Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One big dog park?

I've seen a total of five dogs off-leash around my hood over the last few weeks. Considering the total amount of time I spend out of doors right now, that's a regular epidemic.

What gives? Is New York so safe now that it's just like one big dog run?

According to the ASPCA,
"it is a violation of the New York City Health Code for an owner to allow his or her dog to be off-leash in a public place."

The law is supposedly to protect citizens from attacks, but what about protecting dogs from the idiocy of their owners?

One of the dogs I saw was a tiny puppy straggling along behind her master and being constantly distracted by the noise and activity on Ninth Avenue where cars and trucks were whizzing by. I saw a Jack Russell (oops, Parson Russell) terrier a few months ago bolt out onto the West Side Highway while its idiot owner ran helplessly after it. Luckily the traffic was stopped at the light. Just a week ago or so someone in my building had their dog off leash on 24th Street. The dog strayed away and ran back toward 9th Avenue where cars and trucks were again whizzing by. As the flustered owner caught up with the dog, I said, in a friendly but slightly sarcastic way, "You know there's a wonderful invention; it's called a LEASH!" He was equally sarcastic and not a bit friendly in replying "Thanks for your advice." It wasn't advice, buddy, it's the law and for good reason. Puppy pancakes in the middle of 9th Avenue is one of them.

New York may be one of the safest big cities, but for dogs, it's still a jungle out there. Keep your dog on a leash, 'k?

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