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.03/16/2020 – COVID-19: INFORMATION FOR PET OWNERS


picture of sick dog
Photo © Michael Pettigrew

COVID-19: INFORMATION FOR PET OWNERS

The CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association have published information concerning the effect of covid-19 on pets. Click on the links below to view these important documents.

AVMA on Covid 19 and Pets

SARS-CoV-2 in Animals

COVID-19 and Animals Frequently Asked Questions

Managing People With COVID-19 in Home Care Who Have Pets

If You Have COVID-19 and Animals


.04/02/2020 – Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Extended

 

View over Pond Towards Trees in Heckscher Park

Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Extended through June 30th!

The Huntington Town Board voted unanimously March 31st to extend the pilot program allowing leashed dogs in Huntington’s Heckscher Park. The vote came on a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol and seconded by Councilman Gene Cook. The program has been running since Jan. 1st and must be renewed every three months. In a letter urging the Town Board to support the extension, LI-DOG and Huntington dog owner and park ambassador Karen Thomas noted the pilot program has been running successfully and is working as envisioned by the Town Board when it approved leashed dogs on a test basis last fall. For details, go to Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Extended!

 


04/02/2020 – Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Extended

 

View over Pond Towards Trees in Heckscher Park

Photo Credit: Karen Thomas

Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Extended through June 30th!

 

By 5-0, the Huntington Town Board voted March 31st to extend the pilot program allowing leashed dogs in Huntington’s Heckscher Park until June 30th. The vote came on a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol and seconded by Councilman Gene Cook at a Town Board meeting held virtually because of the coronovirus outbreak. The pilot program, which was created by a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Cergol last October, has been running successfully since Jan. 1st. It must be renewed every three months.

The pilot program runs in conjunction with a public education effort assisted by LI-DOG. That public education effort includes a cadre of volunteers in the park—park ambassadors—who hand out flyers with the rules for the pilot program and answer questions from dog owners and others.

In a letter urging the Town Board to support the extension of the pilot program, LI-DOG and Huntington dog owner and park ambassador Karen Thomas noted that the pilot program has been successful and is working as envisioned by the Town Board when it approved leashed dogs on a test basis last fall.

The letter notes that representatives from the Town’s Dept. of Public Safety and the Animal Control Division have reported their officers are doing their regular patrols and viewing live cameras in the park and there have been no problems with dogs. Those reports are supported by LI-DOG’s own reporting and notes from our and our park ambassadors’ almost daily visits to the park. That information is available in a summary report compiled by Thomas on behalf of LI-DOG. Among the key findings are:

  • Most dog owners are aware of the rules and/or have heard about the pilot program rules through news reports. (Get the Card Flyer with the Rules.)
  • Dog owners are following the rules and are willing to help pass the word about the rules to others.
  • Off-leash dogs are a rare occurrence. During the first three months of the pilot program, park ambassadors saw only two or three dogs off-leash. Once dog owners were asked to comply with the rules, they did.
  • Dog waste is not a problem. Dog owners are being responsible about picking up after their dogs. Some dog or goose waste was found in the park a few times and was picked up by park ambassadors.
  • Goose droppings have been reduced and the paths appear cleaner because of the presence of dogs. This development will continue to be monitored as the weather turns warmer.
  • A concern about dogs on park benches has been addressed with a new rule that dogs are not permitted on any benches in Heckscher Park.
  • The dog population is not excessive. Generally, we have observed three to ten dog owners and their dogs in the park at any one time.

Other observations:  

  • Many dog owners have told park ambassadors how happy and excited they are to be able to bring their dogs to Heckscher Park and they are hoping the pilot program will be renewed.
  • Families with small children and dogs in tow are now able to enjoy the park together.
  • Senior citizens and others who used to have to walk their dogs on nearby busy streets are now able to walk their dogs in the park, which is safer.
  • Even on cold, gray days in January and February when the park normally would have been deserted, two or three people can be seen walking their dogs.
  • Many of us have met new friends and neighbors in the park as a result of our mutual interest and affection for dogs.

The report notes that some dog owners do need to be reminded to keep the paths clear and allow others to pass when they are distracted or talking to other dog owners. That is especially true now given the social distancing rules—a minimum of 6’ apart from other people– to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. LI-DOG said it will refocus its public education efforts on reminding people not to congregate on the paths going forward.

The letter also recommended a few additional steps to enhance the pilot program.

