This park’s for the dogs - Brooklyn Paper

This park’s for the dogs

Dogs will have to be satisfied with off-leash hours that end at 9 am. A plan to create a permanent off-leash area has been rejected.
The Brooklyn Paper / Sebastian Kahnert

The persistent pack of dog-owners who want a dog run in historic Fort Greene Park are barking up the wrong tree.

“Nobody wants a dog run near their part of the park,” said Ruth Goldstein, of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, citing unsanitary conditions and noise in pooch pens, which is why the popular Hillside Dog Park in Brooklyn Heights was built near the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, far from steady pedestrian traffic.

Even if residents could agree on the proper site, Goldstein said, the park’s landmark status would make it tough to get city approval to turn a large parcel into a dogs-only zone.

Perhaps it’s for the best, some dog owners said. After all, dogs are allowed to be off their leashes between 9 pm and 9 am in Fort Greene Park — but the Parks Department doesn’t typically allow off-leash hours in parks that have on-site dog runs.

“It’s an either–or proposition,” said Taylor Antrim, author of the acclaimed debut novel “The Headmaster Ritual,” who was out for a walk Monday evening with his dog, Izzy. He said he’d rather keep things the way they are.

“I like getting up early and having all the dogs run around,” he said.

Not everyone is a morning person, which is why supporters of a dog run continue to bring up the proposal at neighborhood meetings and on community Web sites.

But others said that a dog run, however worthwhile, would be too big for the park.

“It’s a historic landmark, so we have to think carefully about how we use it,” said Celine Suarez.

But some dog lovers like having a formal penned-in area for their pups to prowl.

“It’s frustrating; I’ve thought about moving out of here because there’s no dog run in the park,” said Faith Moisan, who added that off-leash hours aren’t appropriate for her two small pups because they are liable to run right out of the park.

Plus, she does not like the idea of being in the park after dark just so she can release her hounds.

“I don’t feel comfortable coming here after 9 pm,” she said.

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