Off-leash Rules Explained...


Official Parks Department Off-Leash Rules



Prospect Park Off-Leash Rules Explained, Ad Nauseam...

Very Important...
We share the Park with lots of others: people, birds, critters, and plants.  It's a big park but heavily used. Please remember these few points -
they can save you a bunch of money (like $100 per dog!)

Be sure to tell your friends:

PROSPECT PARK OFF-LEASH AREAS: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. - 5 a.m to 9 a.m.
Long Meadow; Nethermead & Peninsula ... See Map

Leash Up - While off-leash rules extend from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., it is mandatory that you leash your dog upon request of a person of authority whether it's off-leash hours or not. It makes good sense and may defuse a situation that would otherwise cost you a fine for whatever the perceived reason. Prospect Park is technically closed to all after 1a.m.. It reopens at 5 a.m.

The ball fields are officially OFF LIMITS no matter the season, hour, on-leash or not. This is a ruling by the City Parks Department that came with the legalization of a city wide off-leash - a kind of one rule "fits all" policy. Ball fields extend from the horse corral to the 9th Street path beside the Tennis House.

FAQ: Does "ball fields" include the center swath of grass down the middle? Is it OK to be on-leash on the ball fields?

A: Off means OFF. Park Policy says that dogs must be on-leash, on the paths, even while going around the ball fields until you reach the Ninth Street path leading to the Dog Beach. This also means that dogs on leash are NOT allowed on the swath between ball fields. The reason for this is that off-leash dogs running anywhere along the perimeter have the potential to run into the ball field play area and poop; or leave a puddle on the concrete bench areas, hence, dogs must be on-leash, on the paths, until they reach the Long Meadow Proper - the path beside the Tennis House, leading directly down to the Dog Beach...

Pee Wee Teams are active after April Opening Day - especially on weekends. As a courtesy and for your own enjoyment of the Long Meadow, give them another fifty yards of space - dogs and balls don't mix!

Dogs are NEVER, EVER allowed off leash in the water after off-leash hours. We know it's tempting, especially on weekends, but there are far too many passersby & children - many of whom would rather not encounter off-leash dogs. Be considerate of others! Swimming is allowed in the lake from the off-leash area known as the Peninsula but only during off-leash hours.

Remember that the water at the Dog Beach gets VERY deep, VERY quickly. It is NOT a toddler pool!

There may be workfare crews cleaning up picnicker's garbage before 9 a.m., though mostly during summer months. They have a job to do which shouldn't have to include sweeping up OUR dog poop! Be aware that some of them would rather not meet off-leash dogs, so we should make an effort to keep our dogs away at all times.

Horses are spooky critters and ANY encounter with dogs may lead to serious injury to the rider and the horse. A FIDO Member writes: "...while a rowdy pedestrians pose a danger as well, it is important that people understand that horses are prey animals and as such, have a highly developed "startle" sense. They can't differentiate well between dogs and cougars."

Wooded areas, pathways, BRIDLE PATHS and roads are never OK for off-leash.

Running your dog in or even NEAR the horse corral is a BIG no, no! The bridle path near the Nethermead is a particular sore point with the horseback riders. Off-leash dogs may hassle the horses. Anticipate trouble - KEEP Your Dog Away!

Support the New York City Horse Council & especially the Kensington Stables, Brooklyn

It's against everything FIDO stands for to let your dog chase them - and it's a big, big NO as far as the Park Rangers are concerned. Letting your dog pursue squirrels is having a dog that's out of control - a major serious issue.

NESTING AREAS - (woods as well as along waterways)
Dogs must be on leash in these areas anyway. Some of these areas are fenced in, you say? There are more than a few park users who are nervous about encountering off-leash dogs within the confines of a trail. Put yourself in other peoples' shoes. Your dog must be on leash, ALL the time!

Dog owners: Please,
don't even think about it!

Use common sense! If you must bring your toddler out during off-leash hours, stay alert!
There's always the danger of a little one being toppled by exuberant playful dogs of all sizes. Know that strollers may attract unwanted attention because of the inevitable coating of food debris.

One argument we hear: "Hey, it's a public park. I have a right to be here too."

True, but during designated user group time you ought to cut everyone a little slack. Why deliberately walk through the middle of the ball fields during game season just because...

This is not to say dog owners should remain oblivious to their dog's interactions. While off-leash hours is often considered a "time-share", dog owners must do their part to see that their dogs remains under control no matter what.