The following excerpt is from an e-mail sent by Joe Pisano who heads up a dog group of about 35 people who are pushing for a large chunk of Juniper Park for a dog run. Pisano thinks that because he attends meetings and has stayed vigilant about the dog run that there is an entitlement coming to him and his group. In his insular world, he also states that there is no opposition to a dog run in Juniper Park! Let’s give him an education.
This revealing excerpt from his e-mail went to about 35 dog owners who use Juniper Valley Park and who unleash their dogs in one of the busiest and most traveled areas of the park. It is not a dog run, there is no dog run or “designated dog area” in Juniper Valley Park. Joe Pisano doesn’t know that but after reading this article, he will. The area in question is between the upper and lower ball fields and it is a beautifully bucolic respite between the two busy fields. The children play their league games on the fields so the area in question is totally populated with young kids and their parents.
This is what Pisano writes in his e-mail:
“I should point out to those who are happy with the way things are at Juniper; things can change at any time. This past Sunday morning, we had an altercation with yet another idiot (with a baby) who chose to walk through the middle path in our area. When the dogs approached him and the baby, the guy got like a nut screaming “get your dogs away from me!” When we tried explaining to him that the area he was pushing his baby through was a designated dog area, he threatened to call the police. As with any person who just doesn’t know the rules of the park, it was a frustrating conversation that did not end well. A person like this can cause a lot of problems for us dog owners. As of now, we really do not have stable ground to stand on. Our ‘designated area’ can be taken away from us at any time.”
The person Joe Pisano describes above as not knowing that the unleashed dogs have a right to be in the “designated dog area” is a NYC Firefighter who lives in Middle Village. He was taking his babies out for a walk one sunny Sunday. The problem is that Joe Pisano doesn’t know what he is talking about. As president of the Juniper Valley Park Dog Association it’s his job to know the rules concerning unleashed dogs in the park. Especially since Joe Pisano is married to Lisa Pisano, who just happens to be the Executive Assistant to Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. There’s no excuse for Pisano’s mean-spirited email and certainly no excuse for him saying there is a designated dog area in Juniper Valley Park. Let’s try to enlighten Mr Pisano:
The NYC Parks Department clearly states in a notice called “Your Dog in Juniper Valley Park” that from 6am to 9am dogs may be allowed unleashed in the park except for areas where dogs are strictly prohibited at all times which are clearly stated in the Parks Department rules. These areas as stated in “Your Dog In Juniper Valley Park” are playgrounds, spray showers, ball fields, track and basketball, handball, tennis, bocce, roller hockey, and shuffleboard courts. Also owners of the unleashed dogs must be “in control” of their pets at all times.
From 9am to 9pm dogs must be leashed throughout the entire park and from 9pm to 6am the entire park is CLOSED. No persons may enter or use the park at that time. It is also stated in the Dog Rules of Juniper Park that “all of the rules set forth above are codified in Title 56 of the Rules of the City of New York.” These rules are in our Juniper Berrys and posted on junipercivic.com.
This is the background of what is going on here. Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski in a letter sent to the Juniper Park Civic Association in May of last year stated that Juniper Valley Park has no designated area for unleashed dogs. The incident outlined above where Joe Pisano belligerently calls the NYC firefighter walking with his babies an “idiot” and “this nut” reveals the bigger picture about some of the people we are dealing with who own dogs and, come hell or high water, those dogs have a right to run free all over Juniper Valley Park, including “restricted areas” as stated above.
We should all know that we are to stay away, take other, longer routes, to get to our destination in order to avoid interfering with the romping and “playtime” of their precious dogs. Let’s be clear, many of the dogs are huge and are on the Center for Disease Control vicious dog list. They include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Shepherds, Huskys, Pointers, etc. Owners of smaller dogs stay away because of the territorial nature of the above-mentioned breeds. We have heard complaints from dog owners who can’t get along with Pisano or his group because of territorial behavior that they, Pisano et al display. So you see “territorial” is infectious, if a dog is territorial, you can bet his owner is also!
Just to give you an idea of the problem, there are many incidents in Juniper along the lines stated above with the firefighter walking with his babies, as evidenced by an e-mail the JPCA received from a JPCA member whose dog was bitten recently three times by dogs unleashed in Juniper Park. Each time she was told “Oh, my dog never bites!” Clearly a statement we hear all the time AFTER a dog attack. That’s the problem. Do we ever really know when our dogs are having what can be described as a “bad hair day?” Dogs are animals with erratic personalities and dogs “that never bite anyone,” have massacred many children. The statistic from the CDC puts the number at 800,000 Americans who seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children. You can bet that most of this 800,000 number involves dogs that “never bite!”
The above are just a couple of incidents in a scenario of many ugly moments involving Joe Pisano and his dogs and their owners. It should be stated that there are many dog owners in our neighborhood who complain about the Pisano group and its belligerent, territorial attitude. These dog owners are responsible, intelligent people who realize that dogs are happy wherever you take them as long as they are with their owners. A brisk walk on the leash is the best thing for a dog and some of the owners could use the exercise also.
We do not need to give up our precious parkland to dogs when, as you know, the Falcons football league that played on Juniper’s fields for many years and with about 300 of our young kids as members was thrown off the fields at Juniper Park because of the accusation that their cleats ruin the grass! The havoc wreaked by unleashed dogs on the grass and mature trees somehow falls through the cracks of what defines “ruining the grass.”
Many beautiful mature trees inhabit the area where the dogs are congregating. It is a key path when traveling through Juniper, without which a pedestrian would have to use the ball fields, which results in a longer, more tedious route. Before the dog invasion this area was a picnic spot for mothers and their babies, older people who just want to chill out and anyone who wants a relief from the hustle and bustle of the very busy Juniper Park athletic sports. It is now a dust bowl of disgusting dirt and the beautiful mature trees are crying out for rescue. It is not a dog run at any time of the day.
We have to prioritize the role of our public parkland in our lives. The demand is great and we cannot rely on a crapshoot of brainless risk while dogs are terrorizing other responsible dog owners and pedestrians in a city like New York where the parks are the recreational life of many of our residents. Groups like Pisano and his thugs must be stopped from taking over our parks.
Referring to the firefighter walking with his babies on a sunny Sunday as a “nut” and “an idiot with a baby” has “thug” written all over it. The firefighter has every right to be wherever he wants to go in Juniper Park and he should not be demonized by clueless dog owners who think he should “know the rules,” stay away and not have full use of a public park. It is a crime to even consider giving up any part of our parks to any dog owner.
No matter how they spin the stories of successful dog runs, the runs all have their problems, with filth and disease at the top of the list. If you take on the responsibility of owning a dog, the burden is on the owner to provide the exercise for the dog. Leave our parks to people who pay heavily for park upkeep through their taxes.
Juniper Valley Park is heavily used with many kids, their parents and older residents of our area. It is criminal to think we can spare any amount of park space for dogs.
It has to be mentioned that in an effort to compromise with the dog group, JPCA President, Robert Holden, did suggest a track of unused land immediately adjacent to the hockey rink as a possible dog run. It was voted down by the Parks Sub-Committee of Community Board 5. The reason is simple, Pisano and his group want the most beautiful area in Juniper Park for their dog run, an area with stunning mature trees and bushes.
Yes, Joe Pisano, contrary to what you might think, there is a lot of opposition to your suggested dog run. That opposition comes from the JPCA, area residents and other dog owners who state they wouldn’t take their precious pets near you, your group or any disease infested dog run.