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Responding to Pressure, RIOC Patches a Bad Dog Run


It’s late, and it’s still inadequate, but RIOC barely escaped injuring itself with self-congratulations. After years of gross neglect, the state agency covered the bare dirt surface of the Southtown dog run, mulching over rocks and other sharp objects that injured so many dogs few owners dared using it.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

An Embarrassing Dog Run’s Quick Fix

The tweet is misleading – an autumn start of Building 9 is only hopeful, not certain – and aimed at pleasing a small but vocal chorus of Karens working against dogs and their owners. And it was already in “public usage.”

Alfeo, an Italian newcomer to Roosevelt Island enjoyed the safe, new surface. Other owners complained about their dogs coming home caked with loose mulch.

As for the dogs, this is better but still inadequate.

The characteristics of a safe and appealing dog run are :

* fencing high enough to keep dogs in and people out,

* soft ground cover to protect paws and joints,

* double-gated entry to prevent escapes,

* water available inside the run, and

* poop bags and wastebaskets.

The Southtown Dog Run has only two of the five with the new mulch and poop bags now available.

Nowhere has RIOC recognized the need for unleashed hours in open spaces. These are common all over dog-friendly New York City, but the Karens demanded the opposite for Roosevelt Island.

Still no water and no shade, but credit where credit is due, the mulch covered over the worst injury risks. After years of broken promises and enough excuses to bake a cake, it was a first sign of progress.

Accompanying this is a pledge to open a worst in class “temporary” dog run under the Queensboro Bridge. Dog owners, for reasons of safety along with distrust, are universally opposed.

What’s missing here?

While RIOC finally responded to a crescendo of complaints – and potential liability, a major miss is the absence of dog owners in the process. Since taking over the state agency, President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes has leaned on a small group of residents for making a pretense of community involvement.

Here, again, it’s the Residents Association, a small, unelected group of insiders claiming to represent Roosevelt Islanders without a factual basis.

They last held elections in 2018 and lack representation in most buildings. Even in buildings that do have representation, it’s proportionately small, leaving two buildings’ representatives, for all intents, in control.

Significantly, Southtown – where the majority of Roosevelt Island dogs live – is badly underrepresented.

That suits Haynes, but it runs an increasing risk of validating a chaotic operation with little interest in the larger community. RIRA appears increasingly ready to serve RIOC ahead of Roosevelt Islander.

Potential repercussions from that are considerable.

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