Latest News Archive

10/11/2019 – Resolution to Allow On-Leash Dog Walking at Heckscher Park!

Resolution Introduced to Allow On-Leash Dog Walking in Huntington’s Heckscher Park!


Pilot Program Proposal is Result of Successful Petition to Allow Leashed Dogs in Heckscher Park


People would be allowed to walk their dogs on-leash in Heckscher Park under a pilot program proposed by Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol. The pilot program is included in a resolution introduced by Councilwoman Cergol and is scheduled to be considered at the Wed., Oct. 16th Town Board meeting. Thank you, Councilwoman Cergol!

All interested Huntington dog owners are invited to attend! No need to speak, just show up in numbers. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, located at 100 Main St., Huntington, NY 11743.

Councilwoman Cergol’s resolution is the result of an online petition that has gotten more than 2,000 signatures since it was posted in late August. Started by Huntington dog owner and PR pro Karen Thomas, the petition asks the Town Board to make Heckscher Park a dog-friendly park by allowing leashed dogs. While 2,000 signatures is great, we are still looking for more signatures, especially from Huntington residents. The Town Board needs to see overwhelming public support for making Heckscher Park dog friendly. Sign the petition NOW! 

The petition notes that a dog-friendly park policy works well in nearby Northport Village Park keeping the park clean of goose droppings, creating a socially-friendly environment, and supporting local businesses. “Northport Harbor Park has allowed leashed dogs for years and is very busy with happy dog owners walking their dogs and enjoying events at the park,” noted Thomas. “But outdated laws have prohibited Huntington’s dog owners from walking their leashed dogs (in Heckscher Park), making the paths virtually empty when there are no events…and covered every day with goose droppings.”

The Town of Huntington opened virtually all its parks to leashed dogs in August 2017. The policy has proven both popular and successful. However, in opening virtually all town parks to leashed dogs, the Town carved out an exception for Heckscher Park, saying there was concern the park was too busy to accommodate dog owners and their pups.

In order to address that concern, the resolution maintains restrictions on dogs in the playground, in picnic areas, on the ball fields when they are in use, and in other active recreation areas. This is consistent with park policy throughout the town. The resolution also states that on-leash dog walking will be allowed on the walkway surrounding Heckscher Park Pond under the strict rule that dog owners yield to other pedestrians on the path. This also is consistent with town rules that require dog owners to keep dogs on leash and under control and that dogs yield to other park users on trails.

Restricting dogs from active recreation areas, having dogs on leash and under control at all times, and yielding to other park users on the paths should address any remaining concerns about allowing leashed dogs in Heckscher Park, said Ginny Munger Kahn, president of LI-DOG. “The leashed dogs policy works well in Northport, not to mention thousands of other community parks around the country,” she added. “There’s no reason to think Heckscher Park should be different.”

In an important first, Councilwoman Cergol’s resolution would also allow leashed dogs in the area around the Harry Chapin Rainbow Stage during events, provided dogs remain quiet and are in no way disruptive.

The resolution would also set up a public education campaign to help inform everyone about the pilot program, its rules and responsibilities. LI-DOG and other dog owners have volunteered to help create, promote and participate in such a public education campaign.

If the resolution is approved, the pilot program would start January 1, 2020 and run for one year. The Director of the Dept. of Parks & Recreation with input from the Dept. of Planning & Environment are to report back to the Town Board by Nov. 30, 2020, with any recommendations on the pilot program. At that time adjustments can be made.

In 2017, Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone was quoted saying if the town’s dog-friendly park policy proved successful, the town would consider expanding it to other parks. Since that time, the policy has proven both popular and successful, with no reported incidents or issues.

“Northport Park…has demonstrated consistently that dog owners can be responsible and dogs can coexist in a park environment provided they are leashed at all times and waste is picked up…It’s worth at least a trial period,” wrote Loretta Milanese of Centerport in signing the petition. To read more great comments from people who have signed the petition, go to Quotes from Petition Signers 8-19.

Given the intense interest Huntington residents have demonstrated in being able to walk their leashed dogs in Heckscher Park, the steps that have been taken to address concerns, and the ability to adjust the pilot program as needed, LI-DOG is urging the Town Board to support the resolution to create a pilot program to allow leashed dogs in Heckscher Park.

“It’s time to let Huntington dog owners enjoy this wonderful public recreational resource just like every other Huntington resident,” said Munger Kahn.

What You Can Do:
Please let Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and the other members of the Huntington Town Board know that you support allowing leashed dogs in Heckscher Park and why you’re reaching out to them. The more calls and emails elected officials get, the more likely the resolution will pass! Please call or email the following elected officials NOW:

Hon. Chad A. Lupinacci, Supervisor
Town Hall (Room 200)
100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (631) 351-3030

Hon. Joan Cergol, Councilwoman (please thank Councilwoman Cergol!)
Town Hall (Room 303)
100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (631) 351-3173

Hon. Mark Cuthbertson, Councilman
Town Hall (Room 303)
100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (631) 351-3172

Hon. Edmund J.M. Smyth, Councilman
Town Hall (Room 303)
100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (631) 351-3175

Hon. Eugene Cook, Councilman
Town Hall (Room 303)
100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (631) 351-3174

The more calls and emails our elected officials get, the more likely they’ll approve the pilot program. Let your voice be heard!

