2009-03-20 / Letters

The Dog Park Mauling

Dear Editor,

As a dog owner I was extremely saddened to read about the injuries sustained by a mixed breed named Maggie at the paws of a much larger, seemingly vicious dog in Freeway Dog Park last week and I sincerely pray that she makes a complete recovery. However, as a founding member of ARF-ARF, the group that worked very diligently with the Parks Department and elected officials to establish Freeway Park as Rockaway's first official off leash dog park, I was dismayed that Ms. Pasqual, Maggie's purported owner, called for the closing of the park based on this singular incident.

I am a retiree who has frequented the dog park everyday, at various times of the day, along with my dogs, for more than two years, without incident. There is a large group of Rockaway dog owners who use this park as a place to exercise their dogs and socialize with other dogs and their owners. As spring approaches and the days get warmer more dogs than ever will be taking advantage of this wonderful facility.

Of course, there are bound to be scuffles which may get out of hand at times. Unfortunately, some dog owners abuse the privilege and fail to follow rules. Owners of dogs who are not properly socialized and may be prone to fighting are clearly asked not to bring their dogs into the park. In the past two and a half years on rare occasions there have been serious repercussions due to owner irresponsibility. I can think of three such occasions. This is a very small number considering the number of dogs and owners who peacefully enjoy the park all year round.

Ms. Pasqual cites an incident which occurred last May in this article. This is 10 months ago, yet the headline reads "Dog Mauled Again At Freeway Park." This puts a misleading spin on the story making it seem like dogs are mauled every day in the park, which is simply untrue! ARF-ARF membership consists of a tightly knit group of local dog owners who are united in their commitment to responsible dog ownership. We will find the dog responsible for the attack on Maggie and her owner. Justice will be served. Clearly, blame must be put on the person and the pooch responsible, not the place where the incident occurred. Each time a bully beats up a smaller kid in a schoolyard, do we consider closing down the school?

SUSAN JASPER

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