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  • Dennis Denowski

Neighborhoods in New York that Restrict Dog Walking in Packs

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

There specific laws that govern different aspects of dog ownership with most of these laws focused on the number of dogs a single owner can have at any given time.

New York City is one of the friendliest cities across the country for maintaining a pet dog. There is no statewide leash law but each municipality has adopted leash laws to prevent dogs walking in packs and the risks associated with it. However, in a number of neighborhoods, there are specific laws that govern different aspects of dog ownership with most of these laws focused on the number of dogs a single owner can have at any given time. These laws help prevent the dangers associated with walking dogs in packs that has become a problem for most New York neighborhoods.

Some of the prominent laws and regulations regarding the maintenance of dogs are found in the neighborhoods within the City of Buffalo. These regulations are derived from Article XXI of Chapter VII of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974. These laws pertain to the control of dogs and they are particular in the number of dogs a pet owner should have at any one time. According to these regulations, as they affect neighborhoods in Buffalo, “the maximum allowable number of dogs on a premises that is classified as a single- or double-family residence or any commercial property shall be three for the entire premises” (Article 78-19.1, Section D).

These laws apply to neighborhoods such as Allentown, Elmwood Village, Fillmore District, Hertel Avenue, Black Rock and Michigan Avenue. In these neighborhoods. Leash laws are strict and dog walkers are forbidden from walking more than three dogs at once. In fact, in areas such as Elmwood Village, residents are encouraged to restrict the number of dogs they can walk to two in order to prevent the risks associated with walking them in packs. These laws were amended in June, 2005 after cases of dog bites, infections and other risks associated with walking them in packs rose.

In fact, in the same article governing the control of dogs in the City of Buffalo, Section E, it states that “for premises that are classified as multiple dwellings, those properties containing three or more units, the maximum allowable number of dogs on the premises shall be one per household” (Article 78-19.1, Section E). There is an effort in these specific neighborhoods to ensure that the “pack mentality” usually displayed by dogs when they interact with each other is completely eliminated. It is vital for dog owners to recognize the risks associated with walking and maintaining a large number of dogs for the betterment of the community.

The neighborhoods around Penn Station to the south, Port Authority Bus Station to the North, the Lincoln Tunnel to the west and the thirty-one foot stainless steel sculpture of a needle to the east can be characterized as a restrictive neighborhood for dog owners. First off, the people traffic is quite high, making it an unsuitable place for walking pet dogs. While there are a number of residential areas sprawled out through this location, most of the buildings are for commercial purposes and the place is also known for the iconic yellow New York cab.

This neighborhood is very restrictive on dog ownership because most of the buildings, both residential and commercial outright forbid having a pet dog, among other dogs. Most of the owners of the building fear the possible attacks and corresponding infections associated with keeping a large number of dogs in an otherwise densely populated area. Therefore, most of the residents are not dog people, and it will be really difficult to spot anybody taking out their dog(s) for periodic walks through this region.

Another infamous neighborhood known for maintaining strict regulations on dog ownership is Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. This neighborhood is particularly known for being a “family-friendly” region as most new parents rent out apartments in this region. There are a couple of teenagers on the street to notice when taking a simple stroll, but the majority of the population is parents raising babies and children. The young age of the majority population in this region means that leash laws as well as dog ownership laws are much more strict than other typical residential New York neighborhoods.

In this area of Brooklyn, owners are restricted to a maximum of three dogs per household and a single dog for residences with multiple dwellings. There are specifications on the type of leash that dog owners can use to take dogs, dog walkers cannot take more than two dogs out for walks and there are heavy penalties and fines for those who violate these restrictions. The insistence of almost no dogs in this neighborhood by a majority of the residents stems from the fact that there would be frequent attacks on babies and younger children if dogs were allowed to remain off the leash. Similarly, they pose an even bigger problem if they are allowed to roam about in packs of more than three dogs.

