2007-05-18 / Community

Dogs Bark For Joy As Parks Announces Off-Leash Rules

By Miriam Rosenberg

While the debate continues in the community on the merits of having a dog run in Rockaway, New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation has announced new rules designating portions of some city parks, including three in Rockaway, as parks with off-leash areas. In addition, Parks codified its 20 year-old policy of "courtesy hours" for dog owners.

"Through a public process the Parks Department codified the successful, long standing "courtesy hours" policy to benefit all New Yorkers," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe about the rule that took effect on April 10. "We know that a tired dog is a good dog and for the last two decades, this policy has made parks safer and has allowed dog owners to exercise and socialize their pets."

City parks are now divided into four categories - no dogs allowed; dogs must be on leash at all times; designated dog run and designated off-leash area.

Rockaway's designated off-leash area parks are Bayswater Park on Beach 35 Street; Beach Channel West, which is located from Beach 125 Street to Beach 130 Street on the Jamaica Bay bayfront; and Rockaway Community Park, which runs from Beach 32 Street to Beach 56 Street in Edgemere.

Parks with a designated off-leash area allow dogs to be off-leash from the time the park opens until it closes. Those with dogs in off-leash areas must obey all general rules, including having their dog under control at all times, having a license for the dog, and carry proof the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. In related news, during Community Board 14's monthly meeting on May 8, the chair of the board's Parks Committee detailed the most current idea for a dog run in Rockaway proposed by the group Arf Arf.

"Arf Arf proposed a fenced in dog park on Shorefront Parkway between Beach 99 and Beach 100 Streets," said Dan Mundy, the committee's chair. "They suggest a three-month trial."

While the idea of a dog run has the support of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, the location suggested does not have the same support. Because of this, the committee has asked Arf Arf to look for an alternative location and explain why it would, or wouldn't, be suitable.

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