Feb. 19, 2011 By Christian Murray
The owner of a dog rescue operation faced his critics at a civic association meeting earlier this month after members of that group had argued that he was putting children at risk by walking his dogs near a local park.
The members of the United 40s Civic Association in a January meeting complained that The Dog Guru, a business run by Raja Shah, was walking his pit bull mixes next to the 43rdStreet/Greenpoint Ave. section of Thomas P Noonan Park—and putting young children at risk.
Other members of the group claimed that he was also letting his dogs walk on the grassy section alongside the park, which was tearing up the soil. Furthermore, they claimed he was allowing the dogs to poop there.
Shah, who spoke for 30 minutes, was quick to turn his fiercest critics into advocates after he explained what he did and the expertise of his staff.
Shah told the group that he runs a non-profit operation that takes in abandoned dogs from the New York Animal Care Control, rehabilitates them and adopts them out. He said he operates out of a 5,500 sqf. warehouse (located at 47-42 43rd Street, behind Orchard Farmers Market) and keeps about 45 dogs.
The critics were put at ease when he explained that the individuals who are walking the dogs are specially trained to deal with rescue animals. He said that his own daughter goes to that same park and he wouldn’t allow the dogs to pose a risk. He said he does get some dangerous dogs in, but he never lets them off the property until they have been rehabilitated.
Furthermore, he argued that the dogs had been walking on the grassy spot by the park because they needed a break from concrete. However, since the complaints were made in January, he said he had stopped walking the dogs there and was just walking them outside his property.
He said he had been working to re-soil the grass alongside the park with Sunnyside Shines, the local business improvement district. Additionally, despite his absence alongside the park in the past month, he claimed dog poop had accumulated. He said this is because “we not only clean up after our own dogs but the area in general.”
One woman, who said she had been stalking the Dog Guru’s staff for two days, said that the walkers had blue bags and cleaned up after the dogs every time. She said that another dog owner with a pair of huskies didn’t bother to pick after his dogs.
By the end of the night, the civic association was fine with Shah walking his dogs near the park and was confident that the dogs were under control and the rubbish was being properly disposed of.
Anyone who claims that this man is training fighting dogs is an idiot. Before a person brings up accusations like that he/she should have a lot of evidence. I know the dog guru personally and he is NOT a dog fighter nor does he encourage or condone it. Let’s stop this brainless hystericsd and try to understand each other.
I am a former resident of sunnyside but moved to Jackson heights a couple weeks ago, I am no crazy dog lover but I have respect for this man. I have a 2 year old pit and I came to him to show me training for my dog and he showed me the basic obidience. Since that day my dog has been 10x better then when I first got him. True the area may get dirty once in a while but we are all human right? Everything can’t be perfect, I went to the park one day and I saw a couple kids try to run up to Raja’s mastiff and the trainer that was handling him calmy and smoothly told the kids to not touch the dog because they are in training. As far as child endangerment at the park would be more of irresponsible parenting rather than the dogs and trainers themselves. Anyways much love for Raja Shah and all his trainers for doing an amazing job and saving these dog’s lives.
What kind of rehabilitation is he doing? I doubt he is saying the truth here. What is obvious to me and can’t understand why nobody else sees that – this “Guru” is training the dogs for fights and he is profiting like crazy, rest assured! How else he has only huge dangerous dogs? Why is it only dog fights and beaten dogs that I hear when I go past the place? Even this guru told me once when I was walking with my daughter in front of his place to watch out with my little one as he has some dangerous kinds. Amazing! People in this country can be brain washed
Well I am still not happy because as I said I DO NOT have nothing against dogs in general…but playground for kids with little green path just on the other side of the gate for dogs is the craziest and most dangerous idea I have ever saw….And besides those dogs are still on this grass walked without muzzles. All of these dogs are really big and dangerous dogs like pit bulls and others so this is crazy that this guy “GURU” says that he teaches them and then let them walk around this area and what …close to kids they are not dangerous??? What about the hygiene…dogs peeing by the gate and our little once touch this …where is logic…? This is not right! And by the way I was walking by this park today and it STINKS like hell!! And new grass does not make me happy. Dogs still urine and poop there….
