We Love Ward Acres!!

Misconceptions

Home
During vs City of New Rochelle
The Amended Ordinance
Ward Acres Appreciation Day
Misconceptions
ELECTION 2007 Results
How Can We ALL Share Ward Acres?
Guidelines for Off-Leash Recreation
Born to Run - Video Testimonials
Sound Bites!
The People Speak
Vandalism and Park Abuse
Non-Residents - THIS IS YOUR CAUSE TOO
Will Fees Obstruct Colonial Greenway?
WVOX - Places to Take Your Dog
The Ward Acres Documentary Project
Meet Lulu & Her Friends
Walk in Ward Acres - Stories, Photos & Videos
F A Q s
How to Contact the City Council. Make Your Bark Heard!
Letter to Dog Owners
Join Our Email List
YAHOO! Group: Friends of Ward Acres

 
Some in the city and its spokespersons would have you believe several
MISCONCEPTIONS
about the Ordinance and dog owners:
 

Misconception
(based on actual public comments & letters by city officials and others)
Reality
"Dog owners are selfish; they want the park to themselves."
Dog and non-dog use of the park can be easily and fairly balanced.  We have proposed several ways to SHARE the park.  We only want to preserve the wonderful community that has arisen, and not see it destroyed by the city's discriminatory ordinance.  It is possible to preserve and nurture the unique decades-old community of dog owners at Ward Acres while affording full & lively enjoyment of the park by users without dogs.  The two goals need not be incompatible.  

"Dogs are dirty and their leavings were all over the park."

Dog owners have been diligent about cleaning up after their dogs.  Prior to the ordinance, the park was kept clean.  There was no need for burdensome rules to regulate dogs.

"Dog owners were greedy; they should have agreed to the fenced-in dog run."

While a fenced-in dog run may be part of a compromise with the city, dog owners want to preserve the experience of exercising themselves and their pets by walking through and exploring the woodland.  Bulldoze all the tennis courts in New Rochelle and replace them with tether ball...How do you think all the tennis players would react? 

A three acre dog run (the most recent size discussed) would squeeze everyone who uses the park with their dogs into less than 5% of the park and it would leave dog owners just standing around rather than exercising themselves.

"Stop whining; what the city has offered in Ward Acres is unique."

It is the ordinance that is unique.  NO OTHER MUNICIPALITY in America we can find requires a fee and a photo ID to walk your dog ON A LEASH in open parkland.  Countless parks in Westchester freely allow on-leash dog walking - what right has the city to charge money for that in Ward Acres?  
 
Yes, walking off-leash is unusual, and we appreciate that in Ward Acres. But off-leash walking is tolerated "off the record" other places in Westchester and routinley accomodated in communities across America.
 
What legitimate reason is there for charging the fees?  The fee looks like an illegal tax on dog owners - the "Dog Tax."  To add insult to injury in early 2007, city spokespeople repeatedly claimed the fee applied ONLY to off-leash dog walking.  Ask the city:  how did the fee end up applying to walking your dog on a leash? 

"Lots of people who want to use the park without dogs can't with all those 'loose dogs' around." 

Since April 1st, the park has stood largely empty during the day.  Where are all those people?  We have no problem with sharing the park, but very few non-dog owning people are actually using it.  The park will only be even more empty and desolate during the upcoming winter.  Why shut dogs and their families out of the park when we are clearly the most active and dedicated users?

The city belives non-dog use will increase once "improvements" are made to the park.  That may well be true and welcomed, but that is no justification for the draconian limitations placed on us now or in the future.  (See Sharing above top.)

"Off-leash dogs are dangerous."

For decades in Ward Acres, dog owners have been exercising SAFELY with their pets off-leash and there have been very few (if any) incidents.  Most dog owners are responsible and don't let their dogs off-leash if the dog isn't trained to obey voice commands.  Dog owners police themselves in this respect.  It is significant that no dog-related incident prompted the ordinance and the new regulations.  The city has yet to explain why dog-related activities should require the burdensome fees and severely curtailed hours.

See our "Guidelines for Off-Leash Recreation" from the Dog Federation of New York.

"I walk my dog on a leash, why can't you?"

For many people, recreating with their dog off-leash is the highlight of their day. Off-leash exercise maximizes the owner's, and the dog's, exercise and provides immeasurable physical, mental and social benefits for the animal. Families who train their dogs to exercise off-leash are trying to raise the healthiest, happiest, and most responsible pet they can. Just because off-leash walking does nothing for you doesn't mean it should be outlawed.

In our obesity-challenged culture, you would think the city would WELCOME this form of inter-species exercise in its community rather then squelch it!

"You have no absolute right to walk your dog in a park so the city can do whatever it wants to you."

Partially true - the city can prohibit from its parks dog walking, picnicking, ball or frisbee playing, bike riding etc.  But that does not mean the city can impose fees on them.  Whether the city allows certain park activities remains a political question.

"That lawsuit is frivolous, preposterous and a waste of taxpayer's money."

Would YOU like to pay a fee and get a photo ID to have a picnic in Ward Acres or to fly a kite or ride a bike?  While you are peaceably walking your dog, would YOU like an armed policeman to stop you and demand to see your photo ID?  The city has exceeded its statutory powers and trampled on our civil rights.  If the ordinance stands, what's to keep the city from imposing ANOTHER photo ID and fee on any of its other parks or on other lawful activites in those parks?  

Under the NY common law and the General Municipal Law, a municipality's parks (playgrounds & libraries) must be free unless there is a facility like a swimming pool or tennis court.  It is the city who is being preposterous and wasting OUR TIME and YOUR tax money by sticking with an illegal ordinance.

"Too many non-residents are using our park, they shouldn't be allowed here."

Some of our most cherished friendships have been struck at Ward Acres between residents and non-residents.  Aside from being an illegal fee to enter a public park, the $250 per dog fee is a de facto exclusion of non-residents from a park that was purchased with NY state conservation funds in 1962, whose bond-authorizing stature specifically prohibits a municipality from excluding non-residents.

The city could, if it wants, construct a limited parking area for Ward Acres and issue parking permits under a schedule of fees (as it does in other parks) and thereby manage the use of the park in a legitimate fashion.

"Professional dog walkers use the park to make money.  That's unfair to taxpayers and wears out the park."

The same can be said of Nannies (professional child walkers!), sports programs and other organized and revenue producing activities.  The city has included a 4 dog limit to address the overuse concern and other limitations or managememt issues may be discussed.  But remember, dog walkers educate us about our pets and provide a very necessary service that benefits all of us whether we own dogs or not.  A properly exercised and socialized dog next door is a benefit to you and the community at large.

 

for more information, go to www.WeLoveWardAcres.net

Print

Use the "Printer Friendly" link to print out this table and give it to your friends.  Or email this web page to your friends.

Enter content here

Enter content here

Enter content here

We Love Ward Acres  *  New Rochelle  *  New York