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On Behalf of Croton Dogs

May 22, 2008

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
To the editor:

Friends of Black Rock Park (and aren’t we all Friends of Black Rock?) indicate that Croton village residents currently use the park for a variety of purposes, including picnicking and Tai Chi, among others. Our experience has been, through regular observation, that the park is rarely used, and certainly not to the extent that it’s usage would survive an impartial cost-benefit analysis. Also, for those who DO fish or picnic there, they could certainly continue to do so whether or not there were an occasional dog in the park. If someone who might ordinarily fish in the park opts not to use Black Rock Park for fear of coming into contact with a dog, he/she has any number of options in the village which could serve as a substitute location. Dog owners do not enjoy those same options.

I believe that our group and our goal is being misrepresented: we are not looking to establish a dog park OR a dog run. There are a number of beautiful parks in our village, none of which allow dogs. We’d like to be able to use one of the parks, and we’d especially appreciate having access to a facility where our dogs could swim and, yes, we could picnic and fish accompanied by our dogs.

To suggest that removing the NO DOGS restriction at Black Rock would result in a “cacophony of a bunch of barking dogs and dog owners calling after them from dawn to dusk, 24/7” is a gross misrepresentation. Not even an actual dog park produces that kind of disturbance. Is it rational to fear that if dogs are allowed into Black Rock Park that there will suddenly be huge numbers of dogs there at all hours? This scenario is not remotely likely, but, again, if this problem arose the restriction on dogs could be reinstated immediately.

Finally, we’re responsible citizens who are extremely concerned about disturbing others; we have spent months—nine so far and counting—trying to determine what the best possible alternative could be to provide dog owning residents their fair share of the recreation pie. Our first choice was Croton Landing, but that was not to be. It’s possible that an area at Croton Point could be carved out, and there are some other long term options that might work beautifully. In the interim, however, I question why anyone would be so adamantly opposed to a TRIAL PERIOD of allowing village residents to enter Black Rock Park with their dogs. We’re asking that the park continue in it’s present state with the restriction against dogs removed. If it proves to be unfairly noisy to the neighbors, dangerous in terms of traffic or environmentally hazardous, we would be the first people to say THIS IS NOT WORKING, and the board could reinstate the “NO DOGS” restriction at any time. Please suppo rt this trial period, and let’s continue the conversation in terms of the long range recreational needs of our village.

As always, if you have questions regarding any of these issues please let me know at We have assembled a great deal of information which we’d be happy to share.

— Jane Murtaugh


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