Well, given how nuts the debate over whether dogs should be allowed off their leashes in parks, it's no surprise that the last public hearing about the matter would be fraught with accusations of wrongdoing.
Before the Parks Department meeting, pro-off-leash-law folks from New York Council of Dog Owners (NYCdog) said that opponets falsely submitted 4,000 signatures on an anti-off-leash online petition. NYCdog pointed out the signatures at about 1 signature every 8 seconds for 9 hours, leading iPetitions.com to scrub the signatures. Opponents, though, claim they were above board and point their fingers back to the dog owners. From the Post:
The head of the Juniper Park association, Bob Holden, suggested that dog groups had added the signatures to discredit opponents.
"I approved the petition, but I don't go online and do blogs," he said. "I wouldn't put it past the dog groups."
Matthew Greller, a NYCdog lawyer, responded, "We're not that smart and we don't have that much time on our hands. It's blatant and it's all there."
The group suspects the signature hanky-panky might have been carried out by a local bird watcher who opposes the plan because he says the hours before 9 a.m. are a prime feeding time for birds.
The Juniper Park Association's lawsuit for the city to enforce the Health Code and ban off-leash dogs led to the Health Department changing the Health Code to allow free roaming dogs. And a judge ruled that off-leash hours were okay.
The Parks Department will ultimately clarify its rules and policy about off-leash hours for dogs. The Post has a graphic of what dogs and their owners must do, such as off-leash dogs need to wear their license (is your dog licensed with the Health Department?) and vaccination tags.