Community Brainstorming Session: Dog Policy in Brower Park
Date(s) - 11/27/2018
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Dog Policy in Brower Park–Does it provide a safe environment for people and dogs? How do we prevent another loved pet, a child, or a random park visitor, from being hurt? How do we make visiting Brower Park a pleasurable experience for everyone in the community?
Share your experiences and ideas concerning the off-leash dog policy in Brower Park.
We will share your ideas, not your identity or contact information, with the Community including the NYC Parks Management, NYC Elected Officials, the Brooklyn Borough Presidents Office, and Brooklyn Community Board 8.
Friends of Brower Park with Borough President Eric Adam’s Office will be holding a Community Brainstorming Session on November 27, 2018 at 6PM. It is being generously hosted by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
Please leave your contact information so we may communicate with you before the Brainstorming Session. More importantly, take the time to fill out the survey, share your ideas and experiences.
Survey information is now available following the Survey form on this page. The data will be updated as it is received. If you have not filled out the survey please do so now.
I’m sharing my experiences by telling Ralphie’s story along with ideas that may help prevent the next tragedy. Please share your ideas and experiences and by doing so help determine the right Dog Policy for Brower Park and the Brower Park Community.
Little Ralphie’s Brutal Death by Robyn Berland
My beloved dog Ralphie was killed by a large, off-leash dog emerging from Brower Park. The trauma of this attack has left me with nightmares and images I can’t stop from replaying. I no longer feel safe walking my dog Beau in or near Brower Park nor do I cross the street when a large dog appears.On Wednesday evening, August 29, 2018, at approximately 10:30 PM, I took my two small dogs, Beau and Ralphie out for a walk from my apartment on Park Place opposite Brower Park. As the park is often inundated with off-leash dogs in the evening I purposely walk my dogs on the sidewalks outside the park to avoid any altercations with roaming dogs.
As we walked past the park entrance, located along Park Place near Kingston Avenue, I was alerted to a fast movement and running sound coming from my left, from the direction of Brower Park’s main lawn. I quickly picked up Ralphie to protect him. A large off-leash dark brindle dog leapt up and clamped his jaws on Ralphie’s body and my arm. As I screamed, NO NO NO, and attempted to get the dog to release us the owner finally caught up with her dog. The dog ignored her attempts to control him. I directed her to lift the dog’s hind legs; the dog unclenched at some point; the owner leashed the dog, and proceeded to walk simply away. She walked away irrespective of the fact that my dress and undergarments were saturated with blood and that my beloved dog was virtually lifeless.
As a stranger offered to drive us to a local emergency veterinarian, I asked neighbors, who appeared on the scene, to stop the woman. They pursued her but she would not stop. A helpful bystander caught up with the woman and insisted she contact me. Ralphie was pronounced dead on arrival. My dress and undergarments were saturated with his blood. As I removed my bloody garments in the shower the outline of my dress, drawn in Ralphie’s blood covered my body. The following day, I went to the emergency room, to have my wounds treated. I then went to the 77th Precinct to make a report.
I was subsequently informed by a neighbor that as he saw the attack, he approached police officers in a patrol car parked by the Basketball Court and alerted them to the ongoing attack they refused to intervene. The officers did absolutely nothing, and simply sat in their car both during, and after the attack.
This was the second attack since January by an off-leash dog in Brower Park. Ralphie, had been hospitalized four years ago by an off-leash dog that grabbed him around the neck.
In January 2018, at approximately 11a.m. in the morning I was walking both my dogs when, out of the blue, an unleashed dog attacked my dog Ralphie from behind. Then too, the owner retrieved her dog and left the scene without any acknowledgement of Ralphie’s extensive injuries. Ralphie required six months of rehabilitation including three operations at a cost of approximately $16,000. Subsequently, to the attack, I attempted to file a report with the 77th precinct, which refused to take a report because it was a dog-on-dog event. I ultimately made a report to the Parks Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 8. I paid this bill from my retirement fund.
This is a painful story to tell. It represents a mix of profound personal loss and civic outrage. I am a dog owner, and nature lover, a long-term community member and a volunteer to the NYC Parks Department in my volunteer capacity as the Chairperson of the Friends of Brower Park. Ralphie died brutally because of what I consider inappropriate dog policy for Brower Park. We need an immediate alternative to the current off-leash dog policy that endangers humans and their pets. I hope our Brower Park Community by coming together will find a reasonable alternative that allows all of the community to enjoy Brower Park. The status quo creates too high a risk to Public and Dog Safety and limits park enjoyment.
There are many community members, like myself, who are avoiding walking their dogs in Brower Park:
- Joggers, who don’t want to be chased;
- Children walking through the park to PS289 between the hours of 7–9 am are fearful;
- Employees and children visiting the Brooklyn Children’s Museum walk through the park;
- Parents, who don’t want their children coming in contact with fecal matter, and urine;
- Adults who would enjoy walking through the park on warm summer evenings but are simply scared of dogs.
Listed are change ideas for Dog Policy. Please take this opportunity to add your own to the survey.
