Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP
Commissioner, NYC Parks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2018
ADVISORY: NYC PARKS AND HEALTH DEPARTMENT ADVISE DOG OWNERS VISITING CENTRAL PARK TO KEEP DOGS ON LEASH
Dog owners encouraged to keep dogs safe and away from wildlife especially during dusk and dawn, off-leash hours
NYC Parks and Health Department, in relation to the distemper outbreak affecting raccoons in Central Park, today 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.
Central Park off-leash hours are from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.; park hours are from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.