There are a number of other neighborhoods in New York City that restrict dog walking in packs, stemming from laws that restrict the number of dogs one can have on a residential premise. In Morningside Heights, near Columbia University, there is an intriguing mix of an elderly population and eighteen-to-twenty-two-year old residents. The restrictions on dog ownership as well as walking them in packs stems mainly from the need to protect the elderly population. Most of the old folk are usually unable to maintain large numbers of dogs on their own, in addition to controlling them when they are on walks.

Thus, there is a restriction of a maximum of two dogs that can be allowed per single dog walker every time they go outside. Specifications on leashes and the general conduct of the dog walker, such as picking up trash and poop that is otherwise caused by the dog(s) is strict. Most of the old folk in this neighborhood have to rely on dog walkers to maintain their pets, and there are a lot of pet services in this region to help the ageing population to cope with their pets.

The younger population living in Morningside Heights mainly consists of students attending Columbia University, and most of them do not characteristically have the time to walk their dogs. Therefore, restrictive dog ownership laws in this region is not frowned upon, and it has resulted in only a small number of dog owners living in this area. Dogs are not allowed off their leash at any one point when they are out in public, a restrictive law compared to some parks such as Central Park that has off-leash hours from 6 A.M. to 9 A.M. on weekdays.

The Mount Sinai Hospital Complex on Ninety-Eighth Street near the Metro-North train station is another neighborhood where dog ownership is almost forbidden. The regulations in this region are strict as dog walkers cannot take more than two dogs for a walk at a single time. Rent costs for some of the apartments are characteristically high for dog owners in a bid to restrict them from having pets. In the early nineties, there were several cases of dog attacks in this region, 70% of them attributed to dogs in large packs. Therefore, restrictive laws were introduced to limit pet ownership in an otherwise busy neighborhood of the city.

In the exclusive Gramercy Park neighborhood, there are strict regulations forbidding residents from walking their dogs. It is the only private park in Manhattan and has strict regulations about how residents can utilize the place, from no photography rules, no drinking or smoking and even no playing sports. However, the restriction that stands out in this otherwise pretty neighborhood is that dog walkers have no solace as far as walking their dogs is concerned. This is a stark contrast to other parks throughout the city that do not outright forbid dog walking within their premises.

As for Gramercy Park, dog owners are not allowed to walk their dogs, even if it is a single one, out in the park. This has sparked outrage among some of the residents of the city who have to go long distances simply to walk their dogs. The restrictive measures are drawn from statistics from the early 2000s when the menace of walking dogs in packs was a cause of injury among 60% of park visitors and 73% of dog walkers. The laws were put in place in this nearly 200-year-old park to completely eliminate any threats caused by dogs being taken for walks, whether it is a single dog or if they are in packs.

As recently as 2021, a dog walker was attacked while taking her 9-month-old puppy or a walk on the 1600 block of Canarsie Road. Alexandrea Marksman was walking her dog through this area of Brooklyn when she was attacked by two pit bulls off their leash, causing her own puppy to escape in the melee. She was seriously injured as the incident sent her to hospital, and it was a harrowing scene for residents and passers-by who reported seeing her fending off the dogs and bleeding as a result.

Consequently, strict dog ownership laws have been introduced and implemented in the region, restricting the number of dogs that one can have. The restrictions also center around permanently leashing dogs as long as they are out in public, even on the compounds of private residences and commercial buildings. Violations of these regulations attract stiff fines and incorporate this New York neighborhood to a growing list of those restricting dog walking. The primary cause for these restrictions throughout New York neighborhoods is to prevent attacks by packs of dogs on dog walkers as well as passer-bys out in public areas.

A law that applies to the state with regard to dog ownership centers around leash laws as well as licenses. It is illegal for a dog to scurry around anywhere in the state without a leash, although there are a number of parks throughout the state that allow dogs to be off their leashes for specific hours. The leash laws are restrictive because it means that dogs cannot go anywhere unsupervised and residents can call it in if they find unleashed dogs in their neighborhoods.

