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Memorial Paying Tribute to Local Canines Trashed

SUDS Memorial at Lou Tornsey/Lodati Park before its destruction (Photo: SUDS)

May 28, 2019 By Christian Murray

The memorial dedicated to those canines that were frequent visitors to the Lou Lodati dog run and have passed away over the years was trashed Saturday night.

Vandals destroyed 117 tags–each tag paying tribute to a deceased dog–that were attached to the fence on a keyring. The tags, pink for females and blue for males, included names such as Toby, Spike, Shane, Barnum, Olive and more. Five brown tags, in memorial of five individuals—such as Mark Barberi, a Sunnyside resident who helped the run become a reality–were also destroyed.

Each tag had been torn off the keyring and discarded on the dog run or in an adjacent garden. The Sunnyside United Dog Society banner was also trashed.

Dog run shortly after its opening (Photo: QueensPost)

The incident was the first time that vandals had targeted the run since it opened in 2013, according to Rick Duro, the president of Sunnyside United Dogs Society (SUDS), the group that pushed for the installation of the dog run and the renovation of the park.

“This would have taken hours to do,” Duro said. “Each tag would have had to have been twisted off by hand. It would have taken a lot of time and anger to do it.”

Duro said that the incident most likely took place between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday, based on reports from members who were at the run or passed by it that night.

SUDS members have no idea as to who did it nor what the motive may have been. The group is now taking steps to fix the memorial and replace the tags.

“At first I was really angry,” Duro said. “But I’m going to fix this and I’m not spending my energy getting upset.”

Duro, who started the memorial in 2013, has kept a log of the names of all the dogs and people who have passed away over the years. He is the record keeper, so to speak. “When a dog passes away, I send the owner my condolences and buy a tag.”

Duro said that a member of SUDS will be donating about $250 to replace the tags, with each tag costing about $2.

“It’s been disheartening. But I’m not going to let one bad person define our dog run,” Duro said. “This park [run] is doing really well and 99 percent of people do the right thing.”

Trashed tags thrown into the water fountain at dog run (Photo: SUDS)

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Shame those responsible. Appalling! I will pay to replace them. Rick contact me.


This community should be outraged that there are people who would make a memorial for dead dogs. Thank god there are still some decent people who stood up to these dog crazies.


Outraged? I’m not a dog person but I understand how someone would have an emotional connection to their dog or cat. It’s sweet, and maybe a little silly, but it’s not crazy.

Bellevue is calling for you

Decent people? Nuts is a more accurate description. Without those dogs, and people, that are commemorated there wouldn’t be a run, nor a refurbished park for all to enjoy. Thus, they are honored. There’s a statue of a dead dog in central park. Would you have that destroyed too?


You think people should be up in arms over a barely-noticeable memorial for dogs inside a dog park?

That’s… different.

George Kelly

Cold ,calloused son of a bitch did this..I dont particularly like the hipster crowd taking over Sunnyside,but to destroy their shrine isnt right..period..
Maybe they excluded someone and that nut vandalized that shrine..F.Y.I.Remember all Parks should be inclusive not a clique club..So be shrines should be placed in public parks anyway..BUT,VERY DISTURBING,TO SAY THE LEAST…


We are hardly ‘hipsters’. Many of the people who started SUDS, and continue to maintain the run, are olde school neighborhood folks. We also have many newer neighborhood transplants that make it a great place day in and day out. No one is excluded and everyone is treated the same. There’s only 1 thing you need…a dog.

Dr Vinny Goombahts

There are plaques in parks all over the city commemorating people and events. This is no different.


Your comment seems to be more about how you feel about “hipsters” than about the actual incident. You’re not in the clique, so what? I learned that way back in high school.

Billy goat gruff

It’s dog tags on a fence. Get over it. I can think of a million other things you should be getting riled up over. Things that really matter and affect your life on a daily basis.

Sunnyside Rabbit

Some people only have their dogs. They don’t have families/children, so their dogs really do affect their life on a daily basis. It’s like vandalizing a memorial to a family member. It is worth getting upset about.


Many thanks to olde skool SUDSters Jimmie Underwood and Ingrid Larson for covering the cost for the replacements! They were instrumental in designing the dog run.


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