Dog whistle: City hasn’t heard calls for dog run in Marine Park • Brooklyn Paper

Dog whistle: City hasn’t heard calls for dog run in Marine Park

Woof, woof: Rudy Costa and his dog, Franki, want to see a dog run built in Marine Park.
Rudy Costa

These Marine Park dog owners are barking up the wrong tree.

Locals have renewed their calls for a dog run at their eponymous park, but the city still isn’t getting the message, according to the Parks Department.

“A dog run is not currently in progress at Marine Park, and we have not received any requests from the community to add one,” said a Parks Department spokeswoman.

The second online petition in two years calling for a dog run has garnered had more than 700 signatures as of Feb. 21, but Community Board 18 has never formally requested that Parks build one, according to board staff.

Right now, dogs can run without leashes in Marine Park before 9 am and after 9 pm. But some Marine Parkers believe enough of them have dogs — and the park has enough space — to justify building a round-the-clock dog run, where dogs could cavort leashless throughout the day.

“We have the biggest park in Brooklyn. It makes sense,” said Louise Quinlan, whose children take their pit bull out in the park regularly. “A lot of people bring their dogs.”

A dog run would please both humans and canines, according to Rudy Costa, who often takes his rescue dog to walk in the park. He said a dog run would mean less need for people to pick up after their dogs in the rest of the park, and would help the dogs make friends — and maybe their people too.

“It would help the dogs socialize with other dogs and humans too,” said Costa.

One possible location for the dog run is along Avenue U near the Shell Bank Creek, according to a petition asking the Parks Department to build the dog run there. The petition envisions two fenced sections — one for bigger dogs and one for smaller dogs — plus a doggie-friendly water fountain, according to its web page. Past efforts to get a dog run put in the park have also suggested where temporary bocce ball courts used to be as a future site.

The Parks Department is open to the idea of a dog run in Marine Park, according to a spokeswoman, who also said that dog-run boosters need to garner support from Community Board 18, and organize a committed group to enforce rules for the dog run — not to mention finding funding, and a site that the department agrees to in order to get approval for a dog run.

“Parks welcomes all community input and we encourage all local residents to share their Parks-related interests with their local community board,” the spokeswoman said.

Dog runs can cost around $700,000, and usually take around four years to build, she said.

Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) said that the idea of a dog run has been kicking around for a while, but struggles to gain momentum and support.

“People ask all the time. Some people want it, some people don’t,” Maisel said.

One reason for the ambivalence — even among dog owners — is the fact that Parks typically enforces round-the-clock leash restrictions outside the dog run in parks that have them.

Costa is currently focusing his efforts on getting the support of the Marine Park Civic Association before going to the community board. But he faces an uphill battle even with that goal.

The association held off on endorsing the proposal at its Feb. 20 meeting, instead forming a committee to visit parks with dog runs and speak to local before deciding how to proceed, citing cost and enforcement questions as reasons for caution.

“We decided to head to dog runs, and talk to residents so we can have a more informative dialogue,” said association head Bob Tracey. “The biggest concern for me is how enforcement takes place. You can have rules, but what if no one abides by them. Also the cost could be $800,000.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.

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