Gowanus Attack Dog Follow Up: Settle It 'Between Neighbors'
So, what does someone do if one is walking down the street with one's spouse and dogs and is attacked by insane dogs that have escaped from a construction site? Apparently, one should reach deep inside and appeal to the God of one's understanding. We were in touch yesterday with one of the victims of the Scarano Bunker dog attack on Bond Street. She told us that, "It seems like we've fallen into a black hole since the police can't (won't?) do anything until a human is bit, and Community Board 6 is telling us to contact the police if we see the dogs loose again." Which sounds vaguely like Catch 22, except in Gowanus and with a building designed by a controversial architect (which we realize is neither here nor there) and dogs with nasty dispositions and a desire to bite. Earlier this week, a dog named Cappy--who marched in the annual BARC Parade as Captain Brooklyn--and was mauled by an escaped guard dog on Bond Street. (That's Cappy, above, in a photo we realized we had of him from the parade.) Here is the response from Community Board 6 to the victim:
Thank you for contacting our office. Unfortunately, the guard dog issue is a neighbor/neighbor matter that can only be resolved between neighbors. If you see the dogs loose again, I would urge you to contact the 76th precinct.GL Analysis:
While we're certain the response is appropriate in a bureaucratic way, it seems to lack a certain something we can't quite put our finger on. Perhaps, it's the hope that the "guard dog issue" be "resolved between neighbors" when the neighbor in question is a building site that has 36 complaints logged with the Department of Buildings, many of them for what would seem to be very un-neighborlike conduct. Or, maybe, it's simply the entire sense that one must wait for one's face to get bitten off or one's pet to be killed before anyone in city government will do anything. So, we would ask whether one should call the 76th Precinct be before or after prying the vicious dog's jaws from one's leg or trying to keep it from swallowing one's pet? Perhaps it would behoove the Community Board to add escaped vicious dogs to the list of construction site safety issues that might be addressed, not between neighbors, but between government and development and contractors.
Oddly, what we called the Nightmare on Bond Street brings us full circle to the issue of powerlessness that many people feel about the impact of development on their communities. It's not being excessive to suggest the city should take an interest in construction site attack dogs that could kill someone before there is an injury. The power of the building permit--and its suspension or revocation is one of the few defenses the public has. It should be used, and the code should be revised to cover any number of threats including Construction Site Cujos.