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Is Croton-on-Hudson the Most Dog-Unfriendly Village in Westchester?

June 7, 2007


Croton’s dog owners think it is. The village prohibits dogs “on any public park, playground, ballfield, or school property or on the property of another person without the consent of such other person, whether or not restrained by a chain or leash.”

This is no way to treat “man’s best friend.”

On June 10, 2007 6:16 PM, TeaDrinker said:

As a dog owner, I have been following the debate over Croton’s policy of totally excluding dogs from Croton’s parks and recreation areas because I do not agree with that course. As a journalist, I was concerned over the contention of “oldtimer” that even assistance dogs might be included in the ban. The sign at Senasqua is quite emphatic. It reads, “No dogs allowed.” Georgianna Grant followed the comment by “oldtimer” with a refutation to the effect that village employees would never exclude assistance dogs at Senasqua.

The easiest way to determine which statement was true was to test them. I decided to do just that. Apparently, because of a Sunday afternoon party at the pergola, persons entering Senasqua Park were not being screened to determine residency. About one p.m. today, as a disabled person who cannot walk any distance without crutches, I presented myself at the entrance to Senasqua Park with my assistance dog. The attendant at the entrance said, “I’m sorry you cannot enter with a dog.” I responded by saying, “I am going to tell you two facts. One, I am disabled. Two, this dog is an assistance dog. Can I now enter the park?” The attendant, a young man, answered, “Yes.”

I am happy to be able to report that Georgianna was correct. Village employees are indeed aware of the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. One might also infer that “oldtimer” may not be disabled, or else he or she would have been more familiar with the level of knowledge of village recreation employees. Other disabled persons, resident or nonresident, with or without assistance dogs, will be happy to know that Croton employees understand the rules.

My pleasure over this incident, however, is tinged with disappointment that the village still clings to a policy of distinguishing between village residents and nonresident visitors in determining who will be admitted to Senasqua Park. How unhappy would Crotonites be if admission to New York City’s Central Park or Prospect Park were restricted to city residents!

There are other ways of controlling park usage by Croton than by the absolute and unconditional exclusion of nonresidents, except for those token few who may accompany residents as guests. For example, every state university has a two-tiered tuition system under which nonresidents, not being state taxpayers, pay vastly larger fees than residents. Croton, which spends money in litigation like the proverbial drunken sailor, should recognize that Senasqua could be a goose that lays a golden egg.

Finally, as others have pointed out, with Croton’s appetite for acquiring land, why can’t a small portion of the new acquisitions be given over to an enclosed dog park where resident and nonresident dogs, social creatures and pack animals all, can walk or run and frolic together? Ossining has led the way. Let us follow in their footsteps. In short, let us stop treating nonresidents and dogs as second-class citizens. We may one day have an unhappy awakening that what we have been doing has been a violation of someone’s rights.

On June 9, 2007 6:10 PM, KWilly said:

Oldtimer pointed out that it is against the law to take a dog into a park but as we all know there are many laws that aren’t enforced or even known. I think it would be interesting to go to the Police Department and ask if they’ve ever arrested anyone for walking a dog. Even if someone was breaking this law they wouldn’t arrest that someone they would tell them the law and tell them to leave.

This is an obscure law that when Micheal Goetz went to the village board to say he wanted to keep bringing his dog to Mayo’s Landing no one there mentioned anything about this law. Sitting at the village board was Ann Galleli who helped write alot of the laws and Richard Herbek who’s been running Croton for longer than I have been alive.

I think it is better to be constructive since this issue has just been brought to the table. I suggest that all that are interested go to the village board and discuss the matter instead of doing it on CrotonBlog.

KWilly Davis

On June 9, 2007 11:23 AM, weewill said:

No way, Oldtimer …This is not an issue.

Not even this present administration (or any village administration for that matter) can deny access to a medically needed assist dog. It would not only be discriminatory under the Americans with Disability Act, but it would be inhuman, unethical, and down-right stooooooooopid! This law applies to any and all “assist dogs” and they are becoming more and more common with our aging population. Not only are they used for clearly identified handicapped people but are utilized for the blind, deaf, arthritic, neurologically impaired and emotionally impaired as well. So one can’t always tell who is or is not covered. And even more to the point, it’s illegal to ask for a definition of a specific disability!

The request remains that our Mayor and Village Board be willing to listen to those of us looking for a free space for our pets with whatever limtations the board in its wisdom decide to be necessary. We ask again that they be creative and responsive to this citizen’s request for consideration as they have for others.


On June 9, 2007 10:29 AM, TeaDrinker said:

“Logician” is right on the money in calling the Croton village code’s exclusion of dogs from village properties exactly what it is: “an anti-dog law.” This was brought home to me vividly yesterday morning on a morning commute to New York. Guided by his Seeing Eye dog, a blind person boarded the train at Ossining without fuss or incident. The dog was a German shepherd, a breed I admire. It was marvelous to watch this caring animal guide his handicapped charge so masterfully, and then take up a position close to him, alert, concerned and protective.

Seeing Eye dogs and other assistance dogs can ride on trains, planes or busses and can even accompany their owners to a restaurant. Other trained dogs comfort patients in nursing homes and hospitals. Yet the very fact that these marvelously intelligent helpers are dogs makes it impossible for them to enter the hallowed precincts of Croton’s parklands and recreation areas.

Then the thought struck me. Had this same blind person lived in Croton and tried to enter Senasqua Park with his dog, he would have been turned away or arrested had he insisted on being allowed to enter. Such is the sad state of the brotherhood of man in the village of Croton-on-Hudson in A.D. 2007. That’s Anno Domini 2007, in the Year of Our Lord 2007. Shame on you, Croton, for being so uncaring.

