BPC Dogs
Battery Park City Dog Association
New York City

January 30, 2022

Dear members,

Recent press reports regarding leptospirosis outbreaks associated with a dog park in Brooklyn have prompted inquiries from BPC dog owners about sanitation practices in the BPC dog parks.

As you may already know, leptospirosis is a potentially fatal (to dogs) disease that is carried in rat urine and which can survive in water or soil for weeks. Humans and animals can contract the disease through contact with contaminated urine, water, or soil. Standing water, such as water puddles in paved areas like our dog parks, can be sources of contaminated water.

We reached out to Vice President Nick Sbordone of the Battery Park City Authority to find out how BPCA is addressing the risks of leptospirosis in BPC, especially as those risks may apply to the BPC dog parks. We're pleased to report that BPCA has been following the leptospirosis reports closely and is taking proactive steps to minimize those risks in BPC. Here are excerpts from Nick's response to our inquiry:


"From the Downtown Veterinary Medical Hospital we've learned the following:


*          In New York City, the main vectors of leptospirosis are rodents, specifically rats and squirrels.

*          Dogs can become infected by coming in direct contact with urine from an infected animal, which can linger in puddles and on and around garbage on the street.

*          The best way to prevent Leptospirosis is to vaccinate your dog, and to avoid exposure.

*          You should not allow your dog to drink from puddles or sift through or eat garbage. Dogs with open wounds or sores should not walk through puddles or dirty snow and should avoid rolling in mud or dirt at parks. In warmer times of the year, dogs should not be allowed to swim in ponds or other stagnant bodies of water.

*          Healthy, vaccinated dogs with no symptoms do not need to be tested or treated proactively. If you feel that your dog is displaying concerning symptoms, such as severe lethargy, vomiting, inappetence, increased thirst, and inappropriate urination, you shold contact your vet. ( Battery Park Veterinary Hospital (as I'm sure you know) is at 21 South End Avenue and (212) 786-4444.)


So the good news here is [VP of Parks Operations, Ryan Torres] and team keep our dog runs - and all Battery Park City's parks & public spaces - up to the world-class standard we've maintained for decades. All three of our dog parks - "Sirius" at Kowsky Plaza, the North Run on North End Avenue, and the West Thames Dog Run - are checked and cleaned daily. So as not to create icing conditions, and therefore increase the risk of slips and falls, we don't use water on days when it's at or below freezing, of course, but each day we:


*          Visit each dog run daily (and when it's warm or especially hot, twice daily)

*          Collect trash and dog waste compost

*          Pick up an soiled areas, left by dog owners, that we see

*          Sweep excessive leaves and debris if present

*          Leave newspaper and scoopers at each dog run for users to facilitate cleaning up after themselves

*          Provide ways for users to hose down the dog runs themselves, when its warm enough to have the water on (this, again, is turned off in the winter to prevent freezing)

*          Do a full wash down of the dog runs when it's warm enough (temps above freezing). This consists of:

o    Using water to hose down the entire dog run; and

o    Using an enzyme-digesting cleaner (which is especially helpful for dog waste)


(Our parks lawns are closed for the winter so "rolling in mud or dirt at parks" is also eliminated as a potentiality.)


As this is shared space, dog owners are also required to clean up after their dogs as indicated in our Parks Rules, and on signs posted at each dog run. Still, since not every owner will be as thorough as we might hope, BPCA cleans each run daily as described above.


Last month we also conducted the "deep cleanings" of each run prior to the winter setting in. Nonetheless, if there are specific instances and places you're seeing that have been substantially dirtied since our last cleaning please let us know and we'll aim to prioritize during our staff's next pass thru."




We hope you find this information from BPCA to be helpful. If you become aware of any local leptospirosis infections, please let us know.

Let's keep our pets safe!

BPC Dogs Home