104 civic groups across Queens want dogs leashed - JuniperCivic.com
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104 civic groups across Queens want dogs leashed

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The following letter was sent to Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Department of Health:

Dear Commissioner Frieden,

The Queens Civic Congress is an organization devoted to the betterment of the neighborhoods of Queens by listening to the people who reside here and taking action on their behalf. The Congress represents more than 100 civic and other community organizations across the borough.

The purpose of this letter is to express our concern over what your Department is currently considering with regards to relaxing the leash law in city parks. In March 2006, the Queens Civic Congress unanimously voted in favor of supporting the Juniper Park Civic Association's lawsuit against the Parks Department aimed at stopping off-leash activity in our parks. There are many reasons as to why.

Over the years since this "unofficial" policy was put into effect, many of our organizations on this letter have received complaints about off-leash activity from the residents of their respective neighborhoods. We were informed of incidents relating to dogs tearing up park turf and destroying vegetation; dogs biting children, adults, other dogs and park life; dogs jumping on people, knocking them over or otherwise intimidating them; owners of dogs that hurt people trying to leave the scene to escape culpability or blaming the victims of attacks; dangerous pack behavior and fights amongst off-leash dogs; off-leash dog owners harassing park users when asked to keep their pets under control or clean up after them; park users finding areas that were clean at sundown covered in dog excrement at sunrise; and dogs trespassing in protected areas or areas reserved for passive use.

Our constituency has made it clear to us that the majority of Queens residents are not in favor of this policy. Many of our neighbors no longer use our parks and many park volunteers have stopped doing the great work they do because of the intimidating and threatening presence of off-leash dogs.

We made our stance against his off-leash policy known to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe on several occasions, but he chose to ignore us and instead honor the wishes of a vocal fringe of dog owners. The needs of their dogs are taking precedence over the needs of people throughout Queens, and the rest of the city.

Our membership performed hours of fact-finding research on this issue before writing to you which I have attached to this letter. (Click here for attachment.)

We also feel the law as currently written is non-discriminatory as it applies to all dog owners equally throughout the city. The proposed revision to the code would force off-leash dogs on less affluent communities that do not have the capability to raise tens of thousands of dollars to start and maintain a dog run. Parks in Manhattan currently have 16 official dog runs to serve the borough's population of 1.3 million people. Yet Queens, with its population of 2.2 million people, has only 7 dog runs. It is clear that Parks prefers to spend its money in upper class Manhattan while unleashing the dogs on middle and lower class Queens.

We, the Queens Civic Congress, on behalf of a collection of neighborhood organizations that represent the interests of people all across the borough of Queens, respectfully ask you to vote against amending the leash law. By doing so, you will uphold your oath to protect the health and safety of the residents of Queens and all of New York City.

We would appreciate a response to our concerns before your board makes its vote on this issue.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Sean Walsh

President

On behalf of:

Association of Old Forest Hills

Bayside Hills Civic Association

Bayswater Civic Association

Bay Terrace Community Alliance

Bellaire/Bellville Civic Association

Belle Harbor Property Owners

Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association

Bellerose-Hillside Civic Association,

Bell Park Manor-Terrace Community Council

Bowne Park Civic Association

Briarwood Community Association

Cambria Heights Civic Association

College Point Civic Taxpayers Association

Comm. of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together

Concerned Citizens of Laurelton

Creedmoor Civic Association

Doug-Bay Manor Civic Association

Douglaston Civic Association

Douglas Manor Association

East Flushing Civic Association

Federated Blocks of Laurelton

Floral Park Community Council

Flushing on the Hill Civic Association

Flushing Heights Civic Association

Flushing Suburban Civic Association

Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce

Forest Hills Crescents Association

Forest Hills-Van Court Association

Fresh Meadows Homeowners Association

Georgetown Mews

Glen Oaks Village Owners

Greater Astoria Historical Society

Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association

Harding Heights Civic Association

Hillcrest Estates Civic Association

Hilltop Village Co-op #4

Hollis Hills Civic Association

Holliswood Civic Association

Hollis Park Gardens Association

Holly Civic Association

Hunters Point Community Coalition

Hyde Park Gardens Cooperative

Jackson Heights Beautification Group

Jamaica Estates Association

Jamaica Hill Community Association

Juniper Park Civic Association

Kew Forest Neighborhood Association

Kew Gardens Civic Association

Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association

Kissena Park Civic Association

Little Neck Bay Civic Association

Little Neck Community Association

Little Neck Pines Association

Lost Community Civic Association

Malba Civic Association

Middle Village Property Owners

Mitchell-Linden Civic Association

Newtown Civic Association

Newtown Historical Society

North Bellerose Civic Association

North Flushing Civic Association

North Hills Estates Civic Association

North Queens Homeowners Civic Association

Norwood Neighborhood Association

Oakland Terrace/Gardens Council

Off Broadway Homeowners

Our Neighborhood Improvement Association

Ozone Tudor Civic Association

Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association

Queens Colony Civic Association

Queens Community Civic Corporation

Queens Village Civic Association

Ramblersville-Hawtree Civic Association

Richmond Hill Historic Association

Ridgewood Property Owners Association

Rocky Hill Civic Association

Rosedale Civic Association

Royal Ranch Association

Sagamore Douglaston Civic Association

Southeast Queens Coalition of Concerned Neighbors

Southeast Queens Federation of Civic Associations

South Ozone Park Coalition of Block Associations

South Ozone Park West Civic Association

Springfield/Rosedale Community Association

Sunnyside Gardens/Harrison Place

Surrey Estates Civic Association

The Property Civic Association

Union Turnpike Merchants Association

United Forties Civic Association

United Neighbors Civic Associations of Jamaica

Utopia Estates Civic Association

Utopia Improvement Association

Village Mall at Hillcrest

Waldheim Neighborhood Association

Wayanda Civic Association

West Cunningham Park Civic Association

Westmoreland Association

Woodside Community Council

CC:

Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Adrian Benepe

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall

Council Speaker Christine Quinn

Councilmember Joseph Addabbo

Councilmember Anthony Avella

Councilmember Leroy Comrie

Councilmember Dennis Gallagher

Councilmember James Gennaro

Councilmember Eric Gioia

Councilmember Melinda Katz

Councilmember John Liu

Councilmember Hiram Monserrate

Councilmember James Sanders, Jr.

Councilmember Helen Sears

Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr.

Councilmember David Weprin

Councilmember Thomas White, Jr.

Queens Community Board 1

Queens Community Board 2

Queens Community Board 3

Queens Community Board 4

Queens Community Board 5

Queens Community Board 6

Queens Community Board 7

Queens Community Board 8

Queens Community Board 9

Queens Community Board 10

Queens Community Board 11

Queens Community Board 12

Queens Community Board 13

Queens Community Board 14