Renovate The Bull Moose Dog Run Renovation


The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has failed to improve usability at the Bull Moose Dog Run after a one-year, $875,000 renovation. The mandate to repair the drainage problem has been met, but the surface gravel is inadequate and dangerous. The renovated run opened on July 24th, 2020 to dozens of disappointed dog owners who report that they and their dogs will not use the run because of the surface material.

The problems with the surface material and one other problem (item #12) are as follows:

  1. The gravel is loose, deep, and jagged, and the gravel piles up in mounds, much like sand on a beach. In fact, the surface looks and feels like walking on dry sand at the beach, which provides an unstable surface for dogs and humans.
  2. The gravel irritates the dogs' paws. There have been reports of swollen, red, bleeding, and blistered paws. In at least one case gravel got embedded in a paw and required a vet visit.
  3. There are numerous cases of eye irritation from the gravel and dust being kicked up when dogs run. One dog's eyes were so irritated that they had to go to the hospital to get the dust cleaned out. 
  4. There is one case we know of where a dog sprained his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) from running on the loose surface. In another case a dog strained a muscle and was limping for a week. It's only a matter of time before more orthopedic injuries occur.
  5. Dogs are tentative or refusing to run on the surface, we suspect because it hurts, is unstable, or both.
  6. Dogs won't walk on the surface and have to be carried.
  7. Dogs are swallowing the gravel when they play because the loose gravel and dust fly in the air.
  8. A loose beach-like surface is traumatic for dogs' joints, muscles, and backs because it creates torque, twisting, and sheer stress in the body as the dogs move across the unstable surface. Having four legs makes matters worse.
  9. Dogs have had allergic reactions to the gravel requiring vet visits and medication.
  10. The dogs come home filthy with orange dust from the gravel.
  11. Balls don't bounce or roll on the surface.
  12. There are fewer benches than before the renovation.


How Did a Dangerous, Inferior Surface End Up Being Used?

The renovation plan called for the same stone screenings (gravel) that was always used. But the same was not used. According to an unnamed Parks spokesperson, it was reported in West Side Rag (August 26, 2020, by Carol Tannenhauser) that  "The standard stone screenings used in most dog runs are unavailable for the foreseeable future, because of production issues, so an alternative had to be used in order to make sure this project could be completed. The new surface material was selected for its good drainage characteristics and similarity in shape and size to the previous stone screenings. We will consider any issues brought to our attention so we can evaluate the performance of this material over time."


Importantly, we did our own research during the 2019-2020 renovation on the availability of the gravel that was supposed to be used and it was readily available at at least two quarries in NJ. We were told by Parks that these were not approved vendors and so the inferior product was used.

We find the Parks Department's rationale for their actions irresponsible and indifferent to the needs of the dogs and humans who use the dog run. Our objective for this petition is to bring these concerns to the attention of Parks Department officials, and above all else, we want Parks to replace the current surface NOW with an alternative that is safe and comfortable for our dogs.


The Bull Moose Dog Run is one-quarter of an acre, located in Theodore Roosevelt Park on the grounds of the American Museum of Natural History at West 81st street and Columbus Avenue in New York City. Prior to the current renovation there was an 8-year battle to get the renovation started. During that time and for years before, 1) ¼-inch bluestone covered the dog run secondary to soil erosion lifting it to the top, making it painful and unsafe for dogs' paws, and 2) half the run, from side to side on the western end, would flood after a rainstorm, leaving filthy standing water, sometimes for days, for attracting mosquitoes and rats, and for dogs to drink. The run has a decades-long history of neglect.

In 2016, after countless hours of voluntary service by community members working in cooperation with local appointed and elected city officials, $875,000 of taxpayer dollars were generously allocated at the discretion of the offices of district representatives to the Parks Department for remediation of the serious drainage and surface problems at the run that caused health and safety risks to dogs and their owners. The recent renovation started in August 2019 and finished on July 24th, 2020. The current dog run users are sorely disappointed at the outcome of the renovation and demand that the surface be replaced.

Update #23 years ago
Hello Everyone,
A reporter from the NY Post is writing an article on the dog run. She is looking for people who have had vet bills as a result of their dog getting injured in the run. Please contact her if you are interested in speaking about this. It makes our case, and her article, stronger, if she has stories about vet bills. HER DEADLINE IS TUESDAY THE 8TH.
Her contact information is:
Rachel Green

Rich Weil
Update #13 years ago
Hello Bull Moose Dog Run Petition Signers. Please take a picture of the injury if your dog has been hurt in the dog run. We intend to take the signed petitions to Parks, pictures will strengthen our case. Send the image to
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