The licensing laws are equally restrictive because it is a requirement for all dog owners to have a license for their pet. Specifically, it is important that the licenses are attached to their collars while they are out in public so that they can be identified as well as the owner. Licenses vary because dog owners can purchase one every year, or they can seek longer-term licenses such as those that go for five years. Failure to adhere to these regulations will result in a dog owner being fined to prevent unsupervised dogs from running round the city and potentially causing harm within their neighborhoods.

Ryan Stewart is a professional dog walker and he has different types of accounts of his work throughout New York City. According to him, leash laws as well as licensing of dogs has becom more strict through the years as a result of different types of incidents across the city. In his own personal account, at least 60% of dog walkers throughout the city enjoy taking out more than three or four dogs at a go because it eases the workload and allows the dogs to interact with each other as they enjoy the freedom of fresh air.

However, most dog walkers have found it much difficult to enjoy their profession because it has become tedious and requires long hours. A majority of the neighborhoods cross the city limit dog walkers to just three pets, meaning that it becomes a repetitive process for dog walkers who need to walk several dogs in a day. However, Ryan Stewart does not have much complaints because it has made the city safer because considerations must be made for the normal pedestrian as well as those individuals who do not like dogs.

In the past, it was simple for him to get on a subway with a dog and even allow it to have a seat. However, laws have changed and dog walkers are liable for their pets as well as how they interact with everybody else. Stiff fines are attracted for dog owners who let their dogs sit inside a train; they can only be held on the owner’s lap. Similarly, they must now be on a leash every single time they are out in public and pets must be put in a crate when down in the subway. This has made it slightly more difficult for dog owners to handle their pets that crave for freedom and a chance to stretch their legs away from home.

Ryan Stewart reports that there were at least ten accidents ina given week throughout the neighborhoods of New York in the past in relation to unleashed dogs. Complants from residents as well as changes to New York laws resulted in dogs always on a leash or being caged. Only service dogs are allowed not to be in a cage, particularly when they are being transported through public means, and this has helped reduce the incidents of accidents throughout the city.

In the past, it was normal to hear he occasional story of dogs fighting each other and even attacking passers-by. It was a result of these incidents that law makers and residents alike took to restricting dogs from being walked as a pack in one of the world’s biggest cities. In order to protect everybody, professionals like Stewart had to change their approach in managing their animals to prevent unwarranted interactions with the public. There have been significant changes throughout New York as a result of the strict leash laws as well as restrictions on dogs walking in packs, and this has made it a much safer place for pedestrians.

According to Stewart, studies show that more than 40% of dog owners do not walk their own dogs, they have to rely on dog walkers. Part of the reason for this is the restrictive laws that prevent dog owners from walking all their pets at once. However, in this study, 56% of dog owners claimed that they do not personally walk their dogs because of bad weather. Another 32% of respondents attributed their stance to laziness, a similar percentage claimed that they were always at work, 31% of the respondents claimed that they had difficulty handling their dogs in public and another 24% claimed that family responsibilities restricted them to their houses.

Despite all this, there has been a 22% increase in dog ownership in the United States, 25% of this being attributed to New York despite the new laws. At least 53% of all American households own dogs, resulting in more laws that help in their management. However, restrictive neighborhoods in New York have limited the number of dogs that can be walked at any given moment, resulting in a slow pace for the dog walking business throughout the city.

Ryan Stewart states that the new regulations certainly have made it slightly more difficult for him to make his income as he once did. In fact, over the past decade, costs for walking dogs as well as their general care have doubled, making it even more difficult for dog owners to seek dog walking services on a regular basis. However, Stewart argues that compliance with the laws is actually making New York a more friendlier environment for dogs, particularly with the elimination of dog walking packs. The laws will benefit all parties involved, including the dogs as they will be involved in less accidents and less incidents of melees.

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