Suffolk 18th Legislative District Candidates Endorse Off-Leash Access to Beaches and Public Parkland

On Oct. 21, 2013, LI-DOG asked the two candidates for Suffolk County’s 18th Legislative District in Huntington for a statement on their position regarding off-leash access to beaches and other public parkland. In recent years, LI-DOG supporters increasingly have asked us to work to gain more off-leash access to the miles of beach that surround Long Island. Following are the statements we received from the two candidates—Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer and Suffolk Legislative Candidate Robert Conte.

From Robert Conte:

  1. Would you support an effort to identify beaches where Suffolk County dog owners could exercise their dogs off-leash? Yes I would support an effort to identify such areas.
  2. Will you work to expand and protect current off-leash access to public parkland? Yes, to the extent that those areas are appropriate and correctly implemented.
  3. If yes to both questions, please provide a statement on your position on these two issues. Quality of life issues for all residents are a priority for me. This is true as it applies both to Suffolk County dog owners and non-dog owners. That is why I support initiatives of to improve the quality of life for residents where compromises can be reached to ensure that all residents are able to enjoy our County natural resources. In addition, I believe that corporate sponsorship and partnership opportunities may be available in this area. These initiatives are the type which should be supported to the extent possible.

From William Spencer:

Dear Members of Long Island Dog,

I sincerely thank you for the opportunity to once again speak to you, and your members. As a dog lover myself, I am aware of the bond between pets and pet owners. As a Doctor I have seen the benefits dog ownership can have to a person. Owning a dog encourages physical activity and can reduce depression, as well as improving emotional health and feelings of