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Article in The Ithaca Journal, March 16, 2005.

ITHACA -- Dog park issue unleashed again
By ANNE JU, Journal Staff

ITHACA Despite some past roadblocks, dog owners in the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County aren't giving up on efforts to create a recreational space for free-roaming dogs.

The Tompkins County Dog Owners Group, which organizer Ken Zeserson said has about 200 members, approached the Community and Neighborhood Services Committee of Common Council earlier this month, reviving their quest for an off-leash dog area after a brief hiatus.

More... [or... archived article]

Article in The Ithaca Journal, March 16, 2005.

ITHACA -- A local group dedicated to promoting a legal dog park in Tompkins County will hold a key organizational meeting tonight.

The Tompkins County Dog Owners Group -- TCDOG -- will gather for its first general membership meeting from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center gymnasium, 318 N. Albany St. The purpose of tonight's meeting is not to hash out plans for a dog park, but to tackle basic organizational tasks necessary before the big issues can be dealt with. More... [or... archived article]

Letter to the editor in The Ithaca Journal, Saturday, February 25, 2006

...Complaints made in the past few months are outrageous. We, as dog owners and taxpayers, deserve to have an official dog park! We should have a place to take our companions to run free under our close supervision.

We have an obligation to speak up and support an official dog park at the north end of Allen H. Treman Park, a place where we have gone to exercise our dog's off-leash in the past and should be able to continue in the future. More... [or... archived article]

Letter to the editor in The Ithaca Journal, March 5, 2005.

...I hope Ithaca's dialogue about a dog park -- a dialogue that should be focused on meeting the needs of the whole community -- will not deteriorate into people battering others with stories of gruesome dog attacks.

I believe that, whenever possible, most of us want to defer to those who have been traumatized. I also believe that such deference isn't always appropriate or fair in community life.

Advocates of an off-leash dog park are not proposing that dogs run at will in the city. We aren't insisting that leashed dogs, their owners or people anxious around unleashed dogs be forced into contact with those of us prefer off-leash activity for our dogs. In fact, we are proposing the opposite. More... [or... archived article]

Letter to the editor in The Ithaca Journal, Feb. 23, 2005.

I am not a dog owner. Years ago, when owners kept their pets at home, I used to walk in the fields behind the Hanger Theatre.

However, the strip of land near the water was frequently populated by unsavory folk who appeared to be trading, selling or using various illegal substances. Our little group of walkers never got close enough to see exactly what these other people were doing, but for me, the peaceful atmosphere became tainted and it was no longer pleasant to go there. Now that this same parcel of land is so well used by dogs and their owners, it is again one of our favorite places to be. More... [or... archived article]

Cap'n Ken's Table Squad Hits the Chili Fest

After an auspicious debut at GreenStar on Feb. 12, Ken Zeserson's table commandos took up position outside P.A.W.S. for the Feb. 19 Chili Fest. Scores of concerned citizens signed petitions urging the establishment of an off-leash dog park at Treman Marina.

Thanks to Patrice (GreenStar) and Jay (P.A.W.S.) for hosting Ken's Tablers!

Below, as the crowd thins out in late afternoon, Marsha ropes in the stragglers. (Click for larger images.)

Letter to the Editor from Bill Hansen

We need a safe place to exercise our dogs
...I see unleashed dogs, with and without their owners, on city streets regularly. I'd love to see some consistency in enforcement -- or better yet, a return to tolerance of off-leash dog walking in the marina area... Letter on Ithaca Journal Web site [or... archived article]

Fill out the Recreation Survey

An Ithaca Journal article by Roger Dupuis II on Feb. 10 calls attention to a Town of Ithaca Recreation Survey. The specified deadline is November 15, 2004, but according to the article,

"Officials still want to hear from town residents about their views on community recreation resources."

Since they had only gotten about 180 responses, our views can make a difference. You can download the survey at

Also Susanne Morgan suggests that

"if someone knows or uses one of [the other park] areas, that person could be part of a TCDOG presence in the planning for it. Tutelo Park is an area the earlier TCDOG group explored briefly but then planning for its use was delayed by the town."