- Funds must be immediately allocated to provide an enclosed space for dogs to be off-leash while plans for a permanent dog run can be made. There is a need for more dog runs in parks and in neighborhoods to better manage the growing presence of dogs;
- Park rules regarding dogs should be prominently posted;
- Park hours of operation should be prominently posted and clear; Rules that differentiate between people with or without dogs are not fair to the community at large;
- Park Staff need training to be alert to violations of the rules and the ability to call in support when needed;
- The police need to be responsive to needs for dog enforcement;
- All attacks by dogs whether against humans or other dogs must be recorded to provide an accurate accounting of dog and dog owner behavior.
- There need to be consistent consequences for dog owners disobeying rules. Public safety is paramount.
- There needs to be a victims fund set up to cover the financial and emotional cost of these attacks. Possibly as part the dog licensing process.
- Animal Adoption facilities must provide training & management before an adoption can be finalized including full disclosure of the dog’s history with a clear acknowledgement of the responsibility the potential owner is taking on and the consequences of not adhering to recommendations.
To learn about general Dog policy in NYC Parks read the Dogs in NYC Parks then read how the NYC Parks Department has applied these rules to Brower Park.
What our neighbors are saying (as of 11/11/2018):
Policy Statements: Needed Changes to Ensure Public Safety. Check the box if you agree.
- Park rules regarding dogs should be prominently posted and replaced when destroyed–Responses: 82/89.1%
- Park hours of operation should be prominently posted and clear and reflect all-community uses–Responses: 78/84.8%
- Park Staff must be alert to violations of the rules and able to call in support when needed–Responses:66/71.7%
- The police need to be responsive to needs for dog enforcement and Park Staff–Responses:66/71.7%
- Attacks by dogs whether against humans or dogs must be recorded to provide accurate accounting–Responses 72/78.3%
- Funds must be immediately allocated to provide an enclosed space for dogs to be off-leash–Responses:–Responses: 57/62%
- Plans for a permanent dog run and the creation of a Friends Group to maintain the run must be done–Responses: 53/57.6%
- We need consistent consequences for dog owners disobeying rules. Public safety is paramount– Responses: 67/72.8%
- A victims fund must be established to cover the financial and emotional cost of these attacks as part the dog licensing process–Responses: 41/51.1%
- Animal Adoption facilities must provide training & management before an adoption can be finalized. Full disclosure of the dog’s history with a clear acknowledgement of the responsibility the potential owner has assumed in relation to the safety of the community–Responses: 51/55.4%
- Dogs should not be allowed off-leash in Brower Park until an enclosed space is created.
- Prohibit off-leash hours in the Brower Park Oval immediatly until an enclosed dog run is sited and built.
- What is going on with the soccer players with cleates ripping up our new lawn so my daughter and I cannot play catch with out worrying about getting hit by a goal miss?
- Dogs with known aggression issues toward other dogs or strangers should be kept on a leash at all times regardless of the time of day and amount of people presently in the park I would prefer no off-leash dogs in the park.
- No dogs should be allowed in the park, especially after the recent event.
- The park cod probably benefit from better lighting.
- I cant imagine what an alternative would be but the area currently used as a “dog run” is the only open grass section of the park and therefore should NOT be overtuned into a dog run. This park includes a playground, basketball court, track, elementary school and museum. It is NOT a place to put a dog run. Secure, enclosed dog run is imperative
- Animal Care and Control should provide ongoing support and training assistance for the guardians of every adopted animal.
- Immediately have the city parks repair and return the enclosed fenced offleash dog run of Lincoln Park (near handball courts). Recently, several large segments of the fence were removed by the city. This allowed pedestrian pass through, but destroyed its modest role as a dog run. Until then, it had been a useful part of Lincoln Park for dog owners that bothered nobody else in the large fields. Its demise may be adding to pressure if people are going to Brower instead. Midsummer, City took away 2 large sections of the fence enclosure, leaving openings so large in the fencing that it’s unusuable as an offleash place. I stopped going there, instead went to Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park, which is excellent and serves ALL types of park users.
- More NYPD Officers walking through & enforcing laws in the park.
- Dog breeds with known dangerous propensities must be muzzled with out amongst the public.
- Put in a fence around the field with some openings for easy access. Every since the old one was taken down there have been numerous more incidents of dogs running off into the street. The fence created a boundary the dogs understood and often respected.
- Make separate dog runs for big and small dogs; use double-gates so no escapes. Visit Maria Hernandez Park (on Irving Place, Bushwick) around 5 p.m. to see how dog parks can work within a multi-use city park.
- I want to keep the hours as is.
- police need to patrol in order to eliminate motorcyclists riding through the park—a major danger to children in the evening with the poor park lighting
- The people who disobey off-leash hours will certainly not use a dog-run, therefore, incurring such an expense to address a small population of violators will not improve the situation. Violators need to be held responsible for their actions and those who follow the rules (vast majority) should not be punished.
- I think education and awareness of dog ownership is essential
- I don’t think there should be a dog run in Brower Park. It has always been for use by the children the the playground, from the school and the museum.
