April 23, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Dead dog found in Prospect Park’s ‘Lake of Death’

for The Brooklyn Paper

The lake at Prospect Park once again gave up its dead yesterday — yet another grisly discovery to bolster fears that the man-made oasis has become a watery graveyard.

Parks officials confirmed that a small dog was found early on April 22 during a routine cleaning of the lake and its environs.

At first, it was believed that the poor pooch was Thompy, a dog-napped Boerum Hill Cocker Spaniel who disappeared on April 14, but parks officials diffused the rumor, claiming the remains were so badly decomposed that they must have been in the water for weeks.

The carcass was in such bad shape that the maintenance worker who found it had to scoop it from the water with a crate, explained Prospect Park spokesman Eugene Patron.

“At first [the maintenance worker] wasn’t sure if it was a dog or a possum — it was that badly decomposed,” said Patron.

Parks officials surmise that the remains may have been of a dog that went missing last winter and fell through the ice.

But park lover Ed Bahlman, who makes daily pilgrimages to the lake, disputed the “ice dog” theory, claiming the area where the dead animal was found doesn’t freeze over in the winter.

The carcass — which he saw in the lake on Tuesday morning, two days before the Parks Department did — was found near a thatch of reeds that someone had torched a few weeks earlier.

“[The dog] was soaked, but it wasn’t that badly decomposed,” Bahlman said. “There was no dog there on Friday, so it could have been killed and thrown in there the day before it was found.”

No one will ever know for certain how the dog died. The Parks Department never conducted a necropsy, even though they had previously promised to run tests on any dead animal found by the lake.

Patron said that no tests were done because of the dog’s advanced state of decay. It was also a domesticated animal and not part of the park’s wildlife.

“We said we’d run tests on animals that normally live in the lake,” said Patron. “This was someone’s pet.”

This wasn’t the first time that death had come to sit by the 60-acre lake.

Late last month, John Boy, one of the lake’s beloved swans, died — and parks officials said that she was the victim of swan-on-swan violence. Weeks before John Boy’s demise, park-goers found severed chicken heads, animal guts and the decomposed remains of fish, turtles and opossums.

The lake’s death toll grew so large so fast that area wildlife activists pushed the city to check the waters for toxins — but tests conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection and an independent team from Brooklyn College cleared the lake itself of any wrongdoing.

It’s just that dead animals pop up in the lake from time to time, Patron explained.

“It’s not necessarily uncommon to find animals that live in the park and naturally expire — rodents, mice, raccoons — in the lake,” Patron said. “Dogs are a bit less common, but they do get lost and possibly fall through the ice.”

Dead animals and entrails aren’t the only things that have been dumped into the lake. During a recent outing, WPIX reporter Greg Mocker found a television bobbing in the water — and got so frustrated that he removed it himself for a funny video report.

Mocker’s antics followed a scathing editorial in The Brooklyn Paper which condemned the Parks Department’s slow response to the three weeks of animal dumping and arson around the lakefront.

“If murder, blood, arson and death was stalking Central Park, it would be an international outrage,” the editorial stated. “But in Prospect Park? Nothing.”

