Community Alerts

Advisory: NYC Parks & Health Dept. Advise Dog Owners to Keep Dogs on Leash in Central Park

Aug 10, 2018

The NYC Parks Department and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygine, in relation to the distemper outbreak affecting raccoons in Central Park, have issued an advisory strongly recommending that visiting dogs be kept on leashes. The two agencies are specifically concerned about dogs in the park during dusk and dawn, off-leash hours, after two incidents where dogs had encounters with raccoons. Parks and Health have been working in coordination since raccoons in the park first tested positive for the virus. Distemper does not cause a threat to humans, but unvaccinated dogs and other wildlife can be affected.

To date, 85 sick or dead raccoons have been collected by NYC Park Rangers. None of the collected raccoons submitted for testing have been positive for rabies.

If the public sees a sick or injured raccoon they are asked to call 311 and request the NYC Parks Rangers to address. Dog owners encouraged to keep dogs safe and away from wildlife especially during dusk and dawn, off-leash hours

Central Park off-leash hours are from 9:00pm to 9:00am; park hours are from 6:00am to 1:00am. 

Photo credit: West Side Rag