Dogs, kids, crummy grass, *yawn*… Can we do something about the leering, cursing, depressing drunks hiding their Popov bottles in the bushes at T. Noonan? Or the INSANE “meal” that gets left for the pigeons everyday on 42nd st? I don’t need my toddler tempted by rotting mac’n’cheese or a bunch of diabetic pigeons hangin’ around!
Oh, so now it’s ok to have our kids walk and play only in concrete, but we should create a better environment for the dogs, is that it? Poor creatures can’t stand the concrete, they need our public grass to trash and cover in urine and poop! What’s wrong with you people? If this “guru” really cared for the environment, he should have grown his own grass on his property to allow his animals to shit in, not polute the air next to a kids’ play area! And he is saying he hasn’t walked them there since January? That’s BS – I go to the park every day and I see their dogs there all the time.
Good luck Dog Guru! I’m very happy for what he does. There’s plenty of pet owners in this neighborhood who could learn a thing or two from him!
I have a little dog, and I religiously clean up. Seeing human size poop on the streets from a large dog (even a small dog) is disgusting and shows a lack of respect for the neighborhood. I hope other residents agree that the next time they see a dog owner not cleaning up the dog’s poop, they WILL say something. It is absolutely disgusting that some people get away with this.
Reality_Based – The entire south side of the neighborhood is covered with poop not just around the Dog Guru and I don’t think it has to do with the Dog Guru’s dogs. Just bad owners from the neighborhood.
So maybe the lady does have too much time on her hands. I still appreciate what she’s doing. Sunnyside is covered in dog shit. It is without a doubt one of the worst parts about living in the neighborhood. As a dog owner who religiously cleans up after my pet, it’s particularly galling because it makes us all look so bad. I wish more people would call out the idiots who turn our streets into a giant k-9 toilet. And glad to hear that it seems like the Dog Guru isn’t responsible for this, although I’m still a bit skeptical. It was horrendous right outside their building when the snow first melted a few weeks back.
this stalker lady, doesnt she have anything else better to do. why doesnt she become a block watcher.
Iam glad it worked out so well at that meeting with the dog guru and other meeting people. Sometimes after hearing both sides we can come to a better understanding. We have some very mean dogs in our town so at least we this dog guru some of the owners mght be able to get some help for their dogs. Now with warm weather on the way more people and kids will be waking around and we want everyone safe on the street to be safe . Some people afraid of dogs. Maybe this guy can help us solve these issues
Laws need to be obeyed or repealed if unjustified. Graffiti is vandalism unless the owner approves it, regardless if some consider it art. If some people can’t live within the rules of society they need to live elsewhere or convince others that rules need to be repealed. Otherwise, we’ll have chaos.
Sunnyside is full of crazies. I’m so happy this guy is helping animals in need! Good for him! Big deal with the grass, it’s not like anyone’s supposed to play in it in the first place. Would it matter if I went and walked all along the grass? Would I get trashed by crazy Sunnysiders on this site? It’s REALLY not that serious. Dogs need some nice patchy grass to walk around on!
Was the stalker lady named Alice Kravitz by chance?
lmfao i love how they changed the initial picture after my last post
check out that graffiti on that wall!
the big mural that used to exist on what is now Orchard Farmer’s Market was good stuff… now its a blank beige wall
-shrugs- suit yourself sunnyside
i wish i didnt miss the article about that
do you people not see whats wrong with this neighborhood?
“One woman, who said she had been stalking the Dog Guru’s staff for two days…”
STALKING?! no one sees anything wrong with that? who does that? what happened to privacy?
and there is a big fence along the park; kids shouldn’t be running in the grass, they might “tear up the soil”.
whose fault would that be if a child got bit? sounds like an irresponsible parent to me.
kudos to this guy and everything he is doing for these animals!