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Isham Park Off-Leash Rule Recommended to Let Dogs Run Free

By Carla Zanoni | April 27, 2012 7:45am

INWOOD — Dog owners could soon let their pets run free after a community board recommended easing leash rules in Isham Park.

Community Board 12 supported moves to have the Parks Department instate off-leash rules for the southeastern section of Isham Park between the hours of 9 p.m.  and 7:30 a.m. 

Although the department typically grants off-leash hours until 9 a.m., dog owners made a concession because children use the park in the early morning hours while getting to school. 

The board agreed with many dog walkers that having off-leash time would enhance the health and well being of dog owners and their pets and would help prevent crime by maintaining a presence in the park when it's dark. 

The dog owners had argued they had previously been permitted to run their dogs off-leash between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. under an informal agreement with the department and community leaders made back in 2009 as a result of rash of muggings and sexual attacks.

But department officials said that off-leash dogs had never been officially allowed in the park and installed new signage letting people know that.

An unleashed dog attacked a leashed one in March this year, leaving it horribly mauled.  

In addition to instating the new rules, the board urged the Parks Department to improve communication with parkgoers by holding “regular community summits with local residents who live adjacent to Isham Park,” according to the resolution. 

The Parks commissioner has a final say in setting policy as community boards serve only an advisory role.