Attention, Dog Owners!
The Central Park Conservancy has launched a new campaign called “Tighten the Leash” (that’s really the name.) They’ve published a dog-friendly guide to visiting Central Park and begun tighter enforcement of the rules outlined by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.
The rules have not changed, but the program is designed to improve awareness and reduce potential conflict between park users, like the confrontation between bird lover Chris Cooper and dog owner Amy Cooper (unrelated), in the Ramble in late May, 2020.
This topic was one of many discussed at Monday night’s Community Board 7 Parks and Environment Committee meeting.
In July, 2020, Community Board 7 passed a resolution by a majority vote in favor of increased enforcement of existing dog laws in Central Park, but has also spent considerable time and effort supporting the Bull Moose Dog Run in Teddy Roosevelt Park, adjacent to the American Museum of Natural History.
Central Park, an 843-acre oasis in the heart of New York City, is one of the most used urban parks in the United States, with 42 million visitors in 2016. Only 14% of these were first-time visitors, so it’s hard to imagine that the rules are unknown to everyone, particularly with all of the snazzy new signs.
Dog owners who don’t comply now risk getting a summons — and it might be from someone undercover!
The rules are surprisingly simple:
- All dogs must be leashed between 9AM and 9PM.
- Dogs must always be under the control of their owner.
- Dogs must have a NYC license tag and valid rabies tag.
- Dogs must not dig, chase, or harm wildlife; damage Park property; or interfere with other Park users.
- Always clean up after your dog, including dog hair that you brush off in the park.
- Dogs must be leashed AT ALL TIMES in certain areas, which are now marked by signs, including these hot spots:
- The Pinetum
- The Conservatory Garden (even though it’s undergoing a renovation)
- The Boathouse Plaza
- The North Woods
- The Ramble
- Shakespeare Garden
- Strawberry Fields
- Turtle Pond Lawn
- Dogs are NEVER ALLOWED in these areas and others (please see the guide for the others):
- Ballfields and sand volleyball courts
- ANY BODY OF WATER (these often contain chemicals to treat the water that can be harmful to your dog)
- Hallett Sanctuary (that’s why it’s called a Sanctuary!)
- Sheep Meadow (ironically, sheep are not allowed either)
So cute – Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever!!
Good to reiterate rules especially as there seem to be more “new to New York” residents with dogs and folks from the suburbs coming in to visits with their dogs.
City should also remind about restrictions in restaurants/food stores/drug stores. Recently saw a person with 2 dogs in a food store and another person who put a dog in a shopping cart in another food store….
I was told recently (by a TJ security guard) that service dogs are allowed in the store. Is this not the case? What about dogs in (ugh) “strollers” that are a contained environment? Thx for a reply or pointing me in a direction.
Given the homeless who sleep in the park and the garbage that is spread across the grass over the weekend this is what the Central Park Conservancy is focused on? Seems misguided in terms of priorities. Most dog owners abide by the rules but most people do not when it comes to trash.
The garbage doesn’t growl at kids nor disturb nesting wildlife. At least, I hope not!
I’m a huge dog lover, but some people are just irresponsible/scofflaws, and it’s fair to enforce the regulations.
The fact that people leave garbage in the park doesn’t mean that people with allergies or phobias should have to deal with off leash pets, or that the park’s animal population is there for the amusement of dogs.
— “All dogs must be leashed between 9A and 9P.”
I thought this was for Central Park — ?? I know that 9A is the Henry Hudson Parkway, but that’s Riverside Park.
And where is “9P”??
9:00am and 9:00pm
Maybe they could start enforcing the NO SMOKING rules too? I’ve seen Parks employees walk right past people smoking & they do nothing.
smoking weed is fine
Smoking anything in a public park in New York is not legal. Rangers suck, go Islanders!
Does this mean dogs will now be kicked off of the Heckscher kickball field south of the Sheep Meadow?Dog owners have disregarded the prohibition of dogs on this field for years despite signage spelling out the rules.
I remember telling a frustrated parent wanting to play ball with a group of kids one morning to instruct the dog owners to take a hike and go some place else. I told her the field was meant for the kids and not for dogs.
I actually don’t agree that most dog owners abide my the rules. There are loads of dogs offleash between 9am and 9pm every day (my own is admittedly one of them sometimes). I think it is ok for them to enforce rules — otherwise why bother having any. That said, I do wish that (a) they would set aside a few meadows here and there that are offleash all day; (2) they would enforce other rules like no smoking in the park.