Dog Park on Cable News (Feb. 11, 2005)

Channel 10 reporter Megan Driscoll was shooting a story at the Ithaca Dog Park today around noon. Unfortunately, there was not much of a crowd at the time. Proton posed patiently while her owner explained the importance of this facility. Maya, who was having [yet another] bad hair day, stayed in the background, pouncing on a wounded tennis ball. Text and video [or... archived article]

Arthur in the news (Feb. 11, 2005)

ITHACA -- Not everyone sees the prospect of dogs running free in Allen H. Treman State Marine Park as a positive thing.

In fact, it's a nightmare for at least one man. "It is only a matter of time until someone is seriously mauled," Vestal resident Arthur Samodovitz wrote to state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer last August, saying he had been assaulted three times by unleashed dogs. More... [or... archived article]

[Webmaster's Note: Arthur refers to being assaulted by dogs three times. Being a lawyer, he is of course using the legal definition of "assault," which is "a threat or attempt to inflict bodily harm" -- not the definition current in the language at large, in which the word means "violent physical [or verbal] attack." Coming from a cynophobe, the word is subjective and highly questionable: even an inquiring "woof" could be characterized as an assault in the sense of a "threat." Given Arthur's suspicious manner and dress (broad-brimmed hat and insectoid dark glasses), it is not too surprising that he would attract the attention of dogs.]

Ithaca Journal editorial delivers! (Feb. 10, 2005)

Unheeded constituency
Let's build a dog park!

...In September, 2004 a Binghamton lawyer who rented a boat slip at the marina wrote the city claiming that the dogs caused him such emotional distress that he was deprived of his rights to use public park land, Ithaca City Attorney Martin Luster told The Journal. He threatened to sue unless the city aggressively enforced its leash laws.

Park police officers suddenly began issuing tickets to patrons who walked their dogs off-leash. This past weekend, they went on a ticket blitz, sealing off the parking lot with squad cars as if they had Osama bin Laden penned in by the picnic tables, instead of a bunch of dogwalkers celebrating the thaw.

Before this silliness goes any further, city and state officials should move to establish an official, fully-legal area for dogs in Cass/Treman Park. More... [or... archived article]

Wednesday in the Times (Feb. 9, 2005)

Is Ithaca going to the dogs?

The seemingly endless debate over a dog park in Ithaca could have been resolved when New York state offered dog owners two to three acres of fenced-in land exclusively for off-leash dogs. But, this being Ithaca, instead of fetching the offer, owners pooh-poohed the state for not offering enough space. More... [or... archived article]

Monday in the Journal (Feb. 7, 2005)

State park police dishing out tickets to Treman dog walkers by ROGER DUPUIS II, Journal Staff

ITHACA -- Dog walkers weren't the only people to converge on Allen H. Treman State Marine Park Saturday. More... [or... archived article]

Monday at the Park

Saturday At the Park

Arthur is back with a vengeance. This time he managed to get three cruisers and four officers to ticket alledged leash violators. If you have received a ticket for having a dog off-leash at Treman Park, you may want to contact TCDOG for informal advice on how to approach the legal issues.

Roger Dupuis, journalist for the Ithaca Journal and author of the article referred to below, would like to speak with ticketees. You may contact him on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 274-9246.

Dog Parks in the News: On Friday, Feb. 4, the Ithaca Journal published an article on dog park issues.

For more information, see and

SPCA Meeting to Discuss Dog Park Organization Message from Kerry Barnes:

Thanks to all who made the meeting Wednesday night at the Adoption Center. It was great to see such a large turnout!

To recap briefly for those who weren't able to be there:

We discussed the history of the dog park in Treman Marina and the current situation as it stands now. Genevieve Kocienda from the Tompkins County Dog Owners Group (TCDOG) handed out surveys for interested indivduals to fill out about what's wanted in a dog park. She's going to compile the results and share the info with the SPCA so we can get a better idea of what it is we're going to be working toward. Genevieve also handed out TCDOG membership forms and announced their next meeting is March 16th.

