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Leader of Sunnyside Dog Run Urges Canine Owners to Follow Social Distancing Rules, or Run May Close

Dog Run at Lou Loudati Park (Image SUDS)

March 25, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

The leader of a local dog group is pleading with canine owners who use Lou Lodati Park dog run to follow social distancing guidelines – or else the run may have to be shut down temporarily.

Rick Duro, the president of Sunnyside United Dogs Society who oversees the dog run, said he has witnessed people not abiding by social distancing guidelines and fears this behavior may lead to the spread of COVID-19.

Duro has asked users to stay a minimum of six feet apart from one another–as recommended by health officials. However, he said, many people are failing to do so and that he may be forced to call on the Parks Dept. to close the run to ensure public safety.

“I watched two people chat for an hour Tuesday and they were less than two feet away from one another,” Duro said. “And they weren’t relatives they were just two people out having a chat.”

Furthermore, too many people are often using the run at any one time, he added, and most people are not wearing gloves or masks.

City parks, playgrounds and dog runs are remaining open at least until Saturday— as long as people adhere to social distancing rules and avoid group sports, Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday.

Mayor Bill De Blasio will be making a decision as to whether city parks will remain open on Saturday based on whether people are adhering to the guidelines.

Duro has erected a sign outside the run listing the new rules for the space to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and to keep the run open for as long as possible.

He said that he is limiting the space dedicated to small dogs to a maximum of two people. Meanwhile, the dog run for larger dogs is limited to no more than four people at any one time.

He is also appealing for people to reduce the amount of time they spend in the run and for people to wear gloves and a mask.

Duro, whose advocacy led to the dog run being built in the first place, said the space was conceived under the concept of being for the greater good of the whole community – not just dog owners – and people should keep that idea in mind when using the run.

“What might get you or me sick might get someone else killed,” he said

Rules for Lou Lodati Dog Run during coronavirus pandemic (Image Rick Duro: SUDS)

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25 Comments

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No way jose

Its people like you that we all laugh at jose. You see, it’s people like him that actually help the community, while you sit there and whine. Keeping people informed about what’s going on at a park is important right now. Any area where people congregate is social by nature. You sound like you could use some friends. Adopt a dog and stop by when all of this is over with, your attitude will most certainly change.

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RinTinTin

Rick is the man! Does more in an afternoon for our community than any of you keyboard warriors have in your pathetic little lives.

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Jose

During normal times it’s fun to laugh at him and his dog run obsession but in these troubled times please continue to print serious articles informing us of what is going on in our area with the virus. Our area seems to be the hardest hit area in the world. I don’t need to hear about the social scene at a dog run.

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Nigel

i think RD is a hero. He and his partner do so much for the Sunnyside community. Why don’t you nasty people leave him alone. Awful. Love ya Ricky D.

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Use common sense???

What world is he living in??? I often times think I’m the ONLY one with common sense.

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Caroline

All the dogs should be on a leash in public at all times! Whether in the dog run or not. Its to protect other dogs and people in-case people start getting ill. Have you not seen the videos on line of people collapsing on the streets in China and Europe? Or reports of how quickly this virus takes it toll on people. You think you are doing fine one minute and so quickly your body begins to shut down. I am sorry but this is the truth and why it is so scary.

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Brianna

@Guess…Those that can not carry their dog(s) up multi-family homes entrances, walkways and steps should take the time to mop the common areas with some bleach and warm water! This is a matter of common concern and public safety. Taking a little time to clean up public spaces is not going to hurt you or your dog. They are alone when you are at work anyway.

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Gardens Watcher

Senior, I totally agree. Yesterday I was at CVS Woodside and a young woman with a big dog was on her phone, self-absorbed, chatting away and standing right near the exit door. I had to stop in my tracks, and walk around her and her dog to get to out of the store. I’ve had to do this repeatedly on sidewalks too, especially since many dog walkers are self-focused on their phones.