  1. Specific “No Dogs Allowed” signs on the gates to the playground. (Councilwoman Cergol’s aides have already confirmed these signs will be added.
  2.  Brochure dispensers installed on or near the dog waste bag stations. This is a recommendation from the representative for the Citizens Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities. This is a good idea, so even if volunteer park ambassadors are not in the park handing out flyers, people can take a flyer any time and see the rules.
  3. The dog waste bag stations need to be monitored and refilled on a regular basis (probably once a month) as we have noticed the dispensers have been empty a few times. While dog owners are expected to bring their own waste bags on their walks, providing waste bags on a consistent basis is a good incentive to clean up for anyone who forgets to bring a bag.

 

In closing, LI-DOG and Thomas noted that dog owners are excited and happy with the pilot program. Given how important being able to walk their dogs in Heckscher Park is, and aided by the ongoing public education effort, “we are confident we will continue to see good compliance with the rules. We urge [the Town Board] to support the extension of the pilot program,” the email concludes. (Read the full LI-DOG Email Please Support Heckscher Park Pilot Program Extension.)

What You Can Do:  Please help make sure the pilot program continues to work successfully this spring. Make sure to follow the rules: pick up after your dogs, keep dogs on-leash and under control (maximum 6-ft and no retractables); yield to other park users on the paths; and keep dogs off the benches.

Moreover, please pay special attention to the rules in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the rules requiring everyone to maintain a distance from other people of at least 6 feet. That means no congregating on the pathways and no blocking other people’s ability to social distance as well.

Finally, if you appreciate having the opportunity to walk your dog in Heckscher Park, especially at this time of unprecedented concern and social isolation, let Councilwoman Cergol and other members of the Town Board know. It’s important they hear from people who support allowing leashed dogs in Heckscher Park!

Huntington Town Board members to call or send emails to with your support for the Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program:

Hon. Chad A. Lupinacci, Supervisor, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3030 clupinacci@huntingtonny.gov

Hon. Joan Cergol, Councilwoman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3173 JCergol@huntingtonny.gov Please thank Councilwoman Cergol for her continuing leadership on this initiative!

Hon. Mark Cuthbertson, Councilman, Town Hall,  100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3172 MCuthbertson@HuntingtonNY.gov

Hon. Edmund J.M. Smyth, Councilman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3175 ESmyth@HuntingtonNY.gov

Hon. Eugene Cook, Councilman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3174 ECook@HuntingtonNY.gov

Thank you for your help!

 

 


.03/19/2020 – Heckscher Park Pilot Program Up for Renewal

 

Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Up for Renewal March 31st

Please Support the Resolution to Renew the Pilot Program!

The pilot program allowing leashed dogs in Huntington’s Heckscher Park is up for renewal on March 31st! A resolution to extend the program from April 1st through June 30th will be introduced by Councilwoman Joan Cergol at the Huntington Town Board Meeting on Tues., March 31st. Please email or call the Huntington Town Board NOW and urge them to support the extension of the pilot program! Get contact information and details at Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Up for Renewal!


03/19/2020 – Heckscher Park Pilot Program Up for Renewal

 

Photo Credit: Karen Thomas

Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program Up for Renewal on March 31st

Support the Resolution to Renew the Pilot Program!

The pilot program allowing leashed dogs in Huntington’s Heckscher Park is up for renewal on March 31st! A resolution to extend the program from April 1st through June 30th will be introduced by Councilwoman Joan Cergol at the Huntington Town Board Meeting on Tues., March 31st. Please email or call the Huntington Town Board NOW and urge them to support the extension of the pilot program! (See contact info below.)

Councilwoman Cergol sponsored the resolution that created the pilot program, which has been running successfully since Jan. 1st. (To read more about the program and why the Town Board approved leashed dogs on a trial basis, go to Huntington Opens Heckscher Park to Leashed Dogs!)

The pilot program has been going well with no problems reported by the Town’s Public Safety and Animal Control officers. Any minor issues brought to the attention of the program’s oversight committee, which includes Councilwoman Cergol and her staff as well as representatives from LI-DOG have been addressed, according to the resolution. For example, one concern about dogs sitting on park benches meant for people has been addressed with a proposed new rule that dogs are not allowed on the benches.

LI-DOG’s experience is that dog owners are happy and excited about finally being able to walk their dogs in Huntington’s main community park and they are hoping the program will be extended into the summer. A report submitted by Huntington dog owner Karen Thomas on behalf of LI-DOG and the Park Ambassadors who hand out flyers and let dog owners know about the pilot program in the park notes:

  • Most dog owners are generally aware of the rules (To see the rules, get the Card Flyer Heckscher Pilot Program.)
  • Dog owners are following the rules and will pass the word on to others.
  • Off-leash dogs are a rare occurrence.
  • Dog waste is not a problem.
  • Goose droppings on the paths appear to be reduced.
  • The dog population is not excessive, even on busy weekends.