07/24/2019 – Gardiner Dog Park Opening

Gardiner Dog Park Opening Set for Wed., July 24th at 2:30 p.m.!

Google Map

Large New Dog Park Features Large Dog, Small Dog and Agility Training Areas


Photo Credit: Jeanine Chang

The Grand Opening of a large, new dog park in Suffolk County’s popular Gardiner Park, Bay Shore, is set for Wed., July 24th at 2:30 pm!

The dog park is the result of the efforts of New York State Senator Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) and NYS Senator Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood), both of whom will be in attendance along with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk Parks Commissioner Phil Berdolt.

The dog park features three sections: an 80′ x 300′ small dog area; a 120′ x 300′ large dog area and a 40′ x 100′ agility training area. The provision of an agility training area is a first for a Suffolk County dog park, noted Parks Commissioner Berdolt. Each of the sections will be completely fenced by 4′ high black vinyl coated chain link fence. In addition, two watering locations have been installed.

The total dog recreation site will cover 64,000 square feet or about one and a half acres. In an effort to provide shade during the summer and a more natural setting, many of the existing trees have been left in place, the Parks Commissioner added.

The funds for the new dog park came from a $200,000 grant obtained by Sen. Boyle. “This is something I’ve thought about for a long time,” said the Senator whose family owns a toy Fox Terrier named Olivia. “It’s a beautiful park to begin with and I’ve gone to Gardiner often with my dog to walk her on-leash, but I always thought it would be a nice place for a dog run.” The west side of Islip has long needed an off-leash area, he added.

Senator Boyle worked with former Suffolk Legislator and now NYS Senator Monica Martinez on the project. Senator Martinez sponsored the resolution in the Suffolk County Legislature to accept the grant and authorize the dog park.

As is the case for all Suffolk County parks, on-leash dog walking will continue to be allowed throughout Gardiner Park. Some dog owners had been told that on-leash dog walking was at risk as a result of the new dog park. However, in a statement to LI-DOG, Commissioner Berdolt noted: “This is our most utilized park for patrons and their pets. We will continue to keep this park an on-leash friendly park.”

“I can’t speak highly enough of the job Suffolk County has done building the dog park,” added Sen. Boyle. “This will be a very special place and I can’t tell you how happy I am it’s finally coming to fruition.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please let Sen. Boyle and Sen. Martinez know how much you appreciate their work to get a beautiful new dog park created in Gardiner Park. Email Sen. Boyle at: or call 631-665-2311; Email Sen. Martinez at or call 631-360-3356.

Please also let Suffolk Parks Commissioner Phil Berdolt know what a great job the Parks Dept. has done building yet another, big, beautiful dog park in Suffolk County! Email Commissioner Berdolt at or call 631-854-4985.

Help make sure Gardiner Park works for all park patrons by keeping your dogs leashed unless you are in the dog park itself. Also, as always, please remember to clean up after your dog.

For more information: Get the Suffolk Parks Dept. Gardiner Dog Park Opening flyer.

Thank you for your support!

05/07/2018 – Dog Exclusion Zone at Mud Creek Off-Leash Beach


East West Fence Line; Photo Credit Alphonse Guardino

Dog-Exclusion Zone Created at Mud Creek–Long Island’s ONLY Official Off-Leash Beach

A long line of fencing that creates a dog-exclusion zone has gone up at Mud Creek County Park–Long Island’s ONLY official off-leash beach–in E. Patchogue. The fencing, which appeared on May 1st and runs approximately 530 feet, cuts the beachfront available to dog owners and their pups in half.

Mud Creek’s off-leash beach was created for dog owners in August 2009 as a result of the Five New Dog Parks bill passed unanimously by the Suffolk County Legislature in May 2007 and in response to Suffolk residents’ requests for safe places to exercise and socialize their dogs. At this time, Mud Creek is the only official Suffolk County off-leash beach. “To take away so much of this singular resource for dog owners and their pups without even consulting us is not fair,” said Ginny Munger Kahn, president of LI-DOG. “It would be like creating a soccer field for kids and then suddenly taking half away for adult recreation. Dog owners are upset,” she noted.

Satellite View of Mud Creek with Dog-Exclusion Zone; Photo Credit Alphonse Guardino

What You Can Do: Let local elected officials and Parks Dept. officials know what you think about creating a dog-exclusion zone on the ONLY off-leash beach on Long Island. (See contact information below.) To spread the word and increase our impact: Download the Mud Creek Petition and Mud Creek Petition Signature Form, sign the form, and share it with your dog-loving family and friends.