It should not be up to pedestrians to ask dog walkers to keep their dogs on a tight leash or to move into the street. You may think your pooch is friendly and won’t hurt anybody. Not everybody feels the same.

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RD

Jim, Jerry and Tom (sounds like a 50’s boy band): i was working the entire hour i observed the people chatting so closely. I walked by them numerous times, impossible not to notice. As for the size of my dog, she’s 100lb dog in a 40lb body, even at 17+. I think a tent over jerry’s mouth would be much more effective and save many more people. Lol.

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Senior

The sidewalk is primarily for pedestrian safety and dogs can pose a hazard. Please pull your dog back and away from pedestrians when walking on the sidewalk and entering stores and homes especially for children and seniors that have slow reaction times. Many people are outside shopping and going to doctors/pharmacies.

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Pops

The same people complaining about the people and dogs outside are also outside with their dogs. Stay home and meditate with your dogs about big empty fields. And think about adopting a cat next time.

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Claire

Would be nice if someone monitored the playgrounds. Lets get our priorities in order. Report barking dogs to 311. My neighbor is dog sitting and I can not focus on work with all the barking. I reported him 3 times already.

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Jerry

Maybe we can get Rick Duro and the other dog walkers send them to the dog run put a tent over it and quarantine them.

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Guess

Not all dog owners have the luxury of being able to carry their dogs or not walk them. Some dogs need more exercise than others – it’s not as easy as just playing fetch in the apartment. Some people need to mind their own business and stay home.

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Pay Attn

He’s doin the right thing you dummies. They have taken down 80 basketball hoops across the city. Makes sense. We know ppl aren’t smart enuf to listen to reason so sometimes decisions gotta be made for them to protect them from themselves and others.

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RDuro

Yes, thank you Capt Obvious, the park belongs to the city, and SUDS maintains it for them. That’s why I’ve been working with the parks dept on this. Those rules were created yesterday working with the parks dept, under their advisement. The reason it’s necessary is that people aren’t keeping a safe distance from one another and could easily transmit the virus to one another, thus “just drop your dog off, stay back, etc” isn’t happening. While you may not get that ill, you could then pass it on to others that could. Or, have you not been paying attention to what’s been going on today at Elmhurst hospital in Queens? I have been going down to the run and sanitizing the things we all handle (entry gates, cleaning tools), making sure we have fresh water, etc as often as i can, taking the neccessary precautions. But, what’s the point if people aren’t taking the advice of medical professionals in talking for an hour, right next to one another? I know it sucks to be stuck in our apartments, feeling like we are under house arrest and that our dogs need exercise, but you can always walk your dog around the neighborhood for exercise, as opposed to congregating in one place. The parks dept has been calling me to see if people are abiding by the guidelines we are all stuck living under right now. If folks wont listen to reason i’ll let them know it may be best to lock the gates to the run and then it is their call. The decision to close city parks could be coming soon anyway. We have to look out for one another right now and remember, especially now, that our actions and lack thereof, could have grave consequences. We have a large elderly population in Sunnyside and we need to look out for them.

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Gardens Watcher

How stupid is this? Queens tops the list for most virus cases, and people are still debating if they need to stay home?

South Africa has ordered dog owners not to take their dogs for walks for three weeks. Why can’t dogs here do their business in front of your house? Curb your dog is the law here, which means in the street, not on the sidewalks.

Do we really need big daddy deBlasio to tell us that?

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Brianna

Wash your dogs thoroughly after you go for a walk and bring them back home! Please carry them in your arms to your apartment after they been outdoors!! Lets protect each other especially our children that our closer to steps and floors and tend to lay or sit on them. This is all advice I read from other places that are experiencing the virus. Barely any public spaces in our city are being sanitized.

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Guest

Sounds like leader thinks he make rules on his own.
It’s dogs, you go in, drop your dogs, stay back and away from other people, done.
Then go in pick your dogs one at a time. What is this “2 dog” rule? Nonsense. If he doesn’t want to take his dogs there, he can take his dogs elsewhere. Poor dogs.. need their dog run? What about people?

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