One issue that needs more attention is that some dog owners need further education on keeping the paths clear and allowing others to pass, especially when distracted or talking to other dog owners. Also, some dog owners continue to use retractable leashes. The rule is dogs must be on a 6′ maximum leash, as people have been tripped up by retractables in the past. Please help spread the word about these issues to other dog owners!

What You Can Do: While the pilot program appears to be working well for all park users, it’s important that Town Board members hear from those of us who support leashed dogs in Heckscher Park. Please email or call Huntington Town Board members TODAY, tell them what it means to you and your dog to be able to walk in Heckscher Park, and urge them to support the extension of the pilot program!

Huntington Town Board members to call or send emails to with your support for the Heckscher Park Leashed Dog Pilot Program:

Hon. Chad A. Lupinacci, Supervisor, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3030 clupinacci@huntingtonny.gov

Hon. Joan Cergol, Councilwoman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3173 JCergol@huntingtonny.gov

Hon. Mark Cuthbertson, Councilman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3172 MCuthbertson@HuntingtonNY.gov

Hon. Edmund J.M. Smyth, Councilman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3175 ESmyth@HuntingtonNY.gov

Hon. Eugene Cook, Councilman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3174 ECook@HuntingtonNY.gov

Thank you for your support!

 


12/3/2019 – President’s 2019 Annual Report

2019 Another Very Good Year for LI-DOG, Says President

The following is a modified version of the President’s 2019 Report to the LI-DOG Board of Directors

We played a key role in getting on-leash access to Heckscher Park—an important, long-standing goal for Huntington dog owners—and we played an important role in helping get a new dog park built in Bayville in the Town of Oyster Bay.
In addition, we organized 12 very successful dog-friendly events that not only raised critical financial resources, but also continued our reputation for fun, well-managed events for dog owners and their pups. Our finances are in great shape, and we got good media coverage this year, especially in Newsday, which helps spread the word about who we are and what we do.
In both successful attempts to get more access to parks, LI-DOG provided key knowledge and resources to campaigns started by other dog owners. In the case of Heckscher Park, a petition to get access to the park was started by a Huntington dog owner who runs her own PR firm. She already was doing a great job getting signatures on the petition and media coverage of the campaign. LI-DOG was able to strengthen the campaign by using our email list and social media to raise awareness of the effort and get more signatures on the petition. In addition, because LI-DOG is a formal member of the Huntington Trails Committee, our communications to Town officials in favor of access had added credibility. The petition itself and the fact that it got over 2,000 signatures in a few short weeks was key, but we played an important role in organizing dog owners and making the case for access.
Similarly, when a dog owner from Bayville reached out to LI-DOG for help with her and her colleagues’ efforts to get a dog park there, we were able to step in and provide important resources to the effort. At the time she contacted us, the effort was facing pushback from Village officials on the environmental impact of the dog park. We were able to send over reams of documents showing that dog parks do not harm the environment. The organizers were already terrific advocates for the cause, but we were able to provide critical information when they needed it.
While LI-DOG did not start either of these two campaigns, the role we played was important. These campaigns represent a natural evolution of our role and our organization’s purpose. Because of our experience and resources, LI-DOG can provide the infrastructure on which other people’s campaigns for more access to parks can be built.
As far as what these two developments mean for the coming year, it means we should continue to make sure Long Island dog owners know we are available to help their efforts to get more access to parks and beaches. That means continuing to work to increase LI-DOG’s visibility in the media and among dog owners who are not already on our email list or our social media groups.
We also need to re-engage on our own campaign for more access to beaches. We have identified beaches at Gardiner Park in Suffolk County, Lido Beach West in Hempstead, and several New York State beaches as targets of opportunity. Some of these efforts may simply involve more phone calls and meetings with local officials, but the New York State campaign will likely require more work.
Our campaign for more access to beaches will need more engagement from all of us. It’s just too big an effort for one or two people to lead. It will require all of our organizing skills as well as more volunteers. Without those, this big goal of ours will not be met.
That being said, we should all be very proud of what LI-DOG has accomplished this year. Today, Long Island dog owners have more dog parks and more dog-friendly parks to enjoy than ever before. In addition to the dog park in Bayville, Suffolk County opened a new dog park in Gardiner Park and North Hempstead opened a dog park at Michael Tully Park. This situation is the result of more dog-friendly elected officials as well as years of our hard work and effort.
Before ending my remarks, I want to highlight the outstanding job our colleagues Marie Amsterdam and Joann Garguola have done with our events this year—more than 12, including 9 Pack Walks and 3 successful fundraisers. Their creativity, great organizational and communications skills, and their willingness to donate hours of their time have made our events not only popular with other dog owners, but also key to our ability to raise enough money to fulfill our mission. Thank you, Marie and Joann!
And, thank you to all of you [the LI-DOG Board of Directors] for continuing to contribute your time and resources to making 2019 another great year for LI-DOG!


