2002-01-19 / Editorial/Opinion

No End To Wild Dog Problem

No End To Wild Dog Problem

Rockaway's wild dog problem should be an easy one to solve. The motivation is there, especially since the vicious attack on the boardwalk that nearly cost a man his life. The dogs are there and the experts know where to find them. Arverne's empty lots provide all the space the dogs need to roam, to feed and to attack. What is missing from the equation? As usual, the answer to that question is funding. Officials set traps and track the feral dogs as best they can, but there are only 13 staffers available for all of New York City to do that job. They work for the Center for Animal Care and Control, a non-profit organization that rescues abandoned animals under a city contract. Because of the lack of staff, their response time is often slow to non-existent. That is not acceptable to Rockaway. In recent weeks, officers of the police department's elite Emergency Service Unit (ESU) have been responding to dog reports in Rockaway. That is a start, but that unit has far more important things to do than to chase stray dogs. The Center for Animal Care and Control plainly cannot do the job with the staff it now has. "We don't have the staff to just patrol," says an organization spokeswoman. "We can't just send out trucks to ride up and down the streets of New York looking for packs of dogs." That having been said, the city must do one of two things. It must find an agency that can do the job or it must fund the existing agency in such a way that it can complete its mission. Rockaway cannot afford to wait for the new construction in Arverne By The Sea to limit the area the dogs can call home. The city must act now before some child is torn to pieces by a pack of wild dogs.

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