On December 12th at Juniper Valley Park, the NYC Parks Department installed a chicken wire fence along the eastern edge of the shady area currently used by a handful of members of the Juniper Valley Park Dog Association as an off-leash exercise zone. This was done in response to numerous complaints received about out-of-control dogs infringing upon the rights of park users utilizing the adjacent path. It was also done to keep the dogs from straying onto the lower ballfields where they have frequently been observed. The fence is along one edge of the off-leash area while the other three sides remain unfenced. A pedestrian path through the off-leash area causes there to be a gap in the middle of the fence, which the dogs may still slip through. It should be noted that the wide path along the western edge, bordering the upper ballfields, is still overrun with dogs.
Interestingly, observed this morning was a woman exercising her golden retriever outside of the off-leash area. She approached another park user who was watching from a park path. The encounter happened something like this:
Violator: “Are you one of those anti-dog people?”
Park User: “No, I am not anti-dog but the off leash area is over there.”
Violator: “That is not an officially designated off-leash area.”
Park User: “There is a sign that says, 'pet exercise area.'”
Violator: “Yes but that was not put there by the Parks Department.”
Park User: “That may be true, but that is where the off-leash dogs are supposed to be.”
Violator: “That is not an enclosed area.”
Park User: “The fence was put up yesterday to prevent off-leash dogs from harassing other park users. Your dog should be behind it.”
Park User: “No, it's not enclosed.”
Since she claims that the Parks Department hasn't designated an off-leash area at Juniper, then she shouldn't have unleashed her dog at all.
This happened within sight of 10 members of the Juniper Valley Park Dog Association, an organization that promised to police the park and enforce the “off-leash rules.” Apparently, there are no rules, because they stood around, as they usually do, gabbing with each other, completely oblivious to all that was going on around them.