The fencing is the work of the Suffolk County Parks Dept. and Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), who represents District 7, which covers Patchogue, Medford and Middle Island among other communities. In an email to a local dog owner who asked what was behind the new fencing, Leg. Calarco responded: “This was done as a way to meet the needs of some of the community members who are not dog people…and who no longer felt comfortable using this area. The fenced area is intended to give those local residents an area at the park they can utilize apart from the dog park.”

“Dog owners are willing to share park resources,” said LI-DOG’s President, “but this is the ONLY official off-leash beach in all of Suffolk County. By contrast, local residents who do not wish to come into contact with dogs have multiple, beautiful beaches available to them nearby and throughout Long Island,” she noted.

Leg. Calarco also discussed alleged complaints from neighbors about loose dogs leaving the park in an April 2016 Suffolk Legislature meeting. In a March 2016 Long Island Advance article, neighbors suggested a fence to close off the dog park from the road. However, the new fence does not prevent dogs from leaving the park, but instead cuts across the first half of the beach to create a dog-exclusion zone.

In addition to dividing the beachfront in half, the new dog-exclusion zone creates a new entry point for dog owners. The new gated entry is further north on Roe Ave and requires dog owners and their dogs to traverse all 530 feet of fence line and sand before being able to access the waterfront. Not only does the sand get quite hot during the summer, which is tough on animals’ paws, but broken glass has often been found in this large stretch of sand, thereby putting dog owners and their dogs at increased risk of injury.

The fencing poses additional risks and raises additional safety and enforcement issues. The fencing currently stops well short of the water, leaving an open beach with no obvious barrier to prevent dogs from entering the dog-exclusion zone. “How is my dog supposed to know where this invisible line in the sand is?” asked Bill Gillis, a local dog owner who frequents Mud Creek on a regular basis and wrote the Mud Creek petition. “Are we dog owners going to be ticketed and fined for letting our dogs do what this park was designed for—allowing our pups to run and swim off-leash?”

It would also be a bad idea to extend the fence line into the water. If a dog swam around or dug under the loose sand under the fence, dog owners would not be able to quickly rescue their pets raising the potential for serious harm to their dog.

Since 2009, local dog owners have worked voluntarily to clean up and maintain the beach at Mud Creek. The site formerly was used by the Town of Brookhaven to dump recycling and dredge waste. This waste material–glass and other trash–is regularly uncovered by wind and water action. Dog owners including LI-DOG have worked diligently over the years to organize clean ups and clean up the beach themselves. “Here we’ve done all these cleanups and now that the beach is nice, the results of our work have been taken away and turned over to those who were not involved in the beach’s transformation,” said Janie Dill, another dog owner who frequents Mud Creek. “We need a solution that takes into consideration dog owners’ care and concern for this park,” she said.

It’s time for dog owners to stand up and protect the off-leash beach at Mud Creek. Please call, email or write Leg. Calarco and let him know what you think about creating a dog-exclusion zone on the ONLY off-leash beach on Long Island. Ask Leg. Calarco to work with LI-DOG and local dog owners to come to solution that preserves the off-leash beach the County created at Mud Creek Park and that meets the needs of Suffolk dog owners for a safe, comfortable, and practical off-leash area.

Contact Information for Leg. Calarco:
Call: 631-854-1400
Write: Suffolk County Leg. Robert Calarco, 90 W. Main St., Suite 2N, Patchogue, NY 11772

Don’t forget to include your address, especially if you’re a resident of District 7, which includes Patchogue, Medford and Middle Island, or are a resident of Suffolk County. This is a beach for ALL Suffolk residents after all.

Remember: Calls are the easiest, but most powerful way to send a message! Please always be polite.

Contact Information for Suffolk Parks Dept:
Call: 631-854-4949
Write: Suffolk Parks Dept., P.O. Box 144, W. Sayville, NY 11796

Want to Spread the Word and Boost Your Impact? Download the Mud Creek Petition and Mud Creek Petition Signature Form, sign the form and pass it around to your dog-loving friends and family. Once you’ve got a few pages of signatures, either meet us at a dog-friendly venue in Patchogue (we’ll set up times to gather petitions) or send the completed forms to:

P.O. Box 1171
Huntington, NY 11743

Want to volunteer to help us gather signatures in District 7 specifically? Email us at and we’ll put you in touch with our organization team!

To keep up-to-date on what’s happening at Mud Creek, check back here or the Mud Creek Dog Park Facebook Group.

Thank you for your help and support for the Mud Creek Off-Leash Beach!

