Metro Pets

By Elizabeth Greene


It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally official: New York City canines can run free during limited hours in city parks sans leashes! Throughout a three step process, NYCdog ( the group that lobbied for new regulation securing the limited leash-free hours, has fought to give “man’s best friend” their freedom of exploring and frolicking with their fellow four-legged friends without being on a leash at all times.


Photos courtesy of

For 20 years, the successful policy has allowed limited off-leash recreation in specific sections of certain NYC parks. A lawsuit threatened the future of the policy but in November 2006, a New York State Supreme Court judge rejected it. A month later, the NYC Board of Health voted unanimously to pass amendments strengthening and clarifying the limited Off-Leash House Policy. On April 10, 2007, the Parks Department announced a Notice of Adoption to its official regulations that organize an Off-leash Hours policy. And On May 10, the adopted amendments went into effect and the dogs could run free!

With the regulations in effect, dogs can run off-leash in designated areas from the time of opening until 9 a.m. and from 9 p.m. until the park closes. The dogs must have current dog license and a rabies vaccination. With those simple requirements in order, our canine companions can enjoy a little bit of pure freedom even in the crazy urban jungle!

NYCdog (New York Council of Dog Owner Groups) was founded in 1999 to work together and deal with New York City’s off-leash recreation community. NYCdog covers over 40 official enclosed dog parks in NYC and worked consistently to maintain the off-leash privileges that were being threatened with the lawsuit.

For more information on NYC Leash laws, go to

For a list of NYC dog parks, go to the city’s Parks site at

Originally published September 2007



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