- Dogs should not be allowed off-leash in Brower Park until an enclosed space is created., Off leash rules should be reviewed, possibly rescinded.
- Immediate temporary enclosure for a dog run.
Share your ideas:
- “As for the dogs my 13 year old daughter and I cannot play catch when they are around. Whose park is this? the Dogs?” (DH)
- “The green on Brower park should be fully enclosed and gated. Everyone can enjoy the park together, and a simple and small extension of the fence (it’s mostly fenced already) can ensure that those without dogs are not bothered by the dogs during early morning and twilight hours.” (GM)
- “I have two suggestions. 1. Heavy fines involved when your dog kills another, PLUS a negotiation of payment to the owner of the dog that has been killed. 2. If a dog attacks another dog and causes harm, but does not kill – a citation should be issued for a heavy fine. If the ownders can prove that they have done certified training to correct that behavior, and have shown the receipts that they have covered the costs of the harm their animal has done to another, then they do not have to pay the heavy fine. This works of course only we have enforcement. But this could increase funds for the city, (by making the fines/tickets big enough that they covers the cost of the administration/enforcement) and ensure accountability. I don’t know if this is realistic, but I feel like until fines are enforced, and people are held accountable, we can’t expect change.” (NC)
- “Brower is a great park to walk and just take in the day. I also discovered this park because of my dog. But now frankly I don’t even let my dog off leash anyway, because people litter so much and my dog only wants to go scavenge for chicken bones. But if we have a dog run, we have a great community of dog owners who can quickly help to deal with any dogs who act inappropriately. Also in a dog run, dogs who attack can be can be gotten to much quicker and disciplined much more quickly in an enclosed space, thus keeping people safe from dogs who have not been trained properly.” (LT)
- “I am sorry for your loss and grateful for your outreach. Hope this resolves and thank you.” (YL)
- “There should be no dogs in the park, the park is too small with a number of activities going on. This recent attack proves that dogs should not be permitted because there is always gonna be a dog owner who will refuse to adhere to the rules. It’s to dangerous to risk, this time it was Ralphie, next time it could be a child. Some dogs just aren’t friendly and the community should not be willingly exposed to that danger. Then there’s the issue of the unsanitary conditions small children are exposed to. My condolences I’m very sorry for the loss of Ralphie.” (RK)
- “I cant imagine what an alternative would be but the area currently used as a “dog run” is the only open grass section of the park and therefore should NOT be overtuned into a dog run. This park includes a playground, basketball court, track, elementary school and museum. It is NOT a place to put a dog run.” (LD)
- “Cameras need to be installed on park grounds to monitor dogs off their leash and their owners.” (GM)
- “include in the dog run a cordoned off area for unsocialized/special needs dog.” (DN)
- “This is horrifying and I’m often scared to bring my kid to this park bc of how thunderdom it’s vibe is” (AB)
- “1) STRONGLY SUGGEST: Before this meeting, those calling the meeting should go see Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick (Irving Place) to see a fenced dog park within a community park, where it all really works! Their two dog runs (large and small dogs separated) have double-gates and flip-handles, so dogs do NOT escape the runs. The size of each is appropriate to serve the many users. It is comfortable: water fountain and benches are inside the fenced are.a. People stay generally 15 min or an hour per visit, in my observation. Waste disposal bins are immediately outside the entry gate. A dog shop nearby advertises itself by stocking plastic baggies for pooper-scooping. There’s a culture of alert, aware, caring, responsible owners. It is AVAILABLE and well used, all day & eve as long as park is open to all. In same park, you’ll see the rest of it used beautifully for families, sports, picnics. The paved pathways function for leashed dogwalking, as not every dog owner likes an offleash park. Some do both ways. I think Brower would be greatly improved by creating two fenced offleash all-day/eve dog parks (separate big and small dogs, that’s very important). Make it big enough for a big dog to break into a real run! Then leave the rest of the park for everyone else. If we could PROVIDE for dog owners generously within a fenced offleash place, they have no reason to take over the entire park. 2) In the testimony written above, I express my sympathy for the owner of the attacked/killed dog. Was it onleash at the time of the incident? I’m so sorry. ALso are you absolutely sure that was “a pitbull” that did it? I ask because there are 6 kinds of Bully Breeds; only one (the “American Pitbull Terrier”) is actually a pitbull. So often other dogs (like, mastiffs or mixed-breeds) are mistakenly called “pitbulls” which derails conversations and gets everyone excited over the wrong things. If you retell the incident, please consider describing that dog as “a muscular, unleashed dog with Dog Aggression.” Otherwise the brainstorm meeting might get hung up and polarized over “pitbulls” when the breed type is beside-the-point really here. Dealing with dog aggression among MANY types of dogs (not just pitbulls) is important but another day’s work. Again, I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved little dog; what a trauma.” (MT)
- “Muzzled the breeds with dangerous propensities.” (ET)
- “At the time of dog registration owners should be responsible for purchase of liability insurance, cost based on the breed of dog .” (CL)
- “A specific fenced in area should be provided for dogs, running along the South West section of the park closest to the side walk on Park Place. There is ample room and this large section is typically only used by dogs on a leash currently.” (LM)
