Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Unleashed Dog Knocks Over 65-year-old Woman in Prospect

 Writer's name deleted

Subject: Off-leash dog incident--for Sue Donoghue

Date: February 24, 2015 10:13:16 AM EST

Dear Ms. Donoghue:

A birder friend suggested I write to you, plus I spoke to a member of your staff yesterday  by phone.

I am 65 years old, a Prospect Park Alliance member, a long-time park user, park volunteer, avid birder and affiliate of the Brooklyn Bird Club.

On Sunday I was on the terrace bridge, birding, when three medium-sized dogs, off leash, began rough housing with each other. When one of the dogs left, the other two continued to rough house. I was at the edge of the bridge, when they first bumped into me. When I decided to walk to the bird feeders, they continued to rough house. I tried to avoid them by standing way to the other side of the bridge. Although they had the entire bridge on which to play, they inexorably moved towards me and banged into my legs, this time causing me to fall and bang my hip. I am sure you are aware how dangerous a hip injury is, especially for older people.

I yelled to the owners who were all the way down at the other end of the bridge, not paying attention to their dogs. The man came over and helped me up and apologized. I was very upset and scared and continued to yell at him, since his apology and desire to help meant nothing after the fact. The fact was that this incident would not have occurred had he been obeying the rules of the park and had had both dogs on leashes.

At that point, he did put the dogs on the leash, and when I spotted them later, they were still on the leashes. As for me, I came home with a three-inch-long bruise on my hip, which continues to grow, and a sore body.

When I left the park, I spotted two park security guards in a car by the lake and reported the incident.

A birder I met told me to contact you directly because the off-leash dogs have been a big problem in the park for years. He told me that the park has a reputation among the international birding community for being a prime birding spot but also one with a serious dog problem. And this is not the first time I have been accosted by off-leash dogs in the park. Many years ago, I was accosted by an off-leash German shepherd on Lookout Hill. I may also point out that I have never been harrassed by off-leash dogs in Central Park!!

The off-leash dog issue has to be taken more seriously than it seemingly is. Off-leash dogs not only hurt birds and other animals, they can harm the very people who visit and support the park. The park administration has gone out of its way to provide all kinds of "fun" attractions for its visitors: Lakeside, ball fields, wedding venues, food festivals, concerts and barbecue grills. But they also have to provide basic security, not just the fun stuff. Otherwise, people will continue to get hurt in the park they love.

Thank you for your consideration.

1 comment:

alecnathan said...

My 71-year old mother was just knocked over by a big unleashed dog in Prospect Park yesterday -- Saturday afternoon at 5 pm. Nine hours in the ER. No fractures but serious pelvic bruising. She is in a great deal of pain and can barely walk. Doctor says it will take two months to heal. So angry.