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Monday, July 07, 2014

Dogs Versus Birds And Birders...Is There A Compromise?

Dog and birds apparently co-existing (for the moment) in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Photo: Yana Paslova for The New York Times.

 Parental Unit is torn: She firmly believes that all dogs need tons of outdoor exercise, including off-leash time whenever possible, and parks close to one's home make that possible. Except...off leash dogs that are not in a specifically designated and fenced, off-leash dog park can be a nuisance at best, and a physical threat to humans, other dogs and wildlife, at worst. This New York Times blog post is actually pretty funny, if it weren't, well, kinda scary.

Apparently there is quite the rift between dog owners and birders in Brooklyn's Prospect Park: Dog owners claim that the birders are downright "mean", and the birders claim that the dog owners are "arrogant". And it appears that the 'twain won't be meeting anytime soon in this 585 acre urban green space. The conflict seems to really be about which species gets to enjoy nature...in the most natural way. Unfortunately, the fact is that "dogs distress birds and can trample the delicate underbrush where birds feed and nest", and it's a lot easier to prevent your dog from distressing and trampling when they're on a leash. Perhaps most importantly, the ordinances for this park require that dogs can only be "untethered" in three of the park's meadows, and only before 9:00 am and after 9:00pm, but dog owners routinely disregard this requirement.

Currently, the City's Park Enforcement Patrol has planted two plain clothes officers in the park, who have issued 141 dog-related summons so far this year, nearly the number issued in all of 2013. And the situation is so heated, the Patrol won't reveal whether their officers are posing as bird watchers or dog owners, "out of concern for the safety of the P. E. P. officers". Yikes! 

Let us know if you have similar troubles in your neck of the woods, and whose side you come out on. We'd love to know!


Sagira said...

Can't make everyone happy all the time. Joys of differences of opinion. LOL

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