- “Put in a fence around the field. Both the dog owners and the soccer players would love it and I’m sure we would all happily raise funds for such a project. It could have lots of openings the way the old one did, but it still would make a huge difference. Fewer dogs would run after joggers or into the street. The police need to police the park — and that means for EVERYONE not just the dog owners. Kids race through the park on motorcycles constantly and the cops do nothing. Women are attacked by dogs and they do nothing. There was a lost beagle wandering the streets, disrupting traffic, and a good samaritan begged a passing cop to help but she refused. Certain dogs attack other dogs (and people) again and again, and nothing happens. There need to be real consequences for irresponsible dog owners, and yes that means the cops need to get involved.” (PR)
- “If dog owners have convenient access to secure dog runs where their dogs may safely run off leash, the chances of another dog attack diminish significantly. What are next steps as a community to garner support and funding for a neighborhood dog run?” (EQ)
- “I do believe that signage around the park can be better to more clearly communicate off leash hours, rules and expectations. I would be in favor of a fenced in area, but only if it fenced in the large meadow in the middle where the dogs currently play, not off to the side in a tiny area. I think tiny enclosed areas create more problems for dogs.” (IV)
- “This was a horrible experience for this dog and owner but I don’t want that to ruin this off leash time for the rest of us that are responsible dog owners.”(JV)
- “We need more park lighting to encourage more community during all hours of the park opening. Community events with a clearly-posted community board with details needs to be made available to all park-goers to ensure everyone is using (and helping) the park to its potential.” (BP)
- “Dogs are required to be licensed by the Dept. of Health. When Parks Dept. Officials or Police interact with someone violating the rules then a report should be tied to that individual’s dog license number. Failure to properly license your dog should be punishable by a fine. Persistent Violators should be held accountable for their actions. These fines can then support the Parks Department or help in some other capacity. Dog Runs take up space from other park users, are unsanitary, fail to provide adequate space for dogs and owners, don’t provide a safe surface like grass for dogs to run, create a concentrated area of dog waste that stinks, and will not resolve the problem of people who allow their dogs off leash outside of the hours of 9PM and 9AM. (ZD)
- “One irresponsible person should not impact the freedom of the hundreds of community members who obey the rules. Specifically, funding allocation and policy changes should not be the result of panic due to a single event. Community funds should only be allocated and policies implemented if there is evidence of actual recurring danger that is statistically significant and comparable to other dangers present in the park that make it a priority.” (JW)
- “Off leash hours are an important time for many dog owners and should not be discontinued. The number of dog owners at the park during off hours serve as a deterrent to any illegal activity going on at the park, and help as a community watch. Dog runs are unsanitary and I would not want my dog, who I treat and love as my family, to ever use a dog run. Creating a dog run would be a waste of tax payer money, money that can be used to help renovate the playground and lawn. Creating a ban in off leash hours do not deter irresponsible dog owners from not following the rules, but only punish responsible dog owners. A dog run would not be beneficial to anyone. Instead of a dog run, education to irresponsible owners and setting up a community watch that can help alleviate police/parks department in reprimanding violators would be a better solution to future dog attacks. This way the community would be able to record/account for all dog on dog/dog to human attacks. Creating a fence around the main lawn is also a better solution, and can help prevent future problems.” (LT)
- “I agree with the proposal to rebuild a fence. Its the most sensible cost-effective option and it addresses everyone’s concerns.” (EF)
- “In the mornings and after 9PM, the primary users of the park are dog owners. Ending off-leash hours would cut off the majority of community members who use the park during those times. And their use does not prevent others from using it too. The idea that a tragic event like the death of Ralphie would be used to end a policy that helps so many other dogs be happy and healthy is disheartening to say the least. A fence around the field would be a solution that is cheaper than a dog run and solve these perceived problems. I worry that “temporarily” ending off-leash would simply become a permanent ban while funds are never found for a dog run.” (SL)
Share your experiences:
- “I am a relatively new neighbor who moved to Park Place over the summer and love this neighborhood and community. I witnessed this dog attack from across the street and down the block (from the patio in front of my building) and what happened after. I also spoke with an elderly neighbor who was very shaken up after seeing what had happened. It could have been a child that was attacked, which is a terrifying idea to any community member. I think all dogs should be leashed while in the park. I don’t think it’s a great use of community resources to build a “dog run” in the park – because the first priority should be to make it safe for people – or to have more police patrolling the park. But I support more signage to make people aware their dog should be leashed and better accounting of incidents like this.” (CB)
- “Although I am not a dog owner, I feel strongly about the views that I selected. I believe that we have to secure safety for all pets and their owners. Those who violate the safety of others should be held accountable.” (SB)
- “In 2016, I started jogging and went to Brower Park after dropping off my kids. I did only two laps when a huge dog started running towards me. I yelled for the owner to get the dog and he laughed screaming his dog was friendly. Nothing happened to me physically but I didn’t feel safe to continue jogging. A community park should be inclusive should all members.” (CB)