On June 8, 2007 6:45 PM, TeaDrinker said:

It’s unfortunate that MGTD has soured on dogs because too often visiting guests have exclaimed, “Oh, shit, I just stepped in some doo-doo.” But MGTD is barking up the wrong tree.

Fundamentally, the reason Croton’s sidewalks are being sullied is neither the fault of innocent dogs nor even some blameworthy owners.

Put the onus where it belongs. Croton is a village in which a great majority of homes are on tiny lots measuring only a tenth or an eighth of an acre. That’s barely enough room to swing a cat, much less run a dog. To have a law that forbids dog walking in village parks can only be described as official stupidity, especially since the village keeps on acquiring empty land. Croton’s unrealistic and outmoded anti-dog law literally forces dog owners to walk their pets on sidewalks or in streets.

A more enlightened administration would have done something to correct this disparity. So long as its foolish law banishing dogs to the streets remains on the books, Croton would be well advised to increase the number of trash receptacles scattered around the village. They are too few. Additions also would tend to raise the general level of street cleanliness.

I am a dog owner and responsible dog walker. Because of the scarcity of such receptacles, more often than not I arrive back home after a walk still carrying a plastic bag of my dog’s droppings. Dogs also may be being unfairly condemned for some of MGTD’s incidents. Not all animal scat on our streets or curb strips originates with pets. Some may be traceable to the large population of nocturnal raccoons that dwell in our sewers or to our omnipresent deer.

On June 8, 2007 1:46 PM, dors said:

What a perfect opportunity to use a portion of the Seprio property north of the Croton Yacht Club for a dog park. Fence in a nice sized area for the dogs and put benches inside or outside of the fencing for the owners to sit and chat. I can’t think of a better way to spend a balmy evening or a relaxing weekend. Susan Dorien

On June 8, 2007 8:46 AM, Bill Burton said:

The Dog Park at Ossining’s Cedar Lane Park is available to residents of Croton (and other nearby communities as well). It is a half-acre of fenced-in rolling land, shaded with trees. Open 24 hours daily, it is most often used by dogs and their companions in the morning, at lunch, and after work. Weekends are very popular.

You can let your dog run free there and interact with all sorts of dogs — big, small, self-amused, assertive. There is a separate area for shy or older dogs. Owners mingle and swap dog stories and share information.

The Park is managed by the Town of Ossining while the Friends of the Cedar Lane Dog Park fundraises to provide amenities. There is no charge but new members of the Friends are always welcome.

The annual “Bark in the Park” dog fun fair will be held on Saturday, June 16, from 10-3. For more information, directions, and lots of photos, visit the website at

Bill Burton

On June 8, 2007 7:38 AM, MGTD said:

Although I grew up with dogs, we raised golden retreivers, and still like dogs, I have come to the point where I cringe every time I see one walking down my street with its owner. After 29 years I have come to understand that dog owners will pick up dog litter when pigs fly. Especially those who use those wonderful extendable leashes that allow the dog to go into a yard and deposit its leavings right near the front door. How many times have I or my guests exited a car to find that we have stepped into “it” on the grass at the curb. The idea that owners will pick up after loose dogs in the parks is ludicrous. As for Summerfest a large crowd with attendant noise, small children etc. is no place for a dog and anyone who wants to take one into that environment just does not understand how dogs react to that type of situation. I have seen the result and it is not fun.

On June 7, 2007 10:57 PM, Stu said:

It was a shame that so many people at last Sunday’s wonderful Summerfest event who had their dogs with them (on leashes), were asked to leave the area of the fair.

On June 7, 2007 8:59 PM, TeaDrinker said:

There’s an overlooked aspect to your amusing new feature called Just Askin’: Chapter 108 of the village code is exactly as you quote it. But the village code in Paragraph 8-D of Chapter 168 on Parks and Recreation Areas also reads: “No user of the parks and swimming and boating facilities shall permit or allow any dog or other domestic animal within the aforesaid facility.” This would indicate that village residents who have been taking their dogs to Mayo’s Landing to swim have been breaking the law and will be breaking the law if they continue to do this in the future. And I’m not just asking—I’m telling.

On June 7, 2007 8:32 PM, weewill said:

Please, please, please consider some way, some place, some where for our dogs to have a place to run and play free from a restrictive leash. We are not an urban city but a small village blessed with many parks and possible areas. A few approaches that might be tried follow. If after a trial period the trial is unsuccessful, at least we will have had the chance to prove it would work. If, for any reason or violation whatsoever, the privilege could be easily withdrawn.

  1. Certainly during the fall and winter months when there is never a soul at Senasqua, the dogs should be allowed to “chase the geese.” Owners who want the chance to try this will pledge to clean up after their dogs. (Note: no one cleans up after the geese!)

  2. There are never crowds of people at Black Rock park. If we’re honest we can say that very, very seldom are there any people at all at this beautiful location. Here too, pet owners pledge to clean up after their pets as necessary.

  3. If the board is still hesitant because they are fearful of a dog frightening or causing a disturbance to park visitors, perhaps they might consider publicizing that Senasqua, or Black Rock, or some other area in the village will allow dogs to roam free on specified times and days. Perhaps on a Monday or Wednesday from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. only. That way, those who are fearful of the dogs will simply not go to the designated spots on the posted days and times.

We love our neighbors, our village and our pets and hope the powers that be will see al way to give our dogs at least a little of the bounty we enjoy as Croton residents.

Thanks so much,



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