01/05/2018 – Six Steps to Avoid Conflicts at the Dog Park

Six Steps for Avoiding Conflicts at the Dog Park

By Sam Desmond***

We’ve all been there as a pet parent, especially if you bring Fido to the dog park. Someone has accused your beloved fur baby of bad behavior and you’re foaming at the mouth in defense.  The insults come and you’ve lost control of the situation.  The exact opposite of your intentions has now happened—you’ve turned the social scene your dog whimpers in the car for into a place of contention and anxiety.

Debra and her dog Jezebelle

Debra Hamilton, a former Westchester litigator who now practices mediation and conflict resolution for people in disputes over animals and is the founder of Hamilton Law & Mediation in Armonk, NY, gave an informative and effective presentation to LI-DOG’s November 16, 2017 meeting at the Plainview Public Library on how to avoid fruitless, confrontational episodes with fellow dog park attendees, neighbors, and even those soulless wonders who ‘just don’t like dogs’.

The key mantra of Hamilton’s presentation was to remember that our gifted, intuitive dogs will always feed off our energy and even if it means, “being right second,” we need to remain calm and act in their best interest. Drawing from her experience with contention, diametrically opposed positions, and fierce, maternal love as a PTA Vice President, Hamilton has devised tools and methodologies for keeping your best paw forward during heated situations involving our canine kids.

Two handy, mnemonic terms to remember in addressing such situations are “AKA” and “Stop, Drop, and Roll.”  AKA stands for Address the Problem; Keep the Relationship; Appreciate and Acknowledge the Other Party. Together, these two terms make six easy steps for addressing conflicts and resolving issues over animals at the dog park, in your neighborhood, and even within your family!

  1. Address the Problem.

Often our knee-jerk response to a complaint about our dog is: “Are you kidding me? Learn about dog behavior!” or “That person’s just a psychopath!” Instead, Hamilton advises focusing on the problem, not the person. Use inclusive terms like “our dogs” as in “we need to talk about our dogs for their safety,” because “your” or “my” instantly shuts off receptive listening in both parties. Also, instead of making accusations, ask questions and ask for more information. For example, instead of starting with “Your dog is vicious,” ask “What happened? Did you see him or her snap or seem to bite?”

  1. Keep the Relationship

Of course you don’t want to have to stop coming to the dog park or have a neighbor you have to avoid every time you get the newspaper. Hamilton reminds us “not to kill the messenger” and to learn to talk to someone who doesn’t agree with you. For example, genuinely see the other person as an individual with needs and/or someone who also loves their dog. For example, “I can tell you love your dog very much and are concerned for his or her safety.”  Or for a neighbor complaining about your dog, “I understand you work nights and to be awoken by a dog barking in the early morning is disruptive to your sleep.”

  1. Appreciate and Acknowledge the Other Party.

Appreciate and acknowledge the other person’s feelings. Appreciation does not equal agreement, Hamilton noted. To appreciate the other person’s feelings, your go-to phrase should be, “Please tell me more.” Often the opportunity to speak allows the other person to calm down enough to actually talk. Also, when responding, don’t start with “no” or “but” but rather, “Yes, I can see how you might interpret that behavior to be predatory and why it’s alarming to you. My dog’s breed is high energy and very playful as a result.” The key is to avoid adding fuel to the fire by saying things you will regret later. “Sometimes it’s okay to be right second,” said Hamilton.

  1. Stop.

Stop talking. Just listen. This shifts the momentum of the conflict. Often people run themselves out of anger when they are allowed to expel all their grievances. Plus, if there’s no aggression to respond to, the other person may have to acknowledge the overreaction they’re guilty of. And you look like the better person to onlookers (i.e. the pack supports you!) Plus, listen for solutions and be solution-oriented.

  1. Drop.

Drop the need to be right first. Focus on the bigger picture, which is the well-being of your dog. Again, being right second is okay, said Hamilton.

  1. Roll.

Let criticisms roll off your back the way your beloved fur baby does. Go with what’s being presented to you and channel it back to positivity. Then, choose the time to respond. Do not respond in the moment and regret what you said later, said Hamilton. It’s all about reining in your emotions, learning how to ask questions and listening, she said.

Socialization is quite the adventure for everyone, but we can hedge the arguments by being present with our dogs (i.e. don’t be on your phone at the dog park!) and acknowledging (unbelievable as it is) that not everyone will automatically see Fido as the loving mush you know him to be.

For more tools and techniques for dealing with disputes over animals, pick up a copy of Hamilton’s book Nipped in the Bud, Not the Butt: How to Use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals, available on Amazon.

If you follow Hamilton’s suggestions, you’ll likely end up with better relationships and fewer conflicts over your fur baby!

***Sam Desmond is editor-in-chief of arts magazine HiConcept, a features writer for The Bayport-Blue Point Gazette and The Sayville Gazette, and an editorial contributor to LI-DOG. She can be reached at: or 917/532-9460. 



11/08/2017 – North Hempstead Plans 1st Dog Park at Tully Park


North-Hempstead-Tully-Park-SignNorth Hempstead Plans 1st Dog Park at Michael J. Tully Park!

