NJ town considers finally allowing dogs in parks

TEANECK, NJ —  A North Jersey community has been banning dogs from township parks for years, but that could soon change.

Teaneck is set to vote on a measure to allow leashed pups inside parks on a trial basis. Proponents say it’s time to let the dogs out, while opponents say let sleeping dogs lie.

PIX11 spoke to dog owners at the one and only dog run in Teaneck - at Phelps Park.

“Probably half of the residents have dogs, so why shouldn’t they be allowed everywhere,” Diane Rothschild, who has lived in Teaneck for 20 years, said.

Rothschild was with her 1-and-a-half year old Shetland sheep dog, Ringo. Ringo was roaming free inside the fenced-in dog run.

The no dogs allowed in parks rule has been in existence in Teaneck for decades.

The township council is considering a measure to allow leashed dogs at two parks - Sagamore and Clarence W. Brett.

Canine owners say they’ve grown weary of driving to neighboring towns for public green space.

“It takes me a good half hour during rush hour traffic at night to take him up to Ridgewood,” Rothschild said.

If the measure passes, it would be for a 90-day trial basis. If no issues arise during that time period, leashed pups could be allowed in more Teaneck parks than just the two in the proposal.

Dog owners say it’s about time. They’re not happy with the condition of the only dog run at Phelps.

“They have a doggy daycare business that operates out of this park," Gordon Brown said. "They have 20-25 dogs in one area and some are aggressive."

Brown was at the dog run this evening with his 2-year-old Saluki hound, Skye.

“If you don’t like dogs, that’s OK. I have a dog, I have him on a leash. He’s not gonna bother you, we have rights too,” Brown said.

Opponents say not everyone is in favor of changing the years-old rule. Some contend untrained dogs or dogs with irresponsible owners may be dangerous. Others say they simply don’t like dogs.

The township council will take up the issue at their next meeting in two weeks, on April 10 at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.