Was the Pandemic Dog Boom a story? ( News New York )

Last year a man named Ben Joergens made the decision to answer, in a very granular way, a few questions that were apparently nagging at him. First, “What was the profile of the NYC dog population like before COVID-19?” He wrote in the Middle, where he published the results of his investigations. Second: “How has Covid-19 affected dog adoption in NYC, especially in comparison to other types of care?”

To do this, he drilled into the information provided in the hospital’s dog licensing system; scraped information about NYC Animal Care Centers, a major shelter and adoption service; and Google Trends searches from local IP addresses for “dog,” “cat,” “guinea pig,” and “rabbit.” He went on to create visualization modules that revealed, for example, that while there were lots of dogs named Lola in Manhattan and Brooklyn, there were none in Queens, the Bronx, or Staten Island. Bellas (and mutts) are well represented everywhere. Other conclusions were surprising.

Observing the casual nature of domestic life in the city, it seems that the pandemic has made a dog owner out of almost everyone. Is this the product of our choice? Dr. Joergens’ research suggests that it may be. Its data shows that adoptions of both dogs and cats in 2020 were higher than before the pandemic in January. But while cat adoptions went up more or less during the first period of the pandemic, dog adoptions steadily declined, then more or less leveled off from May through December 2010.

There are caveats, of course: In affluent neighborhoods like the Upper West Side, already crowded with dogs, some have acquired new pets through stalls or shops rather than through rescue agencies. In addition, caring for dogs is expensive, keeping them in New York is particularly challenging and the pandemic complicated life for everyone — all of which give Mr. Joergens’ counterintuitive comments a certain context.

Could it be that Covid didn’t raise the canine of our feelings, but instead gnawed at it? That seems to be the case in Chelsea. Earlier this year, Eric Bottcher, a council member recently elected to represent the neighborhood, had a vision for stripping hardscape across Penn South, a 60-year-old middle-income cooperative housing complex spanning six blocks on West 20th. between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. For years he had been harassed every time he walked through the aisle. “It never had a life in it,” he told me recently. “This was an unusual piece of asphalt in the middle of Manhattan.” Sometimes a link is made to drug use.

Although the land runs through the South Penn campus, it belongs to the state parks. Mr. Bottcher thought it would be the best place for a temporary dog ​​run while the area’s first location, Chelsea Waterside Park, further west, was closed for renovation. A petition was issued to stop it even before the incident was arrested. Working with the Parks Department, Mr. Bottcher succeeded in his ambition, and the dog was opened at the spring.

They disagree, however. noise complaints were made to 311; The dogs were brighter. However, there were hundreds of supporters on the other side who would make mobile dogs permanent. The money for this work has already been made. To address complaints about barking, the pro-dog group had volunteers approach owners and ask them to “humanely” lower the volume of their concerns; They set standards and “models” how to train the barking dogs themselves. Volunteers sweeping the leaves. “We put a dog doll containing bags every 10 feet,” one supporter pointed out at a special local community committee a few weeks ago. He insisted that they change the “culture” of the dog park.

but this was hardly a consensus. Frequent uncontrolled and penetrating barking that occurs every day from 8 am to 8 pm, “when one speaker put it in the meeting, left the residents of the buildings adjacent to the gardens in danger, he believed, based on the incidents, including. loss, disturbed sleep and lost crops.” There were nuns in a nearby convent. Did anyone ask them if they wanted to run the dog?

In addition, there was disagreement about how the dog run would affect the older residents of South Penn, considered “a naturally occurring retirement allowance.” One opinion stated that the dog run was “too chaotic with the big dogs running around” and that the elderly were afraid of being knocked over, while the other stated that the dog run was necessary because of the round trip for older or infirm pet owners. the elk dog was too tall and heavy. There was a discrepancy in what the actual distances were. One mother mentioned that her 13-year-old daughter often walked the family dog; going elsewhere would take her to halfway houses, and this was “not terrible”.

Some have suggested that with the windows closed, barking is not disruptive – much of this is based on hyperbole. Essentially, the position of the antagonistic dogs boiled down to what one resident who spoke at the joint meeting, as “a common right, a common right and people to enjoy the peaceful possession of our homes.” It was a fact that more and more people were working at home and were looking for a kind of serenity that urban life did not set up to accommodate.

Social isolation and psychological confusion provided some of the most serious collateral damage of the pandemic. Were not dogs and strong public spaces the antidote to this? It is the most powerful argument that the supporters of the park have given that successful trade to be damned. “When I walk, I see neighbors talking to each other and laughing together,” Mr. Bottcher said. “That’s not all you see a lot of these days. It is a place where neighbors meet each other. We need more spaces where people can connect and create community.” In the middle of a community board discussion held on Zoom, a young guy in a t-shirt showed up with a Husky next to him to make the case even more forcefully: “If there’s a world where this is all going to be closed down . He went down – no. “

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