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.”