area will cause the
adults to fly off their nests, exposing their chicks and eggs to
predators and severe temperatures."
Until I see Mr. Phillips making a concerted and public attempt to get the dogs leashed in New York's parks, I
will continue to assume that his organization backs the
DPR's irresponsible policy and will act accordingly.