To the editor:
As a longtime dog owner, I’d like to add my two cents to the dog-run discussion. Like so many other issues, the proposal to create a dog run is dividing Croton into bitterly opposing groups. Depending on the breed, companion dogs need some degree of exercise in the form of walking or running, but we should not ignore reality. In any other community, Croton’s comparatively small parks would be described as “vest-pocket parks.” No matter where you put a dog run in a Croton park (with the possible exception of Croton Landing), you are sure to have opposition from neighbors and/or those who fish or picnic.
New York City, with its large apartment-dwelling population and ample parkland can afford to give over areas of its parks to dog runs. At Croton’s doorstep is huge Croton Point Park. Technically speaking, it lies within Croton’s boundaries. Instead of creating one more divisive issue within Croton, why not urge Westchester County to create a dog run in the underutilized space on this side of the tollbooth? Some will say, “But that would attract dogs and dog owners from outside of Croton.” The proper response would be, “Isn’t the purpose of a dog run to enable dogs to socialize, and dog owners to meet and discuss common problems?”
In the meantime, an easy and long-overdue solution for Croton would be to change the 1971 law that banned dogs even on leashes in Croton’s parks. In small parks everywhere, dogs can be walked on a leash. Why is this village so out of step with common practice in compelling its dog owners to walk their dogs only on sidewalks and in streets? An example of the ridiculousness of the law is the Duck Pond Park, a tiny sitting park along Bungalow Road through which a sidewalk passes. Allow the leashed dog you are walking to step off that sidewalk onto the grass, and you are violating the law. Heaven help you if you sit down on one of the benches to rest for a moment. I would paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s appeal in Berlin (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”) to “Mr. Mayor, tear up this law!”
— Robert Scott