Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Red Hook Ikea Dog Controversy

October 14th, 2008 · 9 Comments

We were asleep at the switch on this issue as the news arrived as we were coming off our unplanned break. There was a meeting yesterday about the issue of allowing off-leash dogs in Coffey Park. The issue at hand is extending park hours from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. for all users and designating Coffey Park as the 89th official off-leash park in the city from 6AM to 9AM and from 9PM to the park’s closing. The issue will also be in front of the local community board on Wednesday, October 15 at 6:30PM in the Park House at Coffey Park. Per the email from Amy Haimerl, co-president of the Red hook Dog Association: “There is a lot of debate within the community about this…” (We apologize for not listing the Sunday meeting in advance.)

In any case, speaking of debate, we got this follow-up email yesterday:

I believe Amy Haimerl (co-president of Red Hook Dog Association) recently sent gowanus lounge a note about Red Hook Dog Association’s effort to get Coffey Park’s hours extended and to get Coffey Park designated as an official off-leash park (with off-leash hours daily from 6-9 am and 9-11 pm).

While this has many strong Red Hook supporters, there are some Red Hookers who are reluctant about the proposal, at least partly because they (we) are so used to the guard dogs and attack dogs in Red Hook and of course Red Hook’s erstwhile feral dogs. Obviously attack dogs, fighting dogs, feral dogs, etc., will not be
in the park whether the proposal succeeds or not — people who own guards dogs or run dog fighting rings do not walk their dogs in parks, off-leash or otherwise. However, I think partly because of Red Hook’s unique history with dogs, this issue is unfortunately relatively contentious in Red Hook, compared with other neighborhoods where similar proposals have been made.

Well the issue has been (and remain) deeply contentious in some neighborhoods and parks. We are certain the Red Hook debate will be conducted with the same gentility and restraint for which civic discussion in the neighborhood is known. Which is to say, fasten your seatbelts.

Tags: Animals · Parks · Red Hook · Uncategorized

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amy Haimerl // Oct 14, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    We had a fabulous meeting on Sunday. One that is proof of the strength of Red Hook and the compassion and resilience of its residents. Despite initial differences, we all came together — local leaders, dog owners, non-dog owners, residents of public and private housing, etc. — and agreed to approve the off-leash hours. However, at the request of attendees we’ve agreed to ask that Coffey Park be reopened until 1 a.m., not just from 10 to 11 p.m.

    Thank you to Lillie Marshall, Jay and Andrea McKnight, Elsie Felder, and everyone who has been involved in this effort.

    Amy Haimerl
    Red Hook Dog

  • 2 Allison // Oct 14, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    I’m sad I didn’t get to make it to the meeting. Working on the weekend… no good!
    Now.. it’s time to get myself a dog so I can team up and get things going for an Erie Basin Dog Run!!!

  • 3 Anonymous // Oct 16, 2008 at 10:05 am

    why can’t the demartino dog run on the cusp of red hook, be paved over. It is a dirt pile, has been a dirt pile for years!? Whazzup with that? Makes for dirty doggies.

  • 4 Concerned Dog Owner // Oct 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Why is so “obvious” that attack dogs, fighting dogs, feral dogs, etc., will not be in the park whether the proposal succeeds or not ? Just what, or who, is going to prevent he owner of some nasty pit bull from releasing it during off-leash hours?

  • 5 Orrin // Oct 16, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Concerned Dog Owner:

    What’s preventing the owner of “some nasty pit bull” from releasing it right now without official Off-leash Hours designation?

    Official Off-Leash Hours has rules, dogs must be licensed, vaccinated against rabies, and under the control of the owner. These rules are enforced by the NYPD, the PEP, Sanitation Police, and Health department police.

    Despite the rules, frankly other dog owners who use the area during the designated times use peer pressure to prevent irresponsible dog owners from endangering other users.

    The policy is over 20 years old, was made official parks and health department policy two years ago (unanimously) and exists today in 88 parks in all 5 boroughs.

  • 6 Andrea V. // Oct 29, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Anonymous: The dog owners who use the run in DiMattina Park have been lobbying the Parks Department for a new surface for years. We are having a Halloween fundraiser event this Sunday, November 3rd. See our blog for details.

  • 7 Concerned Dog Owner // Nov 12, 2008 at 11:42 am

    “Official Off-Leash Hours has rules, dogs must be licensed, vaccinated against rabies, and under the control of the owner. These rules are enforced by the NYPD, the PEP, Sanitation Police, and Health department police.”

    A pile of dog crap. Virtually none of the dogs are licensed, no dog owner at off-leash is ever asked to produced a license or evidence of vaccination, and as a practical matter, except for privately-run parks in Manhattan, none of these agencies is enforcing any of these rules in the parks, particularly the basic rule that dogs must be on a six-foot leash at all times other than in designated areas during off-leash hours.

  • 8 Allison // Nov 14, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Concerned Dog Owner:
    In fact, the initial push to get the off-leash hours made official in Coffey Park stems from the fact that police were regularly ticketing dog owners for having their dog off-leash, for tresspassing (being in the park after 10pm), for not having a dog licence (the licence itself, not just the tag), and for having a leash longer than 6 ft. I personally know people who have been ticketed for all of these reasons. The rules are definitely being enforced by NYPD.

    The members of Red Hook Dog are committed to following the laws and promoting responsible dog ownership. Through our example, we’ll encourage other dog owners to do the same. Is it a perfect system? No. There’s always someone who won’t follow the rules no matter what. That’s not a reason to condemn all efforts to organize and improve the community.

  • 9 Antonio_Bklyn // Nov 28, 2008 at 9:18 am

    The approval of designating Coffrey Park as a off leash area is great! I have one concer, I have noticed multiple times that the area is being used as an area for dogs to defecate in. The park is a mixed use area, shared by non-dog owners. What are the regulations regarding sanitary conditions, with respect to dog waste, even if the feces is picked up by the dog’s keeper? There is still residual fecal contamination?