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K−9 trouble at Canarsie park

Dogs running in Canarsie Park off their leash can be a danger, as one local resident found out.

The woman said she was running in the park one evening when she was approached by a dog off its leash and bitten.

The incident occurred a few weeks back, at around 7:20 p.m., the woman told members of the United Canarsie South Civic Association, gathered at the Hebrew Educational Society (HES), 9501 Seaview Avenue, for their May meeting.

It took her weeks to return to the park, because of fear, the resident added. Finally, she returned, only to see other dogs off leash — “Rottweilers, German shepherds, big dogs. I became scared and went the other way.”

The resident, who asked that her name not be used in the newspaper, said in a subsequent interview that she frequently sees dogs running around the park untethered. “It’s common,” she stressed, adding that she usually doesn’t ask dog owners to put their animals on a leash. “I don’t want anyone to say anything to me that’s inappropriate,” she explained.

“My main concern is people’s safety,” the resident added. “Especially kids, and especially now that it’s warm. There are a lot of runners there, and it’s in a dog’s nature, if it sees someone running, it may go after them.”

During the meeting, Captain Milt Marmara, the commanding officer of the 69th Precinct, said that, “Every dog has to be on a leash that’s less than six feet long. As far as enforcement, if it’s a chronic problem on certain days, let us know. We don’t constantly go on a day to day basis into Canarsie Park, but if it’s chronic, let us know and we’ll address it, especially if they’re dangerous dogs, and especially if they can’t control their dogs, on top of it. If you see a dog that’s off the leash, and that dog is vicious, call 911. We’ll address it right away.”

Phil Abramson, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said in an email statement that, under current Parks Department policy, dog owners are allowed to have their dogs off the leash, “from the time the park opens until 9 a.m., and from 9 p.m. until the park closes,” as long as the dog owners have “proof of current license and rabies vaccination.

“Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers monitor quality−of−life issues in city parks, sometimes in plainclothes,” Abramson stressed, adding that the agency, “is enforcing its rules and working closely with all constituency groups to make sure parks are welcoming to all. PEP officers are focused on quality−of−life issues and begin by issuing a verbal warning when they see an infraction but can issue a summons for a violation of the official rules.”

In addition, said Abramson, “PEP officers may issue summonses to owners who keep their dogs off−leash at other times or are unable to control their dogs at any time.”

The fine for unleashed dogs is $100.

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