Fort Greene Park Users and Pets Society (PUPS) was formed in 1999 when a few people saw the need to band together the dog owners that frequented Fort Greene Park to help keep off-leash rules legal in the park. What started as a few volunteers quickly grew to about fifty that year.
We are now nearly 500 members strong. Over a decade later, we continue to host our annual dog costume contest, provide bag dispensers in the park, volunteer on It's My Park day, and help out local shelters and dogs in need. We also police ourselves to be responsible dog owners.
Our first big event was The Great PUPkin back in 1999. This fun event continues to draw ever-larger crowds each year, and is now held in conjunction with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy's annual Halloween Festival. With the new millennium, PUPS grew quickly: we launched our first Web site, sponsored a variety of fun--and fundraising--events (see our photo gallery), and became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
To prove our dedication to the park's beautiful grounds, and to reinforce our policy of self-enforcement, PUPS has bought, painted, and donated trash cans, and installed bag dispensers. PUPS members have also participated in the NYC Parks Department's It's My Park day event over the years, helping clean the park, plant new gardens, and work on drainage projects.
PUPS has published PUPDate, as well as several colorful calendars featuring dogs in the park. We've also hosted thank-you breakfasts for Parks Department workers to show our members' appreciation for their hard work.
Firmly established as responsible dog owners, we worked for years to have a dog-friendly water fountain installed with help and funding from Councilperson Letitia James. Members' persistence and donations helped accomplish this major goal in 2008.
While we are certainly proud of the above accomplishments, PUPS' greatest achievement was as a key player in the 2007 citywide effort that saw the 9:00 p.m.-9:00 a.m. off-leash courtesy rule codified into law. Among other things, we contributed $500 to help pay legal expenses associated with this effort, made annual donations to NYCDOG (a citywide umbrella group for dog owners), and created a commemorative Off-Leash Rules! t-shirt to celebrate the new law.
With the accomplishment of its original core mission (bringing off-leash rules into law), PUPS enters its second decade primarily as a social organization for dog owners in the area. PUPS members can interact on a Facebook page, receive regular updates via the PUPS e-mail list, and are encouraged to volunteer for It's My Park day and other park activities.