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)