LI-DOG is very pleased to announce that the Town of North Hempstead is planning on opening a dog park at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park. At an informational meeting on October 25, Town representatives advised local dog owners and other dog park advocates that the Town had budgeted $250,000 for a dog park at Tully Park and was seeking input from the community as to the location and what amenities the park should have. It was a very productive meeting and the Town obviously did its research on what would make an effective park.

Among the topics discussed were ground cover (with artificial turf seeming to be favored) and the importance of tall enough fencing, signs prominently displaying the rules, separate areas for large and small dogs and adequate lighting since the park is open after dark. Participants also expressed a desire for water fountains, shaded areas, benches, agility equipment (which has already been donated to the Town by the Shelter Connection), and Wifi, which the park also already has.

Several locations in the park were also discussed: one area in the back of the park which is close to a recharge basin and tends to be buggy, according to the Town, one site in back of the administration building and a larger grassy area in front of the building. We expressed our opinion that the area in front of the building appears to be the most suitable, and most of the other participants seemed to agree.

The Town indicated that the timetable for the opening of the park would depend on the site chosen, since some would require more prep work, but overall, it appears that by next spring or early summer, dog owners in the Town of North Hempstead will have a new dog park to take their canine companions!

LI-DOG appreciates the efforts taken by North Hempstead to accommodate the growing community of dog owners. In Feb. 2016, the Town approved on-leash dog walking in three Town parks–Mary Jane Davies Green in Manhasset, North Hempstead Beach Park in Roslyn and Michael Tully Park. Go to North Hempstead Approves First Three Dog-Friendly Town Parks to read about the Town’s groundbreaking move. The Town has also held outdoor Doggie Pool Parties at the end of the summer season at Tully Park, which have proven very popular with dog owners and their pups.


11/03/2017 – Nassau County Exec Candidate Martins Commits to Dog Friendly Parks

Nassau County Executive Candidate Jack Martins Expresses Commitment to Dog-Friendly Nassau County Parks


LI-DOG Pack Walk at Massapequa Preserve

Recent LI-DOG Pack Walk at Massapequa Preserve Photo Credit: Joann Garguola

On Sept. 29, 2017, LI-DOG sent a letter  to the two major candidates for Nassau County Executive — former New York State Senator Jack Martins and Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran– asking for a statement of their position regarding on-leash dog walking in Nassau County parks.  LI-DOG has been working with elected officials since 2013 to change Nassau County’s policy so that people can legally walk leashed dogs in Nassau County parks. In April 2016 in response to LI-DOG’s efforts, Nassau County opened several parks to leashed dogs including Massapequa Preserve, Christopher Morley Park, and Mill Pond Park. To read why access to parks is critical for Nassau County dog owners, go to LI-DOG Candidate Statement Request Letter. 

Former NYS Sen. Jack Martins responded to our request with the following statement:

“As​ ​a​ ​dog​ ​owner,​ ​I​ ​am committed ​to​ ​making​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​we​ ​work​ ​with​ ​local​ ​communities​ ​to develop​ ​dog​ ​friendly​ ​parks​.​ ​It’s​ ​not​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​every​ ​park,​ ​but​ ​where​ ​it’s​ ​appropriate we​ ​will​ ​work​ ​with​ ​local​ ​communities​ and the legislature ​to​ ​create​ ​dog​ ​runs​ in​ ​places​ ​that​ ​are​ ​appropriate​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​a dog​ ​and​ ​certainly​ ​that’s​ ​easy​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​do.​ ​We​ ​do​ ​have​ ​parks​ ​with​ ​dog​ ​runs​ ​now​ and​ ​we​ ​have​ ​to​ ​see​ ​where​ ​it​ would​ ​be​ ​appropriate​ to add more​ ​going​ ​forward​ .”

Nassau County Leg. Laura Curran declined to give a statement, despite several requests from LI-DOG.

What You Can Do Now!

Take this opportunity to let the candidates know how you feel about dog owner access to Nassau County parks! Email Candidate Martins at Email Candidate Curran at Contact the Campaign.

Then, be sure to cast your vote for Nassau County Executive on Election Day–Tuesday, November 7th! 

 Thank you for your support.

08/04/2017 – Huntington Hearing on Park Access Goes Well

Dix Hills Park

Dix Hills Park Trail
Photo Credit: Irene Rabinowitz

July 11th Public Hearing on Proposal to Open Virtually All Huntington Parks to On-Leash Dog-Walking Goes Well

Town Board Vote May Come Tues., Aug. 15th

Please Continue to Show Your Support!