There are plenty of areas for dogs to run off leash all day. They are called dog runs and can be found by a simple Google search.
Don’t forget the bridle path. Dogs are supposed to be leashed at all times there too. As a dog lover and runner, who has been tripped, tackled and sent flying by dogs being playful, I hope dog lovers will comply.
Says it all. Instead of looking for rapists, knife wielding thugs and muggers, we will now concentrate on making sure a dog has his rabies tag. What an idiotic city.
So you’ve just invented a false dichotomy to justify your criticism. No one is saying the city will enforce dog leash rules *instead of* policing violent crime.
Besides, parks enforcement is handled by a division of the Parks Department, not the NYPD.
This is not such a false dichotomy. People and their time are limited resources. Asking people to focus on dogs must require those people to divert their attention from other problems, unless more parks enforcement personnel are hired (which was not mentioned in the article).
Sorry, but I’ve nearly been run over by dogs, omce a huge husky! I am 77, and a fall could be a disaster. It’s a serious issue to me, if not to you, Jim!!! And I am sick of seeing dogs go after birds, squirrels, etc. im the Ramble, where I go birding. One dog, off leash, killed a squirrel right in front of the feeders. Several people saw it and were terribly upset by the needless attack. It was horrible! Also, I am tired of owners who take their dogs to the park to poop, often not on a sidewalk, but in the grass ~ not fenced off ~ so unsuspecting birder, picnickers, children can step in it. A man told me I was “sick” for chiding hm about this. Most owners are good, but it’s gotten so a large percentage think they can flaunt all the rulels. Now I hope the enforcement follows through the intented crackdown. I’m done with dogs in the park and wouldn’t mind if there were none.
The city has not issued dog license tags in many years!!! You just get a piece of paper.
If you request a new tag the city will provide one. That can be done at license renwal. I know its not easily found on the site but this year I found it and got a new tag in the mail in a matter of a few weeks.
This is a good start towards cleaning up the park. Next up are vagrancy, smoking, and scooters.
I’d rather see electric bikes and scooters kicked off the loop instead. Menace to say the least! Echo priorities for the CPC!
I agree with Sta. I understand the rules for Central Park but with dogs having to be leased almost everywhere else in NYC it would be great if they could find someplace in the park for a large dog run so even dog owners (and dogs) could really enjoy the park.
We have lived in NYC our entire lives, and have our 2nd dog who is as well trained as the first. Don’t you think there are more important things to patrol in the Park? Like real dangerous things to the community? Crime, garbage, homelessness,. 10 years ago Central Park was safe to walk at night, now it is not! Are you really concerned about dogs off leash when our city is suffering so much with everything else?
Leashes are a start. Next do the failure to pick up poop. And littering the place with poop bags. (It is not hard to hang onto it till you find a garbage can.)
What about the Bridle Path? Signs on the East Side state dogs must always be leashed on the Bridle Path. No signs on the West Side.
And what about all the speeding e-bikes? And the bikers riding on the pedestrian, paths, like the one around the Great Lawn?Bikes on dirt paths in wooded areas and everywhere the Bridle Path? Tennis players heading to the courts are the worst bike-rule breakers.
The Bridle Path is a free-for-all of speeding park vehicles, unleashed dogs, stampeding school kids running in gangs, bicycles, and now horses. All kick up that graphite dust for everyone to inhale. I wouldn’t let my kids inhale that stuff.
And the Reservoir…no enforcement there. Strollers, bicycles, dogs.
And why so few garbage cans? People drinking in the park at night leave their beer cans and liquor bottles everywhere
And smoking. Cigarettes, weed, bongs hookahs.
How strange to focus on leashes. I guess it’s easier to crack down on residents than tourists.
Re CP dog runs. The Conservancy, in its wisdom, dumps wood chips on the runs. My small-medium older dog trips on them so it is no place to “run” at all. Can’t risk a paw injury.
They are not kidding about the undercover enforcement. About 10 years ago, a friend and I were in the park with his golden retriever. The dog was off leash. The dog was free and was walking around our spot of grass or sitting besides us. We were not playing fetch or bothering anyone else, just enjoying lunch. Out of nowhere, a fully blacked out Nissan Pathfinder came down the west drive and three guys pull out. I thought I was witnessing a drug bust until I realized they were after us. If I recall correctly, it was a $95 fine. No doubt, we knew there was a leash law but the dog wasn’t bothering anyone. The shocking thing was the aggressive nature of the enforcement.