Kerry Barnes and Jim Tantillo from the SPCA announced to the group that the SPCA has a parcel of land it is interested in using as a secure off-leash dog park. The land does have some drawbacks, however; the greatest one being the marshy, swampiness of the area. The project will require a commitment to fundraising in order to provide the fencing, water supply and other amenities needed to make the park a success. It was discussed that a successful dog park at the SPCA could be used as a model and motivation for the community and a means of gathering support for other dog parks in Tompkins County.

The next steps are research and unity. The SPCA and TCDOG will continue to share information and support as we move forward toward realizing our goal. Meeting attendees were encouraged to research other successful dog parks and speak with the people who made them happen for advice, suggestions and direction. Researching/brainstorming creative fundraising ideas was also suggested.

The SPCA is planning on holding another dog park meeting in mid-to-late March when Dog Care Coordinator Donna Davie returns from her training in California. The public is encouraged to attend TCDOG's meeting on March 16 and joining the TCDOG listserv to stay informed.

Thank you again for your support and commitment to establishing a place our dogs can play and socialize free of restraint!

Kerry A. Barnes
Development Coordinator
Tompkins County SPCA
1640 Hanshaw Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 257-1822 ext. 232

February 1 in the Journal
Dog park meeting set for Wednesday

ITHACA -- The Tompkins County SPCA will host a brief information meeting Wednesday for those who are interested in creating an off-leash dog park in the county. The gathering will be held at 6 p.m. at the Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center, 1640 Hanshaw Road.

According to organizers, an off-leash dog park is not only a secure place for dogs to engage in vigorous exercise, but a place where they can interact with other dogs and people. A well-socialized dog is less likely to develop behavior problems such as aggression and excessive barking.

For more information, contact or call 257-1822.

Lynn Metrulis' opinion in Ithaca Journal, January 5, 2005:

It's time for the City of Ithaca to catch up with the rest of the planet and designate a dog park for our families to enjoy. Doggie guardians who have had it with their marginalization in Ithaca formed a group a few years ago to rectify the situation.

Ithaca Town Board Goals "Town boss lays out '05 goals," by Roger Dupuis II; Ithaca Journal, Saturday, January 1, 2005.

Councilman Will Burbank said the board seemed largely appreciative of Valentino's suggestions, and said he might offer a few priorities of his own. Among them are what he sees as the need for a dedicated dog park, improved trails for the area and a thoughtful evaluation of town government processes.

Nov. 23, 2005 in the Journal "We need off-leash dog walking areas," by Pat Prior, guest columnist.

Recent reports of ticketing for off-leash dogs at Treman Marina and negative comments about dogs in local papers are very dismaying, especially the suggestion that off-leash dog walking is not a recreational activity which should receive government support.

In a community that prides itself, I think, on the breadth and variety of recreational options available for its residents, the idea that off-leash dog walking is not a worthy activity is astounding! More... [or... archived article]

Letter to the editor in The Ithaca Journal, June 25, 2003

Park dogs

In response to a recent letter writer who was troubled by dogs in a city park: Try another park. Ithaca has so many parks and so much public land where ther are no dogs at all.

If you were picnicking next to the ball fields and got hit with a ball you might get up and move someplace safer. You wouldn't ask the ballplayers to stop the game so you could have lunch. Same for dogs. Dog owners have one place to go -- the city dog park. Strollers and picnickers have hundreds. Try Steward Park (no dogs allowed), Buttermilk, Taughannock, Treman, Mulholland Preserve, Lick Brook, the rest of Cass Park, Washington Park, or any of the many beautiful, accessible, open spaces in our area. Just as you wouldn't picnic in the middle of a ball field, you can't expect your food to be safe in the middle of a bunch of happy dogs.

Let the dogs have their park and enjoy one of the dozens of others.

Diana Drucker
Town of Lansing

Contact TCDOG at

Once again, the Ithaca Times puts us in our place.

