Ridgewood dog owners unite to advocate for dog run at Grover Cleveland Park

dog owners
The Grover Cleveland Pups, a community group comprised of more than 40 dog owners in Ridgewood, depend on the local park for exercising and socializing their beloved pets. They are calling for the construction of a dog run at the park. Their current objective is to gather 500 signatures before submitting their petition to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.
Photos courtesy of Grover Cleveland Pups/Google Maps

A petition to bring a dog run to Grover Cleveland Park in Ridgewood is gaining traction as pet owners continue to advocate for a community space for their furry friends.

Members of the Grover Cleveland Pups, a group of more than 40 dog owners who rely on the park to walk and socialize their pups, launched a petition in February that has already garnered more than 325 signatures. The group aims to obtain 500 signatures before sending the petition to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Lead organizers of the neighborhood dog group say the addition of a dedicated dog space would provide a service to hundreds of dog owners and parkgoers alike. The space, they say, would help prevent dogs from running out of the park and into traffic, while keeping parkgoers who are afraid of dogs at ease.

Hayley Malin, who is advocating for a dog run, with her canine Ruby. Photo courtesy Hayley Malin

Hayley Malin is one of the many dog owners in the neighborhood advocating for the dog run. As the owner of the Two Monsters Pet Shop, located at 792 Onderdonk Ave. in Ridgewood, she’s had plenty of dog owners ask her where they can take their dogs to play.

“People come in all the time and ask, ‘Where’s the dog park? Where do I bring my dog with me? How do I meet other dogs for my dog to play with?’” Malin says.

Malin, who helps keep the space where dogs often gather at Grover Cleveland Park clean, became a strong advocate for a dog run after her canine, Ruby, required surgery after being cut by a piece of glass at the park last year.

She said that a dog run would serve all residents, whether they have a dog or not.

“People not only who love dogs would love a dog park, but people who also don’t want free-roaming dogs in the park would love a dog park,” Malin says. “It’s just safer for everybody.”

Rachel Norman, another dog owner who is responsible for drafting the petition, actually connected with Malin and many like-minded dog parents by visiting Grover Cleveland Park.

Norman says she too saw a need for a dedicated dog park in her daily visits with other dog owners at Grover Cleveland Park, but the kindness from fellow dog parents is what prompted her to advocate for the dog park.

“I’ve never experienced before, where we show up in the morning, and there’s like 30 of us 20 to 30, depending on the day or the weather conditions. And everyone is just so kind,” Norman says. “I think everyone was also a little bit surprised at how well everybody got along.”

With strength in numbers, Norman says dog owners take it upon themselves to hold each other accountable for keeping the park area clean and making sure park rules are being followed. But their efforts are sometimes too much to bear alone.

“In Grover Cleveland, we really see the depth of the garbage and the waste, and the root of the issues,” says Norman. “We tend to be the ones cleaning it up because we don’t want our dogs to eat it or get hurt by it,” Norman adds.

Without a dedicated dog space, dog parents are only permitted to let their pets off-leash in the park between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., as per NYC Park Rules.

Max Rose, another dog owner in Ridgewood, says the group is in this dog park campaign for the long haul. In talking with elected officials like Assembly Member Juan Ardila, the dog owners are still working to prove that they’re a well-established group.

“I think I can speak for everyone when I say my dog comes literally first in my life. I love her and I want the best for her,” says Rose. “Like yes, of course, we could still just do our thing that we’ve been doing, but why not get a safe place for them?”

Max Rose’s dog Lucifer. Photo courtesy Max Rose

Overall, the Grover Cleveland Park Pups group insists a dedicated dog space would provide more hours for dog parents to visit the park and alleviate any neighborhood concern over off-leashed dogs.

Anyone looking to add their signature to the petition is encouraged to participate by clicking on this link.