So you may be wondering how JPCA feels about the recent decision by the NYC Parks Department which encourages people to unleash their dogs in parks that belong to us, the taxpayers – a decision that puts us, the taxpayers, at risk.

Well, we knew this would inevitably happen. The Parks Department wouldn't have gone through all the trouble of defending themselves in court and seeking permission from the Department of Health if they weren't planning to do exactly what they did. Of course, we disagree and are unhappy with the course of action taken by the Bloomberg administration.

However, the “compromise” that Parks had come up with – and that several dog groups were pushing for – namely that JPCA throw our support behind a dog run in the middle of Juniper Park in order to solve the problem of unleashed dogs in NYC, was wisely rejected by our board. How did Parks prove to us that we made the correct decision? Simple. This is what their new rules state:

“Off-leash hours are not necessary in parks with a dog run (enclosed areas where dog owners may allow their pets to exercise and socialize themselves unleashed). More information, including a list of off-leash areas, dog runs, and all Parks Rules & Regulations concerning dogs in parks is available at The NYC Parks Department's official website.

These words are then impudently contradicted by the list of the many parks where both dog runs and “off-leash hours” are scheduled. So you know what that would have meant for Juniper Park: a stench-filled feces and urine-covered fenced in area (which no one has raised money to maintain), would have been set aside for dog owners, yet they still would have been allowed to run their dogs outside of it. We would have been stuck with the worst of both worlds.

How’s that for a “you’re too stupid to even read” lie? This administration doesn’t care if it’s caught in a lie by its own written words. As long as it’s trumped you!

Then there’s the matter of enforcing whatever rules Mayor Bloomberg pretends are in place. He has hired only some 50 to 60 Park Enforcement Patrol officers to verify that all dogs in all 38,000 acres of parkland are properly licensed, vaccinated, and are “under the owner’s control,” etc., for unleashing on you. These PEP officers work 8-hour shifts only and do not work on weekends. The most favorable arithmetic shows that one PEP officer covers 633 acres per shift. Does Bloomberg really think that you believe that the parks will now be safer with even more thousands of loose, unleashed (and unverified) dogs in our parks? Well, apparently he doesn’t care what you believe.

The dog people's money is what is keeping places like Prospect and Central Parks looking good. The off-leashers were once scorned by Parks Commissioners Adrian Benepe, former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern and the parks conservancies because their pets did a lot of damage to lawns and flowerbeds that are expensive to repair and maintain. So they did something very smart: they began to donate heavily to the conservancies, and these organizations started heaping praise on them while allowing them more freedom. Tupper Thomas, who is Prospect Park's Administrator, has erected illegal signs there encouraging dog owners to unleash their dogs at 5pm, well before the designated off-leash hours.

Yesterday, there was a private session between the parks department and the off-leash dog clubs. The general public wasn't invited to this. Isn't that comforting?

Laws and rules do apply in this city. However, they apparently do not apply to dog owners or anyone else that donates the money that the city depends upon to keep our parks in good condition. Classism is alive and well and practiced regularly by the City of New York.

Sad, isn't it?


From: Lorraine Sciulli
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 14:39:50 -0400
To: dlewandowski@parks.nyc.gov
Cc: felix.perez@parks.nyc.gov
Conversation: Barking Dogs in Juniper Park
Subject: Barking Dogs in Juniper Park

To Dorothy Lewandowski- Re: Barking Dogs in Juniper Park

As you know, Juniper Valley Park is completely surrounded by residential houses. That means there's a heightened sensitivity about unnecessary park noise.

The noise from the barking dogs that congregate in the chicken wired fencing area of Juniper in the early morning hours totally disrupts the residents living on the park periphery. The warmer weather compounds the problem.

Please make an effort to stop this noise so that park residents can have the same respect and attention that has been allotted to dogs and their owners.

As you may know, barking dogs is one of the top quality of life complaints in NYC and we here in the Juniper Valley Park area are being harassed daily by this additional noise in our community.

We look forward to your help in this matter.

Lorraine Sciulli
First Vice President
Juniper Park Civic Association