Not quite as snotty as their last editorial on the dog park issue, but they certainly are trying to raise our hackles. They conclude:

From the looks of it, dog owners blew their best shot at "free" land by turning down the state's offer as "not good enough." But if another opportunity arises from the meeting of local elected officials, large or small, dog owners should take what they can get.
For full text, visit Update Page.

Saturday Crackdown in the News

Monday's Ithaca Journal (Feb. 7, 2005) has front page coverage of the Treman ticketing.

Arthur Gets RUFF!

On Saturday afternoon (February 5), three cruisers of State Park Police swooped down on the dogpark parking lot, and ticketed everybody in sight. According to Officer Merrill, the action was initiated at the instigation of Arthur Samodovitz.

For help with tickets, contact TCDOG.

Dog park in the News

On Friday, Feb. 4, the Ithaca Journal published an article by Roger Dupuis II on dog park issues. Mr. Dupuis would like to speak with those who were ticketed at Treman the following day; he can be reached at the Journal on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 274-9246.

TCDOG gets its act together An important meeting of the TCDOG Steering Committee will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 9; an open membership meeting is scheduled for mid-March. See TCDOG's new Web site at for updates.

Speak! Speak! Posted by Liz Constable on dogsoc, Jan. 10:

In case you haven't seen this....TODAY's "Stuff" poll in the Ithaca Journal is asking "Should there be an exclusive dog park in your city/county?" (of course they have worded this in a way that makes it sound like a demand....)

If you want to respond here is the link:

(Look for the poll under STUFF.)

Metrulis in the Ithaca Journal

"Ithaca Really Needs a Dog Park," article by Lynn Metrulis (guest columnist), published in the Ithaca Journal on Wednesday, January 5, 2005.

Get your tickets here!

Despite the evacuation of the boaters, park police continue to hand out tickets. More...

All Dogs' Day Doesn't Bite

Costumed contestants. Click for larger photo.

Halloween photo gallery

Post Mortem: Encyclical from the Party Daimon


Parties take a lot of work and planning, and while my name has been going on the party emails, obviously it isn't one person who puts something like this together. So here is an email to set the record straight & give some credit where due.

Grand Poobah!
Throne provide by P.A.W.S. (Thanks, Jay!)

Click for larger photos.

The real winner...
... in her mommie's mind.

First, to the local businesses who generously donated the treats & prizes today: P.A.W.S. provided the beautiful dog bed; Cat's Pajamas donated the excellent VOTE rhinestone collar; and especially Ithaca Grain and Pet Supply, which provided about 90% of the treats and toys, donating *two huge cartons* of dog treats, balls, pull toys, chew toys, rope pulls, doggie crackers, and other wonderful goodies, all in support of our dog park and TC-DOG. Please remember these three businesses and give them your support - and tell them thanks!

Howsie chooses a prize.
(Thanks, Ithaca Grain and Pet Supply!)
Then there were all the dog parkers who worked to make this happen. First and foremost, Liz Constable worked on the planning, found lots of great treats & toys, brought food, helped set up before and clean up after the party, and made sure during it that the dog treats got distributed among all the party goers. Skye's other human, Steve, was instrumental in getting tents raised & struck, getting all the tables and food where it needed to be, getting us motivated to clean up - and also thought to bring a hammer for tent stakes! Traci Jones made the pumpkin oatmeal dog treats that my dogs & others went nuts over, helped get everything set up & cleaned up, kept off the rain with her special anti-rain shirt - and had the best behaved dog, according to the judges!

Jonathan Bernstein got the tarps raised and as stable as possible (not easy since they weren't designed to be tents, but thanks to Jonathan everything stayed dry during the early sprinkles & nothing blew down during the subsequent wind) and he also got things going moving picnic tables & other set up. Cyndy Scheibe wrote, laid out, printed, and brought the 'All New' TC-DOG membership forms and park surveys, and then gave up most of the party fun because of her dedication in manning (womanning?) the table to ensure that party-goers learned about the surveys and membership sign up. Mar Perez also missed some of the party because she was helping out at the table. Seth was our official photographer, made the beautiful card for Stuart & Peggy Milliken, and helped us get the picnic tables back where they belonged. Scott & Madeline pitched in with clean-up help just when the rest of us were flagging. And lots of other people brought wonderful treats for dogs & people, and helped out during the party - thanks, everyone!