- “I actively avoid this park when there are dogs off leash!”(KR)
- “My grandmother’s dog bit me on the head when I was a toddler. Because of this, I have a strong dislike of most dogs. I keep my distance from unleashed dogs (and even leashed big dogs). I avoid Brower Park during off-leash times because I am scared that they will bite me or my children. Even when dogs are not on the Brower Park Oval, I don’t let my kids play on the grass because of the dog poop and piss. I think that it is a damn shame the the neighborhood’s largest and most democratic green space is dominated by people who seem to think it is their private backyard and let their dogs ruin it. It is not fair. Kids want to play on a big lawn; young people want a place to sprawl and chat; families want a place to gather and picnic; elders want to sit in the park and not smell dog poop. I want to strongly advocate for an end to off-leash dog running in the Oval, a ramp up on enforcing the current dog rules, and the construction of a dog run on or near Brower Park.” (LG)
- “I often see dogs off-leash during the day in Brower Park.” (SW)
- “I have not had a bad experience with dogs in the part but… I do have small children who play there daily and am concerned for their safety when I see unleashed dogs. I do not trust that every person with a dog has trained them well enough to be off leash or has the judgement to discern whether or not they are a threat to other dogs or people in the community if unleashed.” (KL)
- “I have 2 dachshunds, and I stopped taking my dogs to Brower about 6 years ago because there were too many big dogs with owners that had no control over them. I also saw a couple dog fights, and I decided to stop going because I was afraid my dogs could be next, and they wouldn’t have a chance .” (DH)
- “As a dog lover and owner of my own furry best-friend, I was pained to hear of Ralphie’s death. While the devotion shown to our dogs may strike those without dogs as hyperbolic, any dog lover will know what a truly tragic loss Ms. Berland has suffered–my heart goes out to you. In moving past this incident, it is my sincere hope that the community learns and takes appropriate action: action that is tempered by the needs of the community at large, action that is progressive rather than vindictive, and action that will ultimately make the park a more inclusive place. Some of Ms. Berland’s demands clearly meet that standard. In particular, her calls for clearer posting of the rules and a fully enclosed dog area are surely long overdue and would benefit everyone. Dog owners, of course, would be grateful to have the assurance that their dogs could not explore outside the bounds of the park, and likewise those wishing to avoid dogs would not have to feel anxiety at seeing unenclosed dogs off leash. In the many early mornings and late nights I have brought my own rescued dog, Biga, to Brower for socialization, rehabilitation, training and exercise, I would have been grateful to have the assurances of a fence given the parks close proximity to the street, and I fully support completing the enclosure around Brower’s central green. A full enclosure would help reign in stray balls during the regular soccer matches, and parents too could take comfort in some barrier between the green and the street. That being said, I hope that this tragedy is not used to build resentment towards dog owners and their use of the park. The City is a difficult place for dogs, yet a necessary one given its great resources and capacity to house a staggering number of animals rescued from heart-wrenching situations. My own dog, Biga, was rescued all the way from Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and suffered from extreme neglect, a host of skin infections, and severe trauma. Brower park and its open green allowed her to run freely, to fetch balls, to socialize with other dogs, and to learn how to be a dog again. I brought my little terrified Texan there nearly every day, often twice a day, through sleet, snow, and pouring rain, often when the park was only occupied by those resilient few who love their dogs–and the park–to rise an hour early in the frosty New York dawn to give their companions time to exercise and be free. For my partner and myself, Brower park and its dog friendly space became our connection to the community, and we built lasting friendships and solidarity as we raised our pup back to good health. Dog owners truly love Brower park and the space it provides for their pets, and regulars know and abide by the rules, respect the space, and generally use the park when it would otherwise go unused. As dog owners, we understood and accepted the risks associated with open dog socialization (dogs, like children, play, trip, sprain themselves, and occasionally fight), and the legitimate grievance of Ms. Berland is that she did not ask for this; her dog was attacked by a dog who should have never left the park whose owner was not a regular who respected the community or Ms Berland in fleeing the scene, and she has every right to pursue legal action against the owner. The solution, however, is better fencing to confine the risks of a public dog space to those who assume them during designated off-leash hours. It is not to call for the euthanization of more dogs or ask that armed police favor enforcing pedestrian park-use issues over violent crime and gun violence. Sadly, after years of living in Crown Heights, last month I made a temporary move away from the community to be with my partner (love asks crazy things of us), but my heart still feels connected to the community we left behind. I hope that in the coming years, it and all its members, four-legged or otherwise, will still be there waiting for us. In sympathy, Gabriel” (GM)
- “My dog was attacked in the park by an off leash pit bull 3 years ago. While the other owner apologized, she was unable to help cover any of the medical bills which were a couple thousand. Since that time we have avoided the park during off leash hours and stuck to the sidewalks. After hearing about Ralphie we may start avoiding the park altogether until better safety measures can be implemented.” (CM)
