(ABOVE: File photo of hMAG Publisher’s dog and scofflaw child on the grass in a Hoboken park)
Dogs in Hoboken—or should we say dog owners—have been getting a lot of attention lately.
While all-too-common act of owners leaving dog waste in public areas has been pretty much universally condemned, some residents are left with questions over ramped up enforcement tactics.
@RaviBhalla I received a ticket by an undercover cop for my leashed dog being on grass? Central Park has off leash hours and Hoboken is banning dogs from using grass? This doesn’t seem so progressive to me. Not to mention this is where you are putting our resources? #Hoboken pic.twitter.com/hOHgnGgVPW
— LAUREN BOGUSH (@LAURENBOGUSH) April 13, 2019
In a conversation with hMAG, Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante explained that, “We [Hoboken Police] have been getting a lot of calls from residents in the northeast park of Hoboken along the waterfront, complaining about dogs in public spaces.” He adds, “when a call comes in, it’s our duty to respond.”
As a result, a Hoboken Police Officer has been tasked with enforcing Municipal Code 93-22, which states, “No dogs or other animals, leashed or unleashed, are permitted in any public park or playground except for the bringing of said dog directly to and directly from a City dog run, without diversion, in any public park.”
“This is an ordinance that had been approved by the City Council,” said Ferrante, “and our job is to enforce it.”
Animal issues came under the jurisdiction of municipal departments after the abolition of New Jersey’s troubled NJSPCA.
As mandated by State of NJ & Attorney General,w/ abolishment of the SPCA, each law enforcement agency has to have a police officer act as an animal cruelty officer and since he is trained in all areas of animals, he assists the health dept with animal issues in @CityofHoboken https://t.co/WauDooUmqq
— Chief Ken Ferrante (@KenFerrante) April 13, 2019
“The officer is a plain clothes officer, with a badge,” Ferrante told hMAG. “We’re not running undercover operations to catch dogs on grass.”
Ferrante says that the officer has been in the vicinity of Maxwell Park for an extended period, issuing verbal warnings to dog owners who failed to comply with the ordinance.
“Over three weeks, the officer was there and gave out over 200 warnings,” said Ferrante. “Then yesterday, he issued two summonses.”
In addition to HPD, members of the City’s Department of Environmental Services are also on patrol. Having previously issued warnings, they are now handing out tickets as well.
As one might expect, the issue is sparking contentious debate here in Hoboken.
THAT is ridiculous. If children are allowed on the grass why aren’t dogs?
— LizzieBennett (@LizzieB23762436) April 13, 2019
***UPDATE*** (11:25 a.m.)
The City of Hoboken has issued the following statement:
“While the City ordinance states that dogs are not allowed on grass in City parks, the City will instead focus on more substantial violations such as the dog owners not picking up after their dogs and dogs off leash.”