Mucho credit goes to our upbeat and creative judges, Laurel Guy & Dede Hatch, whose joint judicial wisdom found just the right categories for appreciating each dog's unique charm in the costume contest. Our judges' good humor and enthusiasm was contagious & set the tone for a wonderful afternoon. Their assistant, Ellie, got numbers out to all the contestants and organized the prizes - without Ellie, the costume contest would have been a chaotic disaster!

Finally, Joanie Groome insisted four weeks ago that we needed to have a Halloween Party with costumes for the dogs, and promised to bring Isabelle and Beauregard in costume. We did, she did, and everyone had a blast. Thanks, Joanie!


Goodbye, Mocha!

Bad news from China.

News from the Home Front

Packman Committee Update (This is the committee that's trying to get the dog park legalized.)

All Dogs' Day A Halloween Party... Saturday, Oct. 30, 2-4:30 PM at the Dog Park.

Costumes Optional. Off-leash attitude recommended. Rain-date TBA. Potluck snacks and beverages.

Be there... for your dog.

About those tickets...


If you or someone you know has received a ticket at the Marina in the past two weeks, please get in touch with me immediately - before a plea is made and the ticket is mailed in, if possible. I have information for you to help with the process. We also can talk about it by telephone if that would help. I have been through this & also have been keeping current with how they are being handled in City Court.


(who has Coda, Lark & Buddy, the Border Collie trio, at the park)

P.S. This offer is open to anyone who gets a ticket in the future, too.

DogSoc Listserv: You can subscribe to the online dogpark grapevine by sending an email to with the message Subscribe DogSoc.

Vestal boat-owner Arthur Samodovitz, whose complaints have precipitated the current crackdown.

(Click for larger photos.)

Dog Park The issue of the Ithaca Dog Park at Treman Marina is once again in play. Responding to complaints, the state park police have started ticketing off-leash dog walkers. Here is an anonymized letter that was posted on the dogsoc listserv on September 15:

Hi, I'm B and F's owner, G. Here's what happened today:

The state park police were at the park so I took both dogs on leash on the path on the left side of the park towards the lake. I was about 75 ft. from the water when I took just F off leash so that he could at least get some swimming in. I was then going to put him back on the leash to walk him back through the park and to the car. After about 3 minutes, I looked around to see the state park police, in their car, directly behind me. They had driven through the entire park to see what I was doing. Flounder had run a little ways to the right so they might have seen him from the parking lot.

Anyway, they told me that they were finished with giving out warnings (I had never received one) and were ticketing me for having my dog off leash, no other infraction. When I asked what the actual fine was, they told me that they couldn't say b/c it was up to the city court, but, it could be anything from $250 to a waive of the charge. I will appear at city court on Sept. 29th. They also told me that they had ticketed other people already today before me (this happened at about 10:00am).

Personally, I don't mind taking my dogs on leash until I'm well into the park and then letting them swim and run in the back away from the picnic tables and the boats, but not being able to let them off leash at all is ludicrous (I realize that I'm preaching to the choir). I know that there's a history to this whole thing - does it generally blow over? It's hard to imagine the police driving through the park everyday...

I am going to e-mail the mayor and my Common Council representative tomorrow. I've heard several people at the park talk about how the mayor promised to keep the park off leash when she was campaigning.

A meeting was held on Tuesday, Sept. 2, to share information and discuss strategies..

Agenda; discussion summaries; correspondence

Dog-Based Tourism Initiative Among the results of this meeting was a decision to undertake a Dog-Based Tourism (DBT) Initiative. See DBT page

Arthur's taxdollars at work.

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