The Juniper Park Civic Association has been sounding the alarm about unleashed dogs for some time. Every Juniper Berry has some mention of the problem and this issue is no exception.

We all have in our minds the vivid memory of that poor unfortunate man who was doing nothing more than jogging on the Rockaway boardwalk when he was viciously and savagely attacked by several unleashed dogs. The man is still struggling for his life and it has been stated in newspaper reports that he faces many operations to reconstruct his face and other parts of his body. His world has been inalterably changed forever.

Let's not forget also that innocent woman in California who was mauled to death by a killer dog. All she was doing was trying to get into her apartment after having gone shopping. Now the owners of the dog are trying to make her look like the perpetrator as they prepare their defense in court. It's bizarre.

These are the stories that made the newspapers. When you see the stats you realize that dog attacks and serious injury, even death, occur everyday. Many of today's dogs are being trained to be killers and, to no one's surprise, they learn their lessons well.

Our departing Parks Commissioner, Henry Stern, had issued an edict whereby a window in the leash law was established permitting dogs to run loose in our city parks from 9PM to 9AM the following morning; this, despite the fact that there is a 9PM curfew in all the parks. The police very foolishly deferred to Stern's request for the relaxation of the law and Mayor Giuliani, who appointed Henry Stern to the job, never stepped up and said, “Wait a minute, this is dangerous and should not be permitted.” Can you believe that the police can nonchalantly just “relax” a law? That's what's been happening and there seems to be no solution to the problem. The phrase “you can't fight city hall” comes to mind here and the situation becomes more serious every day.

Have you seen how many people are in the parks in the early morning hours? Children attending the local schools are also a visible presence in those early morning hours. Have you seen the numbers of loose dogs during these hours? Are we on a collision course?

Many of you mothers have already had your problems with the unleashed dogs. Dogs get very excited when they see carriages or little kids running around. Sad to say but not all dogs are friendly despite what their owners may say.

We issue this warning to all park users – do not tease or play with any unleashed dog. Demand that the owners follow the NYC leash law which states that dogs in NYC must be on a leash at all times. There are no exceptions built into the law. Call the police, demand enforcement of the law. You shouldn't be chased from your use of the parks. Also, owners of small dogs should take heed, the larger dogs become very predatory when there are other dogs in their midst. Protect your smaller pet and be careful,

In the meantime, please, become proactive with this problem. We urge everyone to write or call the Parks Department and demand that the leash law be enforced. It makes absolutely no sense to wait for the headline to happen.

The newly appointed NYC Parks Commissioner is –
Adrian Benepe, NYC Parks Commissioner
The Arsenal
Central Park
NYC, NY 10021
Telephone: 311