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Brooklyn's going to the dogs

Dogs get bused to Dyker run

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Professional dog walkers are ferrying pooches into the Dyker Beach Park dog run from all corners of the borough and ruining the leash-free lot for local canines, say pup-owning residents who are getting tired of the interlopers.

Neighbors say hired dog walkers often exceed the posted three-pup-per-person limit at the dog run at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 86th Street — sometimes bringing more than a dozen at a time — which they claimed causes crowding and nasty dogfights.

Bonnie Diaz, who lives across the street from the run, said that a group of pooches being overseen by walker Beth Sampson — who admitted that she trucks in dogs from Ditmas Park — once ganged up on her pet Marley.

Today, Marley takes off whenever Sampson or another dog-sitter arrives with a crew, Diaz said.

“The second somebody pulls up with a lot of dogs, I leave,” Diaz said, adding that the walkers tend to group around the picnic tables by the entrance, making it tough at times to escape without some kind of trouble.

James Gheida of Bensonhurst, who’s been visiting the run for nearly eight years, said that the privately-hired dog-sitters often bring as many as 18 animals to the park at a time, forcing him and his dog Woody to the far corners of the fenced-in lot — or out of it entirely.

“I don’t want to stick around. There’s no way they can control that many dogs,” said Gheida, adding that he’s seen packs of the animals attack single dogs that were at the lot with their owners and reported the incidents to Community Board 10.

CB10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann said she’s heard plenty of complaints like Gheida’s every month.

“People are saying dog walkers bring in huge groups of dogs and that many of them are vicious,” said Beckmann, adding that residents are further infuriated because 311 doesn’t accept complaints about dog-on-dog violence.

A 311 representative confirmed that the city helpline only responds to reports of dog attacks on people, but couldn’t explain why.

But professional dog walkers said the charges against them are untrue.

Sampson confessed that she often brings five or six dogs to the park, but vets her animals for personality problems before bringing them inside the dog run. She also says her dogs never fight with the other canines.

Keeping the peace among her pooches is essential to staying in business.

“If the dogs come back to their owners with marks from fighting, you aren’t going to be a dog walker for long,” Sampson said.

Another professional dogwalker — who refused to give her name — admitted that she brings dogs to Dyker Beach Park from as far away as Park Slope, but said she hires helpers to manage the animals.

She says she never had a problem controlling her pack, suggesting that some dog owners mistake loud play for violence.

“They hear barking and growling and see them chasing each other and they think the dogs are fighting,” the dog walker said. “Really, they’re just having fun.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/#!/WillBredderman

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Reader Feedback

IloveDogs from Bay Ridge says:
I love you BP, but your sources are barely credible in this case. The two dog owners quoted in this article are notorious for stirring up trouble and sparking fights in the park on a regular basis — for the mere purpose of seeking attention and stoking their own egos. Woody is a particular problem, and responsible for 90% of the dog fights in the park.
May 17, 2012, 2:20 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Here's a solution: there are about 97 dog runs in NYC, dog walkers can bring their packs to different dog runs on different days and at different time so as to reduce the crowding on a single dog run as well as the animosity created by repeatedly using the same dog run on the same days at the same time.
May 17, 2012, 2:21 pm
adamben from bedstuy says:
well, if the pros are driving up then make a spot for them at bennett field; plenty of space out there and, believe me, hardly anyone goes there. they can pay a small fee, since they are professionals, for upkeep. then, the city can give tickets to anyone bringing more than 3 unrelated dogs to the regular doggie patches. who would say no to mo' money, mo' money, mo' money?
May 18, 2012, 9:39 am
The park is for everyone from Bay Ridge says:
So- I had to reread this article twice, it was shocking to read to be honest- I bring my dog there every day during the week only so that she can play with the dog walkers dogs- not only are they all playful and fixed and up to date on all their shots but they are watched over closely by the dog walkers- the dog walker that brings in more dogs always has people with her to make sure she is covered and that all the dogs are safe. The other dog walker "Beth" does not bring in that many dogs- this is a ridiculous argument and seems to be someone stirring sh*t to me. I would never bring my dog there on the weekends because not only is that when there are the most fights between the dogs but it is when all the people get into fights as well. It's a park full of drama during the weekends and the people seem to forget that it's a place for the dogs to play. Don;t even get me started on the dogs that are not fixed that come in and are not watched!
The dog walkers are the ones that are mostly responsible for cleaning that park- that is the 2 dog walkers that are there during the week in the mornings until early afternoon. This article is ridiculous and misinforms the readers. The photo above shows the dogs greeting the other dogs that come in, nothing more-
May 18, 2012, 7:37 pm
Frank from Bay Ridge says:
I brought my dog to this run once and decided it would be the last time. My dog got along fine with several others, running about and having a nice time chasing and being chased. Then two dog walkers showed up with some 15-20 large dogs, far too many to watch and control effectively, and let them loose. I kept an open mind and watched carefully since there wasn't exactly any wild behavior yet. However, they had a clear pack mentality and, in large groups, were pushing and chasing individual dogs out of their newly claimed areas in the run. My own dog was chased and knocked down repeatedly. One particular dog from the pack even got down, reared up, tense and waiting, before lunging full speed at mine and knocking him down aggressively.

I know this isn't fighting, but it isn't play either. These are displays of dominance and intimidation to establish territory. The mood in the run changed quickly after their arrival and small skirmishes did break out among the pack and other dogs. My own dog was clearly nervous and no longer having fun, so we left. It was too chaotic compared to other runs I've visited in Manhattan; there was a general lack of pet supervision from several inattentive owners and from the walkers with the large pack of dogs.
May 26, 2012, 2:04 pm
Joey from B'hurst says:
Would you really want all the dog owners present. Where would I park my Escalade?
May 29, 2012, 7:17 am
Patricia Ann Bulldog from Bay Ridge says:
It's true that one dogwalker used to bring in up to 25 dogs at a time, but he was the most responsible person in the park. He watched them carefully and kept their attention on him. He would run around and play with them. He brought gallons of water to the park and picked up all the poop his dogs created! He was always welcome in the park and was very nice and friendly. His name was Gunni and he was welcomed in all the parks in Brooklyn where offleash dogs were allowed. The other dog walkers aren't anything like him but they do sometimes act like they own the park. No more than the other people, however.

The park is very popular because it is so large and the dogs can really get a workout. However the picnic tables are pretty broken down and the plastic chairs people have to bring in are often broken. The parks department takes absolutely no care of the place at all. The trash is emptied by the people who use the park and there is no water for people or dogs. The golf course clubhouse has reclaimed about 1/3 of the original dog park and they are maybe about to take more, while the park is renovated to be an actual dog park. I truly hope the renovation is done with the dogs in mind, and not the golf course!
Aug. 17, 2012, 10:34 am

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