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Residents Have Bone to Pick With Dog Guru

Dog Guru Location (Photo: QueensPost)

Jan. 15, 2011 By Christian Murray

Members of a local civic association told the police that they were disturbed by the owner of a dog-rescue operation for walking his dogs near a Sunnyside park.

The members, speaking at the United 40s Civic Association, complained that the Dog Guru, run by Raja Shah, put young children at risk by walking his pit bull mixes next to the 43rd Street/Greenpoint Ave section of Thomas P. Noonan Park.

The members told Capt. Donald Powers, the police precinct head of 108, that Shah and his staff also let the dogs walk on the grass next to the park, thereby tearing up the turf.

These residents want Shah to be stopped from walking his dogs near the park and insist he walk them elsewhere. Powers told the residents that he would call the ASPCA to look into the matter.

Shah, when contacted after the meeting, said he respected people’s safety concerns. “I live in the Celtics, and my wife and [young] daughter go to the park all the time.”

He asked people to cut him a little bit of slack. “We are a non-profit trying to save dogs, many of whom come from the neighborhood. We have a paid staff who are specially trained to deal with rescue dogs.”

As for the grass, he said the dogs need a patch of grass to walk on. He said that he had already reached out to Sunnyside Shines [the local business improvement group] and informed them he was planning on re-soiling the area come spring.

“We are also good for the local business community,” Shah said. “People come out to adopt a dog everyday and we recommend places where they can grab lunch.”

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At the moment the association has no one better to pic on so they pic on the new guy. Skillman park is over run with volleyball and soccer players 7 days a week and all year long and so is the P.S 150 School yard I thought it was built for the kids to play in. Who gave them a permit to turn our park in to their back yard ? DO ANY OF THE SO CALLED PLAYERS LIVE IN SUNNYSIDE ?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I grew up in this neighborhood and as a child I was able to ride my bike, skateboard , roller skates in this part of the park. I guess the kids should just ride their bikes in the new bike lanes that the city has provided for us.


This is ridiculous! He is walking his dogs, parents should watch their children if they are so afraid of his dogs. He is doing a great job!

45th and Skillman

LThompson, come on. I owned a dog in this neighborhood for 12 years and I know for a fact that Lodati park turns into an informal dog run every night around 8 – 9 o’clock. I understand wanting to get your dogs a good run – I used to shlep up to Doughboy park where there was a terrible dog run all the time.

But on a snowy day you can be sure there are 20-25 dogs over the course of the day off leash pooping and peeing on the fresh snow. Then I’m going to let my kids make snowmen?

There should be a dog run. I’m all for that. It’s long overdue.

The guys playing soccer in the summer? They don’t take up the whole playground and as far as I know, they don’t stop in the middle of the game to pee on the blacktop.

The permanent barbeque/volleyball games over by the handball courts every day in the summer? That’s a little sketchy.


Agree with the commenters here. He’s doing a good job in the neighbodhood. So long as the dogs are leashed and cleaned up after, its okay to me. I’m looking forward to the dog run in Loudato park, but I feel like there are a lot of “open spaces” in the neighborhood that could also work for a large dog run. I would like a seperate small dog run too.


People need to lighten up. And to the 45th and Skillman comment above, you have a playground that is just for kids right beside the big open area. I don’t see you complaining about all the men that take it over every weekend in the warmer months to play soccer? They aren’t kids either you know. Who cares if a dog is out there…wait 10 minutes and I bet they’ll be finished and you and your kid can have a turn.

I have two large dogs and I am looked at with such hatred or fear sometimes. My dogs are friendly but people here just have such misconceptions about larger dogs. As far as the poop goes…it annoys me too. I am religious about picking mine up but so many don’t. Don’t judge all of us because of a few. And cut the guy a break, he’s just trying help.

By the way, thank you sunnyside post. I enjoy this blog so much.

45th and Skillman

Robert B is right about the snow and dog owners.

It’s definitely time for a dog run in this neighborhood. Lou Lodati park has turned into a de facto dog run, and when I tried to take my 2 year old son to play in the snow recently I had to turn around and go home because there were 5 dogs off the leash inside the fence.

I understand the desire to give dogs a good run in the snow, but that park is for kids.


he seems like a really reasonable guy who has already taken measures to address the problem. why the public lashing?


I wonder if these people even bothered to speak to this man before getting the police involved. If not, shame on them! Calling the police over this is way over the top.

Put bulls are often put to sleep just for being pit bulls and this man is trying to rescue them and other neglected animals. Yes, cut him some slack!

I don’t have a dog, but I agree that Sunnyside needs a dog run. This has been a compliant I’ve heard for years and years. Well exercised dogs are better behaved, calmer, quieter pets.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Shah!

Time's Up

Good for this guy. Dog rescuers do God’s work.

The government has little power to stop people from walking their leashed dogs on public streets.

If there was proof of these dogs actually putting kids in danger, then that would be different. But I think these people are falling victim to the all-pitbulls-are-bad mentality.


I thought we were making a dog run for all the dogs in the nighborhood. Are we making a dog run in this park also or just the one on skillman ave

Robert B

If dogs are leased and cleaned up after I agree…cut him some slack.
I’m not a dog owner but it would be nice if there could be a small piece of land solely for dogs…like a dog park…here in Sunnyside
My biggest gripe is with dog owners that think a snowstorm gives them a license to not pick up after their dogs!


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