2006_10_leafyschnauzer.jpgYesterday, the Board of Health held a public hearing to discuss off-leash laws for dogs in city parks. am New York reported some scurrilous words from "one foe of free pups": "Dogs are simply property." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when the people went bonkers.

The city is looking to see whether the health code - which says dogs must be leashed in public spaces - should be amended to take into account the Parks Department's 20 year practice of allowing off-leash hours between 9PM and 9AM in various parks without dog runs. The Juniper Park Civic Association of Queens has been fighting to make parks follow the health code and require leashed dogs. JPCA president Robert Holden said, "If [an amendment for off-leash hours] is passed, you're going to see a lot more attacks," and showed phtoographs of dogs running loose all over the park, including one of a dog walker's 10 loose dogs. The dog owners group, NYCDOG, pointed out that "only 2.2 percent of dog bites in the city occur in parks."

According to AMNY, "If the suit goes in favor of the civic association and the health code is not amended, off-leash hours would be outlawed. If the board votes to amend the health code, the dogs would get their off-leash hours no matter what." And the board will vote on the amendment in early December.

Photograph of leafy dog from superterrific on Flickr