Major Health Concern in NYC

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Anonymous's picture

"I would like to bring to your attention a controversial issue that has embroiled the New York City Parks Commissioner and the New York City Department of Health. This issue affects the safety of every New Yorker, their pets and the wildlife in city parks. According to Transportation Alternatives and other sources in NYC there are currently over 120,000 cyclists that ride everyday, 240,000 inline skaters and 300,00 members of the Road Runner Club. The issue that I am writing to you about will have a direct affect on those people.

New York City's health code currently stipulates that all dogs must be leashed when in a public place. Unfortunately, thanks to an unofficial Parks Dept policy of allowing dogs to run off leash between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am, the current leash law is rarely enforced in any park. This activity would, obviously, not be a problem if it was limited to fenced dog runs. Unfortunately, as we all know, dogs currently can be found running, unleashed in sports fields, horse paths, open fields, roads and woods. This has caused undue injuries to both animals and humans.

Juniper Park Civic Association recently sued the Department of Parks and Recreation for promoting this unwritten ""policy"". On September 26th the parks commissioner petitioned the Board of Health to change the health code to give the Department of Parks and Recreation the authority to enforce the leash law at their discretion in Prospect Park, Central Park or any other city park.

The Board of Health is having a hearing on the proposal on November 1, 2006. They are accepting comments from the public until October 30th. In addition, persons interested in making a public comment at the hearing can pre-register. I hope that you feel as strongly as I do about the implications of unleashed dogs in New York City's parks.

Here is a link to a PDF file that includes general information, two articles from the ""Juniper Berry"" and leash laws in the top ten cities in the US:

You can also find more information at this website:

TIme is running out so I am hoping that I can persuade some of you to send in a comment opposing this illogical and dangerous proposal.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

* * * * * * * * * *

Public Hearing:
Wednesday, November 1, 2006, from 2PM to 4PM
Third-floor Boardroom (Room 330)
125 Worth Street, NY, NY 10013
In your communications with the Board of Health, refer to:
[Article 161 is the formal name of ""The Leash Law""]
All your communication must be to:
Ms. Rena Bryant
Secretary to the Board of Health
125 Worth Street CN-31
New York, NY 10013
Phone:  (212) 788-5010
Fax:    (212) 788-4315
E-Mail: [email protected]

To register to speak, you may phone, fax, email or write (USPS);
If you register by phone, be ready to supply all the required info, and before ending write the name of the person taking the info, and date, time; To speak, register early."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

"What is ""(nm)""? I see that you use it in many of your replies."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
"Actually, Rob Somebody, you DON'T see it in ""many"" of my repl

"It stands for ""no message.""

I initially asked that whomever governs our board stick your message in the thread where you should have put it and which, because you wrote as you did on the board, you know to exist--the thread dedicated to the very subject of your note.

Even more, I originally asked that whomever governs the message board accept only posts where there was a verified e-address so we could reply off the board to the poster.

So now that I've answered you, why don't you answer me: Why don't you include your last name and your e-mail address?"

Anonymous's picture
Ron Thomson (not verified)
link to that thread
Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Frequently Asked Questions
Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

"Thanks for the replies. I had contacted one of NYCC's board members and he recommended that I post my information on the forum. I was the person who started the original ""Unleashed Dogs"" thread and I'm sorry to dredge this subject up again. It's just that we're in need of support if we are to prevent the parks department from successfully changing the law. I'm a cyclist and my wife is a runner so I am keenly aware of the off-leash issues."

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

"A ""major health concern"" would be an outbreak of bubonic plague. This isn't even on the map.

I live near Prospect Park and ride there frequently. Dogs go unleashed before 9:00 a.m.

I've NEVER seen an unleashed dog on the roadway in over 15 years of riding in the park.

The lawn area where the dogs go to run is far fron the roadway.

A total non-issue."

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

There were nearly 6,000 REPORTED dog bites in 2005. In addition, local, state and federal agencies have been tracking an increasing incidence of rabies in NYC & NYS wildlife for the last 5 years.

Dr. Lynne Richardson is on the council of the Board of Health. As the head of emergency medicine at Mt. Sinai her comments indicated that dog bites are indeed a major concern. The Center for Disease Control and many other organizations also believe it is a major concern. But I'll leave it at that, thanks for your time.

Anonymous's picture
RBJ (not verified)

I agree with Bill. Exaggerating to get my attention is not going to 'convince' me of your agenda. Actually it has the opposite effect, even on an issue I may otherwise at least consider. Related to cycling, the 6000 number has no meaning on its own. There is no way to know what proportion of the 6000 bites were on the park drives or in areas heavily trafficked by cyclists (not to mention the number between 9pm and 9am).

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)
lies, damn lies and statistics...

6,000? Citywide or nationwide? How many from unleashed dogs in the park as opposed to dogs that got out of their yard, feral/stray dogs, guard dogs doing their jobs, family pets gone bad in the house, etc?

Leashes don't prevent rabies, vaccines do.

I've actually had more problems with dog owners with long leashes crossing the roadway with their eager pooches than I would if the dog was off-leash. The dog + leash + owner take up more road.

Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)

I absolutely disagree. a month ago in central park my cycling buddies and I almost got into a major accident because some careless dog owner just let his dog wander into the cross walk unleashed when we had a green light. when we confronted him about it, he was rude and indifferent. if we had hit that large dog, not only would the possibility of injury to myself and my fine italian bike be great, but that kooky dog owner would probably try to sue.

I'm all for letting dogs run around. but for their, and our safety, we should really be advocating more fenced dog runs. those dog owners are already nuts as it is, and we all know that this no leash law will bring undue injury to both human, animal and bicycle.

I'm all for bunny hopping a chihuahua, but it's a little more difficult when its a german shepard.

Anonymous's picture
Alex (not verified)
It happened to me too. Chased by unleashed dog in Central Park.
Anonymous's picture
baruch (not verified)
Me too
Anonymous's picture
George (not verified)
Close calls


I have not been attacked by an unleashed dog. I have seen close calls with cars, including one fender bender when the lead car slammed on the brake. Airbags deployed. Driver in second car had bloody nose because of the accident. The dog was not harmed. What is the New York Cycle Club official stance?


Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

Major health concern in NYC - diabetes, AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and . . . oh yeah, unleashed dogs in the park.

Anonymous's picture
Sienna (not verified)

I think we can get this to 100 posts! Chris, Claudette, where are you?

(BTW Claudette, put me down for one of those calendars.)

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

Don't think so small.

Anonymous's picture
The New York Crank (not verified)
Unleashed kvetchers

"Raccoons are notorious spreaders of rabies, and if you ride through Central Park at night, as I have frequently done, you occasionally notice unleashed raccoons. Somebody should do something about that!

Even though they're called ""deer ticks,"" the real carriers of ticks that spread Lyme disease are birds. Lady, leash that Parrot!

My own major health concern is hay fever. Will somebody please leash the pollen?

Finally, I get a big headache from people kvetching about petty stuff. Will somebody please leash the kvetchers?

The New York Crank"

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Don't forget the geese.

They are often sitting on the road in CP near the Harlem Meer. Obviously, shouldn't leave them off the leashes either. (And what about the squirrels?)

Anonymous's picture
The New York Crank (not verified)
Geese, schmeese!

"Geese were covered under the category of ""birds."" If they weren't, I'd also have to mention pigeons. Don't get me started on pigeons. Suffice it to say, I'm a big fan of Pale Male, wherever he's living these days.

--The Crank"

Anonymous's picture
krull (not verified)

I would like to use this moment to complain about people who complain about other people complaining.

cycling trips