Battery Park City Dog Association
New York City
Guidelines for Living in a Zero Tolerance City
(Or, if we won the Cold War, why have we adopted the Soviet way of life?)
- Carry i.d. It does not appear that you are legally required to carry i.d. just to walk your dog (this isn't actually the Soviet Union yet), but standard PEP procedure is to verify i.d., when issuing a summons. If you don't have i.d. on you, the PEP will take time (sometimes a lot of time, up to an hour) to call in your i.d. and get it verified with a state database. (Frightening to think that such databases even exist, isn't it?) If i.d. can't be verified by radio, the PEP is authorized to take you to the 1st Precinct until your i.d. can be verified (during which time your dog may be taken to the pound).
- Don't give false i.d. information to a PEP. Because your i.d. will be verified, any falsity in the information you provide may result in a $1,000 "Failure to Comply" summons -- or worse.
- Carry a cell phone when you walk your dog -- you may need to tell your family that you won't be home for a while if you get detained by a PEP.
- Become familiar, and comply with, the NYC Laws and BPC Rules regarding dogs. BPC Parks has put together a summary of the laws and rules in a "Dogs and Parks" brochure. According to this brochure the laws and rules are:
All dogs must have current vaccination for rabies.
- All dogs must be on leash no longer than six feet.
- All dog walkers must clean up dog feces.
- Drinking fountains are for people not dogs (as mandated by the NYC Health Dept).
- Dogs must be under control at all times.
- Dogs are never permitted in playgrounds, playing fields, or on lawns.
- Only friendly dogs should use dog runs.
- [Left off the BPC Parks List] All dogs must have a current license.
- Be aware that older versions of the "dog-free" zone map from BPC Parks contains errors and shows certain areas as "dog-free" when they are in fact "dog-allowed", including the sidewalk perimeter of Rector Park (the map incorrectly shows even the sidewalk along South End Avenue at Rector Place to be "dog-free"), and the sidewalk on the west side of Battery Place near Wagner Park. PEPs may issue incorrect summonses based on the erroneous map. These should be challenged at the hearing, not with the PEP.
- Be aware that there are likely to be "quality of life" offenses you've never heard of.
- Be aware the BPC PEPs are supposed to carry tape recorders to record all interactions with citizens. What they say should be recorded; what you say will be recorded as well.
- Don't argue with a PEP when you get a summons. Chances are the PEP is following official NYC Parks policy. If you think the summons is unfair or incorrect, plan to contest it at the appropriate hearing. Under Zero Tolerance, the PEP is not supposed to have the discretion not to give you a summons. Argument may result in a $1,000 "Failure to Comply" summons.
- Lobby your elected officials to get rid of Zero Tolerance. The next time you find yourself saying, "I wish they would show no mercy to quality of life offenders," bite your tongue -- in the eyes of City Officials we are ALL quality of life offenders.
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