The Public Hearing on Tues., July 11th on a proposal to amend Huntington Town Code to allow on-leash dog walking in virtually all Town parks went very well. There were eight speakers at the public hearing including LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn and six of those speakers spoke in favor of the resolution. Dog owners also have sent emails to the Town Board in support of the resolution. Thank you to everyone who attended the public hearing, spoke in favor of the proposal, and has sent emails on this change in the Town Code that will benefit so many people and dogs! (Read all about the Town’s proposal at Huntington Proposes Opening Almost All Town Parks to On-Leash Dogs.)

In LI-DOG’s statement, we noted the proposed change will allow more people to enjoy the Town’s public parks. Not only is this an important quality of life issue, but increasing park use makes our parks safer. Providing more access to parks also incents more people to get out and walk their dogs, which is good not only for dogs’ health, but for people’s health, too. “Walking your dog in a beautiful park is one of life’s great pleasures,” said Ginny. “We are grateful to the Huntington Town Board and the Huntington Greenway Trails Committee (on which LI-DOG serves) for recommending this change that will benefit so many Huntington residents.” (To read LI-DOG’s statement, go to Support Local Law Adopting Uniform Park Standards for Leashed Dogs in Huntington Town Parks.)

Among other speakers in support of the change was Mike Kaplow, president of the Siberian Husky Club of Greater New York. Mike, who was accompanied at the meeting by his service dog Lola, urged the Town Board to pass this “canine-loving legacy legislation.” He noted that in his experience he has found the vast majority of both dogs and their human companions are well behaved and responsible and he invited any naysayers to join him and Lola for a walk in the park including an LI-DOG Pack Walk. “You will see some of the best behaved dogs and most responsible human companions on our Island,” he said. (To read Mike Kaplow’s statement, go to Huntington’s Expansion of Dog Walking Areas.)

The main exception to the proposed new policy is Heckscher Park in Huntington Village. Supporters of the Town Code change including LI-DOG urged the Town Board in the future to lift the restriction on leashed dogs in Heckscher Park. ”Access to Heckscher Park is the most common request we get from Huntington dog owners and we believe Heckscher would benefit greatly from the presence of leashed dogs in terms of deterring the geese that foul the lawns and paths there, “said Ginny. “We are hopeful that once this new policy is in place and has proved successful, we can revisit this issue with the Town.”

In an interview with The Long Islander, Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone said the Town would be monitoring the parks closely to make sure people are cleaning up after their dogs and keeping their dogs on-leash. If the policy change is successful, he said, town officials will consider expanding the policy to more areas in the future. (Read The Long Islander article Canine-Loving Change Mulled by Board.)

Newsday has also covered the story including LI-DOG’s support for the proposed change. Read the Newsday story Have a Dog and a Leash? Huntington May Open More Parks for Use.

LI-DOG is excited about the proposed change in the Town Code. Not only does the proposed change benefit many dog owners and their dogs, but it sets a great precedent for other Towns on Long Island that still ban dog owners and their dogs from public parks.

If you haven’t already done so, and you’re a Huntington resident, please email or call Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone—the sponsor of this resolution—and Huntington Town Board members to thank them and let them know what this means to you and your dog! Don’t forget to cc: so we can see your emails, too.

Supervisor Frank Petrone, email or call 631-351-3030

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, email or call 631-351-3172

Councilwoman Susan Berland, email or call 631-351-3173

Councilman Eugene Cook, email or call 631-351-3174

Councilwoman Tracey Edwards, email or call 631-351-3175

Make sure to send a copy of your email to Huntington Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia at, so that your message is entered into the public record in support of the resolution.

As soon as we find out when the Town Board will vote on this important resolution we will let everyone know.

Thank you for your support!



07/06/2017 – LI-DOG 2nd Annual Pints-n-Paws Luau Wrap Up and Thanks


Summer of 2017 Gets Off to a FUN Start at

LI-DOG’s 2nd Annual Pints-n-Paws™ Luau!


Clyde Cools Off at the Luau–Photo Credit: Joann Garguola

LI-DOG welcomed the summer of 2017 with a puppy party on the beautiful waterfront patio of Off-Key Tikki Waterside Bar and Grill in Patchogue. The palm-tree studded venue was the perfect setting for LI-DOG’s 2nd Annual Pints-n-PawsTM Luau on Sunday afternoon, June 11th!

The event featured games, raffles, a barbeque generously donated by Off-Key Tikki, tropical drinks, a tropically-themed photo set for selfies, and music provided by Off-Key Tikki’s band plus our own MC-extraordinaire Mike Kaplow.  Even though it was a very hot day, the palm trees, umbrellas and kiddie pools kept people and pups cool and comfortable.

Many guests—human and canine—were dressed in Island attire and were greeted by Laura Paesano of Laura Pea Photography with a welcome photo by the palm trees. Check out all of Laura’s wonderful photos and her great write up of the Luau at:


Photo Credit: Laura Pea Photography


Photo Credit: Joann Garguola


Photo Credit: Laura Pea Photography

Our contests—Biggest Lap Dog, Silliest Dog Trick and Best Dressed Doggie and Me Margaritaville Contest–had some fierce competition as fur babies of all sizes—from tea cup to terrier to tremendous—participated. Congratulations to our winners and thanks to our outstanding team of judges: Sean Desmond, Lana Bongiovi, and Heidi Walker of our Special Guest Yorkie911 Rescue who were there with adorable adoptable pups!