- “Brower is a great park to walk and just take in the day. I also discovered this park because of my dog. But now frankly I don’t even let my dog off leash anyway, because people litter so much and my dog only wants to go scavenge for chicken bones. But if we have a dog run, we have a great community of dog owners who can quickly help to deal with any dogs who act inappropriately. Also in a dog run, dogs who attack can be can be gotten to much quicker and disciplined much more quickly in an enclosed space, thus keeping people safe from dogs who have not been trained properly.”(NC)
- “I walk my dog near and around that park all the time. It’s heartbreaking to think of what would have happened had i been near the park during the time this aggressive dog was.” (LT)
- “I have two older dogs and do not take my dogs to the park because 1) there is no enclosed dog run, 2) to avoid those dog owners who seem uninterested in following or respecting the park’s rules.” (DJ)
- “I am so sad to hear about Ralphie, what a horrific story. That said, I have never had an experience like this in my time living across the street from the park. I am constantly impressed at how good the dogs are & how closely the owners are usually watching them. I’ve gone to many dog parks over the years & had terrible experiences & I cherish my time at Brower when it’s off leash time. In fact, it was a big reason I moved over here. Regarding police not patrolling, I watched a bunch of people get tickets for having dogs off leash before 9pm just a few months ago… so they have been pretty serious about not allowing people to utilize the park off leash during hours it’s not allowed. I personally have been told to leave the park numerous times by 9:45/10pm by the police when it’s “closing time.” Brower is a public park and citizens should be able to use it to relax & enjoy their time & bring their pets- everyone shouldn’t be punished for the poor judgement and actions of these two people & their dogs. There already are far too few places in the city to bring our dogs to socialize and play and roam, being limited to before 9am and after 9pm is restricting enough. We should however as a community of dog lovers and park lovers work together to communicate and have eyes out for animals that are not friendly and a risk to others.” (EP)
- “My dog was attacked in December of 2017 by an off leash dog. My dog was also off leash but not interacting with this dog. The owner refused to pay for the vet bills. However my dog needs a lot of exercise and a small enclosed dog run isn’t going to be enough. I’d prefer either the entire grass circle be enclosed and reserved for dogs after 9pm, or it remain as is. The well behaved dogs of the neighborhood shouldn’t be punished because of a few isolated incidents. Overall the dogs that come to the off leash hours at the park are well behaved and it provides them time to socialize and gives them room to get out their energy. We are lucky to have such a large area for our dogs to play.” (BT)
- “I am an off leash dog owner. I am so sorry this happened to you. I feel for you as my dog was once attacked and understand how it feels. That being said I was verbally attacked tonight in the park by a man saying all these things to me. I just want to be there with my dog and enjoy the night. He wouldn’t leave me alone untill I had to run away from the park. This is not the answer. I called my friend while running scared that this man was going to follow me. Please stop this thread it will do nothing but heat things up more. We follow the off leash rules. And these rules are here for a reason. I’ve never met nicer people than the people I met here at this park I the community I love. And this hurts me so much to say but I’m terrified to go back and see this man. What if I was alone tonight? What would he done.” (ML)
- “I’m so, so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. Those posters are absolutely heartbreaking. I just moved to the neighborhood a few months ago and haven’t spent any time in the park to be honest, but I agree with most of the improvements you are proposing. I truly don’t have the time to participate in any park improvement efforts at the moment, but best of luck.” (JM)
- “I cant imagine what an alternative would be but the area currently used as a “dog run” is the only open grass section of the park and therefore should NOT be overtuned into a dog run. This park includes a playground, basketball court, track, elementary school and museum. It is NOT a place to put a dog run.” (LD)
- “I’m looking forward to seeing where this discussion goes! I’m a dog owner and was so sorry to hear about the loss. I go to brower park ever morning and evening and it’s such an important space for my dogs and me. In the 2+ years I’ve used the park I’ve had no major issues and think that most dogs and dog owners self police pretty well. I would be excited if there was support for a dog run. Regarding off leash hours, i think that most dog owners know the hours. The police are already pretty present and that has picked up a LOT already in the last 6-9 months. I feel pretty strongly that we need to keep a place in the neighborhood where dogs can socialize and exercise; that really helps keep behavior better.” (CK)
- “I no longer go near the park with my dog because far too many experiences with dogs off lead well after scheduled “dog-park hours”(DN)
- “Any off-leash dog area MUST be enclosed. I live across the street and frequently hear dog fights in the early mornings, see dogs roaming the park without owners, have had dogs run towards me (I am afraid of dogs so this makes me very nervous), and have seen dogs run out of the park onto Park place and Brooklyn Avenue. Finally, I can’t enjoy the grassy area because the dogs have destroyed the lawn, plus I don’t want to sit in dog shit or urine.” (CN)
- “I’ve always had a good experience in that far I’m saddened to hear that such a tragedy happen and something needs to be done about it not just for the sake of the animals for the children and adults that frequent the park” (DD)