Reader Feedback

Winston Smith from Park Slope says:
Why is the Prospect Park such a mess? Central Park is like a private golf club and Prospect Park looks like a garbage dump? Olmstead might have called it his "jewel in the crown" but the city is treating it like a toilet.
April 23, 2010, 6:56 am
Sean from Windsor Terrace says:
The lake is used as a garbage dump by Parks and Recreation most of the year.
Patron said. “Dogs are a bit less common,..."
The Brooklyn Paper reporters must be dizzy by now, because of all the spinning being done by the park's representative.
You never get a straight answer from Parks.
Dead raccoons found in the meadow may be sleeping it off. No need to test for rabies.
April 23, 2010, 10:10 am
Manuel from from out of town says:
It's not the park. It's the people that live there. People are sick.
April 23, 2010, 11:05 am
Colin from Windsor Terrace says:
There is no meaningful clean up until someone brings attention to the blight, known as Prospect Park.
The park has been abandonned by those who should be responsible for maintaining the health and safety.
When the administrators continue to show their collective lack of care, then you get what we have now.
This example of Urban Decay has been years in the making.
April 23, 2010, 11:32 am
Sheila from PLG says:
Again, I walk the park every day. The "clean up" crews are usually four in the van and one person picking up. The disregard of the "fishermen" leaving behind their cut lines to maim and strangle the water fowl - never have I seen one official citing the illegal fishing - no education as to the rules of fishing - really, I have found Brooklyn to be one of the most backward environs that I have ever lived and or visited. There is an apathy of the people that is beyond depressing - one need not wonder why there is such poor mental, physical and spiritual health.
April 23, 2010, 2:41 pm
Jen Jie from South Slope says:
Every word out of Eugene Patron's mouth is some kind of excuse for inaction. You'd think it was his job to make excuses instead of protecting the park. When is the Prospect Park Alliance going to take some responsibility for the condition of the lake??
April 23, 2010, 2:53 pm
Rick from Windsor Terrace says:
The Parks Department offers nothing but excuses. Why not just test the dead dog recently found instead of trying to add fine print--after the fact--to the promise they made to test any dead animals found?
April 23, 2010, 4:35 pm
Michele from Kensington says:
Prospect Park could be paradise. It could be the sanctuary its designers intended if only 1 thing changed: the park's administrators and caretakers need to stop building parking lots amd entertainment centers on park lands and make the park's environmental health the #1 priority. It seems insane that this is not the case. The park administrators are spending over $60 million to build "Lakeside" -- a fancy skating rink and are turning the once beautiful and quiet Breeze Hill (located in the heart of the park) into a PARKING LOT!!!! If $60 million had been spent on ridding the park of decades of accumulated trash and dredged the lake to remove all toxic wastes, what a wonderful thing it would be. Unfortunately, current park administrators have demonstrated absolutely NO concern for the park's fragile ecology and have instead contributed to the destruction of this precious refuge from city streets. Its just stupid!
April 23, 2010, 4:49 pm
Matt from Bayridge says:
Your kidding me right?? You said they were cleaning park or lake during a routine cleaning of the lake and its environs. Get real the park is a dump the mayor refuses to spend on park because it is outside the Manhattan Boro. Tipper refuses to enforce city park regulations and I suffer. The park has not been cleaned in ages. Im ashamed of the city government. You guys suck!!!! Check out this link:http://www.wpix.com/videobeta/bf0e663d-9fb3-4fa5-be76-c5c233bb969d/News/Park-Dumping-Ground-Battle
April 23, 2010, 9:12 pm
John from Prospect Heights says:
We can now add dead dogs to our list of normal, although as Mr. Patron says "a bit less common,..."
The die off of animals in and at the lake is normal.
1. The amount of garbage in and at the lake is normal.
2. The public drinking in and at the lake is normal.
3. The irresponsible fishing in and at the lake is normal.
4. The amount of dumping from barbecuing in and at the lake is normal.
5. The non-response from the park in and at the lake is normal.
6. Dead dogs found in the lake, a bit less normal.
April 24, 2010, 8 am
CAROLINE from WINDSOR TERRACE says:
Prospect Park is being run into the ground. We now have our own detention center for barbecuers on the southwestern side of the lake. A fenced off, concrete montrosity lakeside.
An environmental disaster in the making when the rains come and the winds blow.
Thank you Tupper, for this ugly structure built on this once beautiful hillside.
April 24, 2010, 11:33 am
melanie from manhattan says:
The reporter is trying to help a dog owner find his stolen dog and the park becomes an accessory to the crime.
April 24, 2010, 11:44 am
Deb from Ditmas says:
A few days ago I fished a large dead bird out of the lake by Peninsula Meadow. Two days ago I fished a large dead goose out of the lake on the southern side. I walk my dog and am in a small part of the park for an hour or so. If I'm finding dead animals this often, imagine how many others there are. I fish the birds out and put them in the trash because I don't trust the parks dept. to do anything, and I don't want the lake further polluted. Photos at my blog prospectparkday.blogspot.com
April 25, 2010, 12:59 pm
John from Park Slope says:
I'm tired of hearing everyone slam the new rink project. The alliance is trying to right a wrong done by Robert Moses 40 years ago. The current rink was built ON TOP of the existing lake by Robert Moses. The new rink will go in the parking lot and restore that section of the lake and the island that was once there. Breeze Hill will be a loss, but basically we are just trading: parking lot->rink, rink->natural area, natural area->parking lot. And Breeze Hill is not exactly pristine, either, it's a road.
April 26, 2010, 9:13 am
Tracy from Flatbush says:
I have lived accross the street form the park since 1976, and have had a first hand view of the poor park and lake gooding down hill. People,please we have to pull together as a community. What some of these people are doing and getting away with is a disgrace, including the parks department. The police department must be alerted as to all that is going on. We need to come together, please lets start fast
May 27, 2010, 12:17 pm

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