Photo Credit: Laura Pea Photography

Photo Credit Karen Marie

Photo Credit: Joann Garguola











Luau Sponsors CollageWith almost 20 graciously-donated baskets raffled off, lots of pooches—and their human parents–had extra toys and treats to take home. Great thanks and much appreciation to all our raffle basket sponsors including: Laura Pea Photography, Deb’s Healthy Pet Center, LI Canine Class, All Island Pet Supplies, Joelle Siemers of Netter Real Estate, TLC Doggy Day Spa, Dog House Boarding, The Refuge, Cloud Star Treats, Earth Rated Poop Bags,  Jones Natural Chews, Petrageous Designs, Craft Kitchen & Tap House, and Coastal Pet Products.  PLUS, all our friends who donated baskets in honor of their dogs and to support LI-DOG including: Amanda Muller, Dawn Licona, Joann Garguola, Kim Varvaro of Husse Dog Food and One Paw Out the Door Training, Nikki and Kenny Koperda, Rise Armell and Sherri Hsiu of

Your donations helped make our 2nd Annual Pints-n-PawsTM Luau the most successful fundraising event ever for LI-DOG!

Plus, special thanks to our accommodating and generous host, Off-Key Tikki Waterside Bar and Grill, for providing the BBQ and welcoming us back to their awesome place!

Logo for Off Key Tikki Waterside Bar and Grill

Also, major thanks to both of our photographers, Laura Paesano of Laura Pea Photography and our colleague Joann Garguola, for their great shots of dogs and people. Check out their photos and lots of others on the LI-DOG Meetup and the LI-DOG Facebook Group. Thanks also to Joann for making the amazing pineapple palm tree display and fruit salad!

Photo Credit: Joann Garguola

Photo Credit: Joann Garguola

Photo Credit: Joann Garguola


Our Luau would not have been as successful and fun without LI-DOG’s amazingly creative and talented event organizers—Marie Amsterdam, Joann, and Irene Rabinowitz. Thank you to all three for making the Luau so successful!

Plus, we had a large crew of GREAT volunteers including: Sean and Sam Desmond, Vicky Lick, Danielle Scala, Suely Vera, Barbara Striegel, Karen Dikeman, Melanie Katz, Judy Dickson, Nicole and Roy Casimir, Bryce and Lloyd Amsterdam, Lana Bongiovi, Sherri Hsiu, Lynn Kay Kosefsky along with LI-DOG Board member Chris Laubis.

Thanks to everyone who came and contributed to making this a great event!



07/05/2017 – Huntington Proposes Opening Almost All Town Parks to On-Leash Dogs

Huntington Proposes Opening Almost All Town Parks to On-Leash Dog Walking!

Public Hearing Set for Tues., July 11th at 2 p.m. at Town Hall

Please Come Show Your Support!

Dix Hills Park

Dix Hills Park Trail in Huntington Photo Credit: Irene Rabinowitz

The Huntington Town Board will hold a public hearing on Tues., July 11th at 2 p.m. at Town Hall on a resolution to amend Town Code to allow on-leash dog walking in virtually all Town parks. Huntington owns parks covering several hundred acres of public land ranging from the historic Village Green in Huntington Village to newly opened Sweet Hollow Park in Melville. (For a complete list of parks in the Town of Huntington, get the Huntington Trails Guide.)

Specifically, the resolution amends Town Code by eliminating wording that prohibits dogs in most town parks and instead adopts uniform park standards with the following words: The Town Board has approved on-leash walking of dogs in town parks and trails. The resolution also requires that dogs be on leashes no longer than 6-feet in length and that dog waste be immediately picked up and disposed of properly.

The main exception to the proposed new policy is Heckscher Park in Huntington Village. LI-DOG has strongly recommended that on-leash dogs be permitted in Heckscher Park. Access to Heckscher Park is the most common request we hear from Huntington dogs owners and allowing on-leash dogs in the park would deter the geese who foul the lawns and paths in that park. However, Town officials have expressed concerns about potential conflicts at the park, especially during the day when the park is busy. LI-DOG is optimistic that once the new policy has been put in place and been successful, we can ask the Town to revisit this restriction.

LI-DOG is excited about the proposed change in the Town Code and supports the Town Board resolution. Opening virtually all the Town’s parks to on-leash dog walking will benefit tens of thousands of town residents and their dogs! Moreover, the change in policy will serve as a positive example to other Towns on Long Island that still ban dogs from public parks.

