Over 2,500 People Sign LI-DOG’s Petition to Lift the Dog Ban on New York State’s Long Island Beaches!
***Dropbox link at bottom of release with photos***
March 8, 2021, Huntington, NY – More than 2,500 people have signed a petition launched Jan. 29th by the Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-DOG) to lift the ban on dogs on New York State’s Long Island beaches! The Lift the Dog Ban on NY’s Long Island Beaches petition on Change.org received more than 1,000 signatures over its first weekend and then doubled to over 2,000 signatures within 10 days of launch. The petition has also generated dozens of supporting comments from Long Islanders and other New Yorkers. (See Highlights of Comments below.)
The petition is the result of years of complaints from Long Island dog owners about lack of access to Long Island’s primary recreational resource. Long Island is surrounded by miles of public beaches, but the vast majority of this public land is off limits to people with dogs. The New York State Office of Parks, which manages 14,000 acres of Long Island parks that have shoreline access, prohibits ALL access to NYS beaches on Long Island to people with dogs.
The petition states that denying access to so much recreational space to dog owners who pay taxes, which support this public land, is unacceptable. People should be allowed to bring their dogs to designated dog-friendly beaches.
The petition makes clear that LI-DOG is not asking for access to big, well-known public beaches where there are lifeguards and people sunbathe and swim during the summer. Dog owners are asking for access to non-lifeguarded beaches and shoreline areas appropriate for people with dogs. LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn noted that there are long stretches of beach beyond lifeguarded areas where people could walk their dogs on-leash, just as the National Park Service allows at Fire Island National Seashore from Labor Day until March 15th. Moreover, there are bayside and Sound beaches where people don’t swim that would be appropriate for people with dogs.
The petition asks New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State elected officials to lift the dog ban on LI beaches and work with LI-DOG to designate appropriate beaches for people with dogs.
NY’s ban on dogs on NYS beaches impacts tens of thousands of Long Islanders. Estimates are that 457,000 Long Island families have dogs. Those numbers have likely increased substantially as approximately 12.6 million households nationwide took in pets from March to December last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
The pandemic highlights that access to public parks and beaches is critical to the health and well-being of people and their pets. In his State-of-the-State address in January asking for $440 million for public parks, Gov. Cuomo noted, “the ability to safely recreate outdoors will remain a critical complement to public health measures for months.” However, New York State has closed off thousands of acres of public land to Long Islanders with dogs at this critical time.
It’s time for Gov. Cuomo and elected officials to lift the ban on dogs on Long Island beaches. Public officials should work with LI-DOG to designate appropriate beaches and shoreline areas for people to take their dogs for exercise and recreation.
LI-DOG’s petition has generated dozens of supportive comments from Long Islanders and other New Yorkers. Check out all the great comments below:
Margo K., Port Washington, “As a taxpayer and dog owner it is ridiculous that I can’t walk my dogs on most Long Island beaches. My taxes support lots of public lands I don’t use like golf courses, tennis courts, sports arenas, etc. My taxes support the health & maintenance of the beaches so I should be allowed to walk my on-leash dogs on the beaches. And it shouldn’t be a poop issue, as I always pick up after my dogs, unlike numerous people who leave trash.”
Linda M., North Babylon, “I live and pay taxes in an area with vast beaches, yet cannot bring my two well behaved dogs to the beach! That needs to change.”
Tricia R., Massapequa, “I would love to enjoy outdoor spaces with my dog on public lands I pay taxes on! It is so vital, now more than ever, to enjoy the freedom that outdoor spaces provide and to enjoy them with our pets that we see as family! Long Island is particularly an unfriendly dog region and yet nearly every household has a dog…These old policies and laws need to be updated!”
Eileen D., Long Beach, “Long Island is an island, surrounded by shoreline with beaches. There must be a way to share some of the NYS controlled beachfront with dog owners and their dogs. Other states do it so NYS can figure out how to do it too…Please help us enjoy our dogs at the beach legally, safely, and fairly for all concerned.”
Gail P., Centerport, “Dogs are family and we taxpayers should be allowed to bring them with us to quiet beaches.”
Michael R., Merrick, “With so much beach on the Long Island Sound and ocean sides there must be areas opened up for dog owners.”
Judy D., Holbrook, “…The image of dogs running on beaches, splashing in the waves, even catching a Frisbee are iconic to American culture, yet the reality is denied to so many Long Islanders. It’s time to change that.”
Honi R., Baldwin, “Dogs do so much to improve our mental and physical health. Spending some time on a beach with them is good for both mind and spirit. Dogs should be allowed certain hours of the day and definitely off season. They certainly keep the beach cleaner than a lot of humans.”
Melissa S., Smithtown, “My dogs are part of my family. We have been looking for dog friendly places to retire because Long Island is one of the worst places to be…We are beach lovers and would love to share these moments with them. The [f]act that I cannot walk my dogs on a beach that is EMPTY most of the year is really ridiculous.”
Bonnie A., NY, “I love taking my dog for a walk on the beach. I am a responsible dog owner and always clean up after my dog.”
Carol G., Hampton Bays, “Long Islanders are responsible pet owners and tax payers and should have the option to walk their dog on a beach. Dogs are an integral part of family life on Long Island.”
William R., Port Washington, “It’s estimated that there are 459,000 dog-owning households on Long Island, yet NY State prohibits ALL access to New York State beaches on Long Island to people with dogs. This is wrong and must be changed.”
John D., East Northport, “I live near the North Shore beaches and would love to bring my dogs with me when I walk along the sound.”
Barbara W., New Hyde Park, “Because it’s shameful that responsible dog owners with their dogs are not allowed!!”
Michelle H., Great River, “Responsible dog owners should have beach access”
Theresa S., Levittown, “I have 2 dogs that love the water and I would love to just take a nice walk on the beach with them. I always have poop bags with me and if everyone cleans up after their dogs there should not be an issue. Long Island seems to be the worst place in the country when it comes to places dogs can go.”
Richard V., Syosset, “Long overdue!”
Sherri P., Patchogue, “It’s the right thing to do!”
To see the petition, go to Lift the Dog Ban on NY’s Long Island Beaches on Change.org.
Dropbox link with photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s4au7znf6rghsuf/AAAkk7ulWrwoQERFlHaMy_Kha?dl=0
Photo Credits: LI-DOG or Joann Garguola, LI-DOG
Friends of Long Island Dog Parks, which does business as The Long Island Dog Owners Group, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to public parks and beaches for Long Island dog owners and their dogs. Since its founding in 1998, LI-DOG has worked with elected officials and parks officials to open 10 dog parks and dozens of dog-friendly parks and trails around Long Island. For more information, go to www.lidog.org.
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