Perhaps it’s because our Dear Orrin crawled out from under his rock and joined the off-leash rejectionist micro-movement very late in the game in 2006-2007 that he feels the need to regurgitate all their old discredited, misinformed, and sophistic “arguments” against the formal NYC Parks Off-leash Hours Policy.
The old tired “arguments” that were rejected in NYS Supreme Court (the rejectionists used to constantly complain that the 20+ year successful was illegal only to learn after their expensive law suit that it was their wishful thinking), at the Health Department (unanimous 13-0 vote in favor of off-leash policy), the Parks Department hearings (that resulted in codified off-leash), and in the NYC Court of Public Opinion, which time after time showed the vast majority of the public supports off-leash hours policy in NYC Parks. A good example of this is the 13,000+ letters (98%) received by the NYC Health Department of public support in favor of Off-leash recreation in City Parks and only 202 (2%) letters received against the Off-leash Policy. Or this TimeOut NY survey that showed that 81% of New Yorkers surveyed supported providing dogs and their owners with some off-leash time in New York City Parks: http://www.nycoffleash.com/html/files/TimeOutNYreaderspoll.pdf
Oh, yes, the rejectionists tried very hard to portray Off-leash recreation as, a) illegal, b) poor public health policy, c) poor parks policy, and d) not supported by the general public. As we all know, recent history shut them down on all fronts and they failed miserably. For those interested, a concise and accurate chronicle can be found here: http://www.nycoffleash.com/html/threat.htm
Don’t let the cold hard facts get in the way of your sophistry, Dear Orrin.
The 2 Percenters (Off-leash Rejectionists) are schizophrenic about the popularity of Off-leash Hours Policy. When it suits their sophistry, they claim that the parks are simply overrun with off-leash dogs and their owners. But then, when it suits their ploy to misinform and mischaracterize the policy, they claim that only a minuscule fraction of dog owners in the City use the Off-leash Hours. So, which is it Dear Orrin? You can’t have it both ways.
We wonder how many people use bocce courts in NYC parks, or the tennis courts, or riding trails, or skating rinks, or locked ball fields like the ones at Juniper Valley Park, or play soccer, or touch football in the parks. Clearly, each activity has a very small percent of the population that participates in each.
Of course, most rational non-haters don’t begrudge their fellow citizens time and space in the Parks to enjoy their specific activity. No rational person is trying to ban birders or cricket players, or runners, Little Leagues playing on locked ball fields, or bocce players, though some of these activities are enjoyed be a very small percentage of the park going public. But Orrin just can’t control his rage and must lash out against his fears and spin his sophistry.
However, as Commissioner Adrian Benepe pointed out recently, dog owners are the largest activity-specific constituency group in the NYC Parks system, other than casual park users. Anyone who bothers to come out to Prospect, Marine, Central, Cadman, Juniper Valley, Riverside, Ft. Greene, or any of the 88 parks where designed off-leash recreation is allowed before 9am will see thousands of people each day utilizing the policy through the park system.
But Orrin and some of his micro-ilk loathe Commissioner Benepe and the Bloomberg Administration—thinking they are somehow controlled by some all powerful Off-leash cabal that is behind the scenes pulling the strings of Mike Bloomberg. Vast conspiracy!
Just this past Saturday in Prospect Park, despite the threat of poor weather, and the beginning of the August vacation season, there were conservatively three hundred dogs and their owners in the Long Meadow alone before 9am enjoying codified Off-leash recreation. More evidence of a vast conspiracy!
How many other activities, such as birding, boating, skating, football, baseball, Frisbee, sunbathing, kite flying, and the list goes on, can even come close to half the number of people that are drawn into the park on a day in and day out basis, in all weather, and in all seasons to exercise and socialize their dogs and to enjoy the company of their fellow citizens? Perhaps running and cycling can come close.
Or perhaps it’s because Orrin's previous Cynical Bogus Racist Ploy was exposed and made our Dear Orrin seem like a bit of a crackpot, that our hero must go back to the well of old failed arguments to come up with something—something!
Alas, Dear Orrin, these arguments failed miserably a year and a half ago when you were late to the party and they will fail again. But keep trying to throw them against the wall. Fight the battle all over again Sisyphus!