Been using Central Park regularly since 1967. Ever since Central park Conservatory took over its Management (from DPR), the enforcement of park rules and the maintenance of the Great Lawn has been little to none. People riding bikes on the lawn, and dogs running freely is a normal Sunday scene. From my inquiring, they just don’t have the staff. 🙁
This is good. There are some very lousy and irresponsible dog owners who spoil it for others.
Please discuss smoking (of any kind, weed, cigars etc) in CP. This is extremely bothersome to a lot of people. Thanks!
What about markus Garve park on west 120 st it’s smells bad. There’s always poop and some people let their dog off the leash and they walk thier dog on the grass where I can see sometime people trying to picnic there some are not a where of a dog pooped on the grass they sit on . Is disgusting. Also where’s the garbage cans out side the park walk way???
Central Park is for everyone, including our four legged friends!! If you don’t like dogs, then maybe you should find another place in the park where they are not known as a dog hang out? It’s a big park and the dogs aren’t hurting anyone.
Actually, my wife was knocked down by a large dog on the west side bridle path last year…ambulance, emergency room, fractured femur and a complete ACL. So, in fact dogs do hurt people.
Considering the huge increase in dog ownership in the city in the past two years, and many New Yorkers’ tendency to ignore unenforced rules, this is no bad thing. I am a routine (volunteer) dog walker and I’ll agree, most owners/walkers are great and responsible – but there are no few who really need reminding that this is a shared space, with reasonable rules, and no one, especially people who are frail, or parents of young kids, should have to deal with your pup or it’s poop when they don’t want to.
I grew up in NYC and remember when the north end of Central Park was genuinely dangerous: Serious drug dealing, hustling and mugging. Those were dark times. Flash forward to today: Great strides have been made to reclaim the park and dogs should be leashed for the good of wildlife and the people who go there to enjoy quiet time in a remarkable piece of carefully curated nature in the middle of a bustling city. But let’s stop fussing about smoking–I’m asthmatic, but it’s a park: Fresh air everywhere. Garbage is a way bigger issue–I can’t tell you how much trash I’ve picked up and dumped in cans just because I was there and figured I might as well do something.
1. No dog parks in Central Park…
2. The dog parks that we do have are horrible!! People bring their aggressive dogs, hoards of dogs that dog walkers bring in and don’t watch, and not to mention, most of them are smoking e cigs
3. I understand leashing your dog, but I wish there were certain places you didn’t have to because I don’t trust dog runs and they’re just so dirty too!
I have been in Central Park every day for the past 21 years – now with my third well-trained dog. Dog owners are allowed to have dogs off-leash from 9pm to 9am and the vast majority follow that and other rules of the park because we are grateful for the opportunity to bring out dogs for exercise and socializing for us.
I have no problem with the park enforcing leash rules, but I have a huge problem with nasty dog haters who would prefer to never see a dog again.
Given that every second person has a dog, thanks to the pandemic, it would be a good idea to hand out the dog rules so everyone actually becomes aware of them.
There are scores of people on bikes, scooters and skateboards on the park paths and I have NEVER seen a park employee stop or reprimand one, let alone give them a ticket.
The park employees work hard to keep the park clean and beautiful. We should be applauding, not criticizing them.
“Tighten The Leash” sounds like a promising campaign. There used to be a volunteer-run advisory group, which later became a program of the Central Park Conservancy, called Central Park PAWS (sadly, it was disbanded by the CPC). PAWS served as a dialogue between the dog community and the Central Park Conservancy. Central Park PAWS volunteers developed community building initiatives like the annual My Dog Loves Central Park Fair, monthly Bagel Barks events in various dog gathering spots, the addition of dog drinking fountains and lobbying to formalize current NYC off-leash law. These initiatives help educate park users about the rules and regulations, pertaining to dogs, in a successful effort to assist the CPC and the NYC Parks Department. — Dennis Buonagura, former President of Central Park Paws
I am a responsible dog owner, and have been a supporter/donor or the conservancy but the dogs are NOT the problem in Central Park and so I really resent tightening laws that are not a major nuisance to QOL. Let’s talk about the grossly irresponsible pedicabs that zoom past you on major walk paths and get angry if you say something to them, also the cyclist and numerous tourist who also receive no education about bicycle etiquette on walking paths…and the smokers. These ruin my QOL