In introducing the resolution, the Town Board notes that adopting uniform standards for leashed dogs in town parks supports Huntington’s goal to be more dog-friendly “by allowing more Huntington residents to enjoy public parks with their canine companions.” The Town also notes that allowing more people with dogs into public parks promotes public safety by having more “eyes” on the parks.

The proposed Town Code change is the result of recommendations made by the Huntington Greenway Trails Committee on which LI-DOG serves. Currently, trails on which leashed dogs are allowed are recommended by the Committee on an individual park or trail basis. The process is the result of an initiative approved by the Town in June 2013. (To read about the initiative, go to Town Board Approves On-Leash Dog Walking in Designated Huntington Parks.)

In making its recommendation, the Trails Committee noted that 2013 initiative has worked well and that there have been no issues to date with on-leash dogs on trails in public parks. In lieu of individual site designations, the Committee noted that the adoption of uniform park standards will make it easier for people to understand the policy towards dogs in town parks and will help increase park and trail use. In addition, the Committee noted, the Town owns almost a dozen parks in conjunction with Suffolk County and those partnerships are likely to continue to grow. County policy, which takes precedence in these parks, allows leashed dogs in its parks and adopting uniform standards will align Town policies with the County.

Besides the exception of Heckscher Park, the resolution also restricts on-leash and off-leash dogs from: Betty Allen Nature Preserve, all playgrounds, picnic areas, active recreation areas like sports fields, town camp programs and town beaches. Significantly, on-leash dogs are permitted on paved areas and boardwalks at town beaches.

Again, LI-DOG is optimistic that once uniform park standards are adopted and the program proves successful, we will be able to ask the town to revisit the restrictions on Heckscher Park as well as access to beaches.

LI-DOG is asking dog owners to join us in support of this resolution that significantly expands access to parks in the Town of Huntington!

Join LI-DOG at the Public Hearing at the Town Board Meeting on Tues., July 11th at 2 p.m. While we view this resolution as a great benefit to town residents, there are always a few critics who will oppose the resolution. Come to the Town Board meeting on July 11th and show your support for access to parks!

If you can’t come to the Public Hearing, email or call Huntington Town Board members and let them know you support Local Law Introductory Number 31-2017 that will allow on-leash dogs in Town parks. Don’t forget to cc: so we can see your emails, too!

  • Supervisor Frank Petrone, email or call 631-351-3030
  • Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, email or call 631-351-3172
  • Councilwoman Susan Berland, email or call 631-351-3173
  • Councilman Eugene Cook, email or call 631-351-3174
  • Councilwoman Tracey Edwards, email or call 631-351-3175
  • Make sure to send a copy of your email to Huntington Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia at, so that your message is entered into the public record in support of the resolution.

The more emails the Town Board gets supporting their resolution, the more likely it will pass!

This is a great step forward for Huntington dog owners! Thank you for your support!





01/23-2017 – Hempstead Supervisor Santino Supports Dog Friendly Parks

Hempstead Supervisor Santino Offers To Work with LI-DOG For More Dog-Friendly Town Parks!

“More Access for Canines…a Top Priority” He Writes

Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino

Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino Announces New Dog Park

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino made a commitment to LI-DOG to work toward making the Town of Hempstead dog friendly by providing access to town parkland. As a result, on September 21, 2016, town residents and their dogs welcomed a beautiful 14,025 sq. foot dog park located in the Newbridge Road Park in Bellmore.

This park is only the beginning! After reaching out to Supervisor Santino to express words of thanks for his efforts and the resulting park (Read Hempstead Opens Dog Park at Newbridge Road Park!), the Supervisor responded with a positive letter informing LI-DOG of his continued commitment to their “dog park initiative.” In his letter to LI-DOG, Supervisor Santino explains how providing canine access to Town of Hempstead parks is a “top priority” and that “protecting animals has been a cornerstone of my administration since taking office.” He closes the letter by saying that he is willing to work with LI-DOG and other community advocates to “determine where additional dog-friendly areas could be made throughout our parks, beaches, and areas of open space”.  Read Supervisor Santino’s complete letter.

Resident dogs and their families have welcomed this park and have expressed their hope that this be the first of many dog-friendly areas in other town parks. Having support from town officials is a giant step in the direction toward the elimination of the numerous “No Dogs Allowed” signs and restrictions that were enacted in all Town of Hempstead parks.  Supervisor Santino’s continued support for the health and socialization of our canine companions is the first step to bringing the Town of Hempstead into a new era.

Writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls to show support for the new TOH dog park and the Supervisor’s dog-friendly initiative will greatly help the campaign for a similar park or on-leash access for additional Town of Hempstead parks and beaches. To let Supervisor Santino know how much you appreciate his new dog-friendly parks initiative, call 516-489-6000, email, or write Office of the Supervisor, Town of Hempstead, One Washington St., Hempstead, NY 11550-4923.

Thank you for your support!