.12/30/2019 – Huntington Opens Heckscher Park to Leashed Dogs

 

Huntington Opens Heckscher Park to Leashed Dogs!

A pilot program to allow leashed dogs in Huntington’s Heckscher Park started Jan. 1, 2020! Councilwoman Joan Cergol, sponsor of the resolution that created the pilot program, and LI-DOG simultaneously launched a public education effort to make sure dog owners are aware of the common sense rules designed to make the pilot program a success. For details on the pilot program, the rules for the park, and what dog owners can do to help  make the pilot a success, go to Huntington Opens Heckscher Park to Leashed Dogs.


12/30/2019 – Huntington Opens Heckscher Park to Leashed Dogs

Huntington Opens Heckscher Park to Leashed Dogs!

 

Pilot program sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol includes educational campaign aided by LI-DOG 

 

The Pond at Huntington’s Heckscher Park

A pilot program to allow leashed dogs in Huntington’s Heckscher Park started January 1, 2020! The pilot program is the result of a resolution sponsored by Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol and passed unanimously by the Huntington Town Board on Oct. 16th, 2019. The resolution establishes a three-month pilot program with the expectation is that if the first three months are successful, the pilot will be extended for another three months and so on throughout the year.

In order to make sure the pilot program is a success, Councilwoman Cergol is working with the Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-DOG) on an educational campaign to spread the word about common sense rules for the park.

The educational campaign includes:

  • An explanatory video featuring Councilwoman Cergol and her beautiful boxer, Dempsey. (See Councilwoman Cergol’s Video now.)
  • Detailed signage to be installed at all park entrances.
  • An at-a-glance card flyer detailing the rules.
  • A dedicated cadre of LI-DOG volunteers who will serve as ambassadors in the park, handing out the card and answering questions from dog owners and persons without dogs. (If you would like to serve as an LI-DOG park ambassador, email lidog_news@yahoo.com.)
  • Installation of dog waste bag dispensers at the park.

“The key to this program’s success is dog owners understanding what is allowed and respecting the rights of all people who want to enjoy Huntington’s signature park, both with and without dogs,” Councilwoman Cergol said. “That’s the main thrust of our educational campaign.”

“LI-DOG’s members understand that bringing their dogs to Heckscher is a privilege that we would like to see become permanent,” said Ginny Munger Kahn, LI-DOG’s president. “Our volunteers want to make sure that all dog owners understand their responsibility to make this program work.”

 

The rules, as noted in both the signage and the information card, require dog owners to:

  • Keep dogs on leash (maximum 6 feet) and under control. No retractable leashes.
  • Pick up and properly dispose of dog waste.
  • Yield to all other park goers on the paths by stepping off the path.
  • Keep dogs out of the playground, picnic areas and tennis courts and the ball field, when in use.
  • Keep dogs quiet during events at the Harry Chapin Rainbow Stage.
  • Avoid wildlife for their safety and their dog’s.
  • Keep dogs out of the plantings and the pond.
  • Have dogs licensed and vaccinated.
  • Have no more than two dogs per handler.
  • Respect other park goers so the park is a good experience for everyone!

Park-goers with safety concerns are advised to call the Town’s 24-hour Public Safety number, 631-351-3234.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of Heckscher Park and the rules established for this program should ensure that this remains the case,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “Please let us know about your experience with the 90-day dog-walking pilot program so that we can fully assess the success of this program at the end of March.”

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said, “Combining this pilot program with an educational campaign will give us the feedback from residents we need to ensure that everyone can enjoy the park.”

