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To the relief of dog owners and to the dismay of the Juniper Park Civic Association, Queens Supreme Court Judge Peter J. Kelly ruled that off-leash hours for dogs between 9PM and 9AM are allowed, saying that the Parks Commissioner has the power to allow pups to frolic freely. While the Juniper Park Civic Association called the ruling "complete lunacy," Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, "Tired dogs are good dogs."

The Juniper Parks Civic Association, concerned about a number of dog attacks, noted that the off-leash hours, implemented by the Parks Department years ago, were actually in violation of the health code and sued to end off-leash hours. Dog owners' groups have argued that off-leash hours are better for dogs, because they can run around when parks are empty.

am New York reports that Kelly did push for a "more specific dog policy, saying the unofficial rules are 'known by few and misunderstood by many.'" The Juniper Park Civic Association says they will appeal the ruling. In the meantime, the Health Department will vote on an amendment to clarify dog policies.

Off-leash resource NYC Off Leash has Kelly's opinion (PDF). In the meantime, get a license for your dog and remember that your dog's leash should be no longer than 6 feet.

Photograph of dogs enjoying the Tompkins Square Park dog run by evilsugar25 on Flickr