March 27, 2019, By Meghan Sackman
A Jackson Heights group of dog owners have created a petition calling on the city to allow their pooches to run off-leash during specified hours in a fenced off section of Travers Park.
The petition, created four days ago by a community group named The Responsible Dog Owners of Jackson Heights, requests off-leash hours in the newly-remodeled Travers Park, located at 77th Street between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard.
The petition, which has generated 215 signatures so far, is addressed to Council Member Danny Dromm and asks for dogs to be allowed to run off-leash in the new fenced in handball court area between 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. each day.
The request was initiated after a couple of dog owners were hit with $50 fines for running their dogs off-leash in the enclosed handball court on March 12, according to Teng Leong, an administrator of the group and a Jackson Heights dog owner.
The group says that there are currently no suitable places for their pups to run.
Existing designated dog areas, such as JH Crew Dog park located under the BQE on 69th Street, are unsatisfactory, Leong said.
JH Crew Dog Park is not well lit at night, is run by a private organization that can reject dog owners, and is not central to Jackson Heights, according to Leong.
Leong said that Travers Park is well located and meets their needs.
“With the changes made to Travers Park, the handball area is fenced off, so there is a level of safety and there is even a water fountain to fill a bowl up with water for your dog,” Leong said.
In addition to the creation of the online petition, the group has also begun circulating hard copies of the petition where members are getting written signatures while out on dog walks.
A neighborhood cleanup, dubbed “Scoop the Poop”, has been organized by the group to show residents that they are responsible dog owners who would look after the dedicated off-leash space.
The clean up involves picking up dog poop in Jackson Heights left behind by “irresponsible owners” who give all dog owners a bad name, Leong said.
The clean up initiative will begin this Saturday at 10 a.m., at the Jackson Heights Post Office on 37th Ave, and will continue every Saturday into the summer.
The group is planning to deliver the petition to Dromm on April 2.