Councilman Eugene Cook said, “Over the years many people have reached out to the Town Board asking to remove the Heckscher Park ban on allowing dogs in the park.  As these residents would like to enjoy using Heckscher Park with their families, including their canine companions, as they have been able to do at other locations without incident for years.  As a dog owner, I understand the strong relationship between an owner and their companion. This pilot program to allow leashed dogs in Heckscher Park will build on those relationships, and it will also be a benefit for our community as a whole.  In order to ensure that this is properly implemented, I would like to hear all of our resident’s comments, concerns, and suggestions during the pilot period so that we can ensure this program can continue in the future or not.”

Councilman Ed Smith said, “I encourage pilot programs. It gives the residents and elected officials the opportunity to work together on programs within the Town to meet everyone’s needs and pleasures.”

The different facets of the educational program were worked out by a committee that included representatives from various Town departments and LI-DOG; Karen Thomas, who organized the petition drive asking for dogs to be allowed in the park; and Len Urban, from the Town’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities. The Citizens Advisory Committee wanted to ensure that a dog-friendly Heckscher remained friendly for everyone, including persons with mobility issues.

“I thank LI-DOG and all of the members of the committee for creating this educational program and I appreciate the dedication of the volunteer ambassadors,” Councilwoman Cergol said.

For more information about the pilot program, call Councilwoman Cergol’s office at 631-351-3173 or email LI-DOG at lidog_news@yahoo.com.

And if you plan to walk your dog to Heckscher Park, please volunteer to become an LI-DOG Park Ambassador! Help us make the pilot program a success by emailing us at lidog_news@yahoo.com.

Thank you for your support!

 


.11/07/2019 – Oyster Bay Opens New Dog Park at Centre Island Beach!

 

Oyster Bay Opens New Dog Park at Centre Island Beach in Bayville!

12 Small Parks Also Now Designated On-Leash Dog-Friendly

The Town of Oyster Bay made two big announcements in October that has tails wagging for resident dog owners: A pilot program for on-leash walking in 12 Town parklettes–small neighborhood parks–and the opening of the first dedicated dog park on the North Shore – at Centre Island Beach in Bayville! To get details, go to Oyster Bay Opens New Dog Park at Centre Island Beach! 


11/07/2019 – Oyster Bay Opens New Dog Park at Centre Island Beach!

 

Oyster Bay Opens 12 Small Parks to Leashed Dogs

Oyster Bay Opens New Dog Park at Centre Island Beach in Bayville!

12 Small Parks Also Now Designated On-Leash Dog-Friendly

The Town of Oyster Bay made two big announcements in October that has tails wagging for resident dog owners: A pilot program for on-leash walking in 12 Town parklettes–small neighborhood parks; and the opening of the first dedicated dog park on the North Shore – at Centre Island Beach in Bayville.

On Tuesday October 8th, Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Steve Labriola met with local residents at the parklette off Split Rock Road in Syosset to kick-off this new initiative. Jill Hooey, a local high schooler and Girl Scout, worked with Councilman Labriola and Parks Commissioner Joseph Pinto to identify neighborhood parks where residents could walk their dogs on leash. Twelve parklettes have been identified for the pilot on-leash program:

• H-16, Hunter Lane & Northern Parkway, Hicksville
• H-18, Tudor Road & Lyon Court, Hicksville
• F-6, Lincoln Street & Meadow Court, Farmingdale
• J-1, Maytime Drive & Mellow Lane, Jericho
• B-11, Flamingo Drive & Caffrey Ave., Bethpage
• M-15, Burton Lane & Unqua Road, Massapequa
• M-16, Clocks Blvd. & Bayview Place, Massapequa
• M-17, Pittsburgh Ave. & Westwood Road, Massapequa
• P-15, Sylvia Lane & Warren Place
• S-20, Split Rock Road & Radley Drive, Syosset
• S-30, Market Drive & Woodbury Road, Syosset
• S-17, Townsend Drive & Cold Spring Road, Syosset

Then, at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on October 16th, Supervisor Saladino, Councilman Labriola and Councilwoman Michele Johnson joined local officials and residents to officially open the dog park located at Centre Island Beach in Bayville. The dog park is the result of the efforts of local dog owners Joe Russo and Jen Jones who worked with Town officials to get the park sited and built. Key to getting the park created was a $100,000 grant obtained by New York State Senators Carl Marcellino and Jim Gaughran for the project.

The new dog park has separate areas for small dogs and large dogs and a wood-chip base. Water facilities are available on each side of the park. The dog park is close to a walking trail along Harbor Drive, which dog owners can also enjoy.

We hope everyone has fun in these new dog-friendly park facilities! Thanks to Oyster Bay  Town officials and local dog owners who made it  happen!