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Dog-owners bite back against Parks Department blunder

Bay Ridge dog-owners showed just how much bite their barks really have, not backing down to a recent Parks Department mix-up. Reacting in unison, dog-owners rallied to remove a lone sign at 88th Street and Shore Road that boldly read, “No dogs allowed.”

Deirdre Butler, owner of Paws Truly pet boutique and locally renowned Labradoodle Seamus Butler, said her husband noticed the sign hanging from the park entrance Tuesday, November 5. Completely surprised, Seamus’ family went straight to social media in defense of their pup, recently honored as a Bay Ridge Pioneer.

“He took a photo, showed it to me that evening and posted it to Seamus’ page the next day,” said Butler. “Once notice went up on Facebook, you can see how it took off.”

Seamus’ post resulted in 93 comments from outraged dog-owners, many of whom, Butler says, turned to 311 like she did. “It would appear a number of people reached out to various contacts, agencies, etcetera,” she explained.

Those pleas were met by what some are calling a record response from the Parks Department.

“The sign was put up in error,” said New York City Parks Department Spokesperson Meghan Lalor. “It was posted for only a few days and has been removed.”

In fact, Parks Department personnel were seen removing the sign Saturday, November 9 just before 1:30 p.m., just four days after the alert was raised. According to Parks Department rules and regulations, leashed dogs are allowed in city parks and unleashed dogs may enter designated areas from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

One-year-old Golden Doodle Murphy Maguire celebrates the removal of a mistaken “No dogs allowed” sign with owner, Laura Maguire. (BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Meaghan McGoldrick)

Local dog-owners praised the good news.

“These dog owners, we protect the park,” said Bay Ridge resident Brian Maguire. “We’re there early and we’re there late. We don’t do any harm.”

Maguire and his wife, Mary, are the proud owners of Murphy Maguire, a one-year-old Golden Doodle who is a nightly visitor at Shore Road Park. Maguire stressed the importance of not only allowing these dogs in the park, but also allotting them a time to be unleashed.

“Allowing these dogs to run around without a leash makes them better citizens because they get to be dogs,” he explained. “It’s good for the dogs, it’s good for the owners and it’s good for the community.”

Mary echoed her husband, adding that the quick fix by the Parks Department comes in light of failed attempts to clean up the areas that are designated for dogs.

“We’d go to the dog parks more if they were in better condition,” she said, noting that parks like Shore Road are a greater asset for dogs than some dog parks. “They’re muddy and thorny and the Parks Department hasn’t done anything about it.”

Still, the Maguire family considers this a victory for Murphy.

“We’re happy to see the sign come down,” said Maguire, “and so is Murph.”

Butler agreed, celebrating with Seamus.

“I was very happy that Parks reacted so quickly,” she said. “Evidently, the dogs of Bay Ridge have a very strong voice…or bark!”

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