BY MELISA STUMPF AND DENISE ROMANO
Throw us a bone!
Bay Ridge residents have the most to say when it comes to doggie business.
According to a map compiled by Gothamist.com, the 11209 zip code has the most canine complaints in the borough, with 365 in regards to noise from man’s best friend and 116 regarding waste.
The only other zip codes with such a high volume of dissatisfaction are 11314 in Staten Island, which encompasses Bulls Head, Travis/Chelsea, Castleton Corners, Emerson Hill and Graniteville; 11385 in Queens, which includes Ridgewood and Glendale, and in the Bronx, 10461, which includes Morris Park, Schuylerville and Middletown-Pelham Bay.
Bay Ridge has a total of 481 complaints recorded, which is nearly triple the number in Dyker Heights and Sunset Park. Bensonhurst is close behind with 302 grievances.
However, the issue comes even closer to home for those who use wheelchairs.
Tommy Gross, a Bay Ridge native, hurt his ankle and is using a wheelchair temporarily. He said that when you use a chair, your “senses are heightened” to problems you don’t normally see while walking.
“It’s like you put on a magnifying glass and can see everything in the street,” he said, adding that curb cuts are also an issue. “A half inch [too high or low] can make you spin out and further injure yourself. I’m not in this forever, but it’s tough. People are up in arms.”
Ridgeite Jean Ryan uses a motorized chair. “It’s a problem. I always have to be looking down so I don’t hit it,” she said.
Ryan, who is also a Community Board 10 member, frequently attends meetings in the neighborhood and often has to go to them smelling foul because she can’t clean her wheels.
“It’s not the dog’s fault – it’s the owners,” Ryan said, contending that city agencies have trouble “accommodating” the needs of the disabled.
“It’s like they are telling us, ‘Just stay home,’” she said.
Ryan went onto say gum on sidewalks is also an issue.
“Gum is really ugly. They sweep the sidewalks to get rid of paper, but there’s still gum,” she explained, adding that in Manhattan there are machines used to clean gum off the streets and suggested that they could be used in Brooklyn, as well.
Alfred Piro wrote a letter on behalf of his disabled daughter, who uses a wheelchair, to State Senator Marty Golden’s office, asking to increase awareness of this issue. He explained that when she pushes the wheels manually, she all too often gets some type of dog waste on her hands, gloves or sleeves just because people are not picking up after their pooches.
“It’s a problem; this is the most extreme example of the problem,” he said. “It’s an annoyance to you or me; it’s a major problem to people who are in wheelchairs.”
Piro added that his daughter doesn’t want to go out at night because she is not able to see exactly what is on the ground. This includes not only dog droppings, but dog urine and human spit.
“People can’t do what they need to do in the middle of the sidewalk,” Piro said.
Golden said he would ask the Department of Sanitation to consider making “Clean Up After Your Dog Signs” available for residents to post on their homes.
“Those who do not clean up after their dogs destroy the quality of life for all residents. I do hope that these concerns raised in this letter will not be ignored,” Golden said. “The next time you are out walking your dog, stop and think for a moment, and pick up after your dog.”