- “As a dog owner in Crown Heights, with a well-socialized 45-lb American Staffordshire Terrier rescue pup of 6 months, her training and vaccinations were completed and I was looking around for a dog park. I *heard* from my neighbors in Weeksville that Brower was unleashed, but when I got there midday, I saw no other off-leash dogs. So I just kept mine onleash and never returned to that park. (I did snap a photo of the tribute to Shirley Chisholm, with my leashed dog sitting in front of that, very cute). I’m very needful, daily, of a place for my dog to run offleash sometime during the day. Well-exercised dogs are calmer and better behaved. Leashwalks do not accomplish this as effectively as offleash, CLOSED-IN parks. Thank you for including on your list “Funds for an offleash fenced-in park immediately…” as it is really needed. Also, know that I raised 3 children so I do think about their safety needs, too. I believe everyone can “win” here, just divide the park up for differing users. I’ll try very much to make the meeting (not tues nights, though). Finally, it is helpful to understand that longtime neighborhood residents, as well as newcomers, own dogs and very much use dogparks. I think sometimes it’s mischaracterized as a “gentrifier” artisan thing, but really, it’s not. I meet both kinds of people up at Maria Hernandez — oldtime neighborhood dogowners as well as newcomers. Let’s unite, and not divide! We have a great neighborhood that can serve everyone well. THANK YOU for your activism here! – Marta Tanenbaum, 1496 Prospect Place #1, 11213″ (MT)
- “I rarely visit Brower Park with my 1 year old but yesterday I decided to walk 3 blocks over and I was on edge as several pit bulls were off leash as I walked by with my baby .” (SK)
- “I rarely visit Brower Park with my 1 year old but yesterday I decided to walk 3 blocks over and I was on edge as several pit bulls were off leash as I walked by with my baby .” (UN)
- “my 3 legged dog is over come by excited rambunctious dogs off leash, (dogs will be dogs) particularly large dogs that can easily damage her already delicate frame. We no longer take her to the park on or off leash.” (LC)
- “My husband and I moved onto Park Place, directly opposite the entrance to the park 4 years ago, while we do not own a dog, we frequently dog sit for a friend. The dog is a large well trained, friendly one, both with humans and other dogs. When we first moved in I loved taking her to the park during off leash hours, however, over the last 2 years the amount of dogs has tripled during off leash hours. I can no longer take her there as it it just too overwhelming, I consider it dangerous for both the dog and myself. I have frequently observed dogs fighting together and running off the grass, it is what I would consider an high stress situation. I also feel that the main section of the park should be for people in the community and families to picnic on or work out in. Dogs constantly urinate on the large section of grass, I’d like to be able to lay on the grass in the nice weather and not worry about dog urine and feces. In addition I believe that there should be a designated area for soccer playing. The team that plays there every weekend have destroyed the grass and have left a huge dusty section in the middle of the park that turns to mud in the rain. There has been several times that that we have been laying on the outskirts of main lawn and have had a soccer ball come hurtling towards us. As we think about starting a family we have to reconsider our location, we always felt this was the perfect street to raise a child but between the dogs and the soccer balls there isn’t a chance that I would feel comfortable taking a small child to the park for an afternoon. We have such a beautiful park but it is being destroyed, we have to look after and nurture our little area before there are more dog attacks, that could easily have been a child.” (LM)
- “I go for an hour of off leash fun every morning with my labradoodle puppy. It is the best part of her day — and mine as well. She is happy and well socialized and wouldn’t hurt a fly. I have made wonderful friends and feel connected to the community in a way I never did before. Keep off leash hours!!” (PR)
- “Is unfortunate when I’m accident or attack happens but still a whole community should not be punished because of 1 dog. It would be great if we had a dog run but unfortunately we don’t. So the anything we do have is the off leash time that we currently have. It is not fair to punish the rest of the dog park community because of 1 or two dogs and their owners. I value the time I have in the park when my dogs gets to run free and play with other dogs. I really hope this wint be taken away from us” (LD)
- “Brower Park and the off leash hours at the park are an integral part of my connection to my community, and I know this is the case for myself and many dog owners. My husband and I moved to the neighborhood a year ago, and the park has been a source of countless connections that I greatly value. In my experience, the dog owners at Brower Park are engaged and in tune with what is happening a the park. They respect the park rules, they clean up after their dogs (and in fact- we often even pick up trash and waste that is left by others in an effort to keep the park clean). I have seen one or two skirmishes at the park between dogs, never anything aggressive (and note: I am generally at the park for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening because I have a very active dog) Though I understand that Ralphie’s death was brutal, the owner’s depiction of the park is simply inconsistent with the reality of what happens at the park during off leash hours. Dogs play calmly, and their owners have them under control. No one is afraid to go past the park, school children or other adults. If this is of doubt to anyone, I invite them to be my guest at the dog park any day of the week at 7:30 AM.” (IV)
- “I love the off leash time in the morning.”(JV)
- “I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, enjoying the parks with my various dogs (on and off-leash hour’s) without incident. When I had a dog who was not friendly, he was kept leashed and away from others. My current dogs are friendly and enjoy off-leash time. I’ve been working with dogs for over 20 years and socialization is essential to their well-being. The group at Brower Park is responsible, caring and attentive. They should not be punished because one person was irresponsible with their pet.” (JN)
- “I have not seen dogs off leash other than during off-leash hours. I feel dog owners using the park during off-leash hours are responsible for making sure dogs remain in the central area and consistently clean up after their dogs. I also see plenty of children and exercisers using the park during off-leash hours without being disturbed by dogs. Owners seem very attentive to the behavior of their dogs during off-leash hours – dogs that are unsocialized are kept on leash or removed if they become aggressive. Overall, I have consistently witnessed people being responsible and attentive to their animals.” (EW)
- “A wonderful community and group of friends has emerged for both me and my dog through use of the morning and night off-leash hours. My dog enjoys the freedom to run and play fetch, while playing with other dogs in a safe and friendly environment. It’s this group of people and off-leash community that helped me become a resident of Crown Heights and feel welcome after moving to NYC. It’s very important that we retain this community and social infrastructure because without it, a lot of dogs will be left to their own devices when being unsocialized.” (BP)
- “The vast majority of dog owners who enjoy Brower Park are responsible and voting members of the community. They abide by the rules and don’t allow their dogs off leash outside the hours of 9PM and 9AM. The vast majority of dog owners who enjoy Brower Park have used the park to appropriately socialize their dog in the wide open space of Brower Park. A properly socialized dog does not present a danger, however, dog runs are unsanitary, small, and don’t provide an environment conducive to properly socializing puppies during the most important time of their social development (prior to receiving their vaccinations required to protect them from the unsanitary conditions of a dog run). Dog Owners who enjoy the park after 9PM also serve as a kind of ‘neighborhood watch’ because they socialize with one another while their dogs enjoy the wide open space, getting the exercise necessary to live a healthy life in an Urban Environment. Dog Owners and their Dogs who are responsibly enjoying the park after 9PM deter crime/mischief therefore helping to police the neighborhood and relieve the understaffed police department. A dog run would provide a cramped space that would not allow dogs to achieve the exercise required to live a healthy life in an urban environment. It would also strip the park of a strong community of responsible dog owners who enjoy their time together and help to protect the park and neighborhood from people who would not use the space appropriately after dark. People who do not follow the rules now will not follow the rules when a dog run is available and there will be no more enforcement available to police the few violators who will still allow their dog off leash in violation of the rules. Please do not punish responsible citizens for a small population of irresponsible citizens. Please consider the approach to enforcing the rules and holding violators responsible rather than forcing the responsible dog owners into an unsanitary dog run that will fail to provide a proper environment for properly socialized dogs.” (ZD)
- “I go to the park several times a week with my dog at 8am. 99% of owners are responsible, monitor their dogs, and pick up after them. The dog owner community has no tolerance for off leash aggressive dogs and will notify an owner directly if their dog is not well managed and request that they leave the area.” (JW)
- “I am a dog owner and use Brower park frequently, during off leash and on leash hours. I consider myself a responsible dog owner and follow the rules of the park. I believe the off leash hours are a very important part to our community in helping socialize dogs and allows dogs to release their pent up energy. My dog experience has been wonderful and I have found a community of dog owners that are very respectful and responsible with their dogs.” (LT)
- “I love Brower Park’s offleash hours. Although it is a bit of a trek, I bring my Aussiedoodle puppy Milo there a few nights a week. It’s the closest offleash hours from my apartment. Offleash hours is wonderful for his socialization with people and pups. It’s typically the only time of day when he’s able to really let loose. It’s also a great opportunity for me to interact with my local community. I don’t really interact with my neighbors much but at offleash hours I’m able to meet so many wonderful people through our common interest.” (EF)
- “Living close to Brower Park was one of the reasons we were excited to adopt a dog. The off leash play in the mornings and at night are highlights of our day, and certainly THE highlights of our dog’s day. We recently went to the park in the morning with a dog trainer who commented “These are the good dogs, and these are the good owners: people willing to get up and spend time every day, letting the dogs run around.” Off-leash play is not only essential for dogs happiness and good behavior, it’s the MOST essential thing. Exercised, well socialized dogs are more calm, obedient and submissive than dogs kept cooped up or always on leashes. Plus, I have met more people from the neighborhood since getting a dog than I had in the preceding 8 years living here combined. We don’t necessarily have a lot in common apart from loving our dogs and sharing the knowledge that off-leash play is essential to their well being. I’ll add that while running on Eastern Parkway, I was bit by a dog on my abdomen. The dog was on a leash.” (SL)
- “My experience at Brower Park has always been a positive one. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 20 years and having a space to take my dog that is within walking distance is important. There were very few instances of dogs on leash and off leash showing aggression, but I do not think an entire dog community should be punished! Most dog owners are responsible (train their dogs to respond on command, pick up their pet’s waste, etc.) and respectful of rules (put dog on leash during the posted hours). My dog was a victim of an on leash dog’s aggression, and I still believe that that was an isolated event and that ALL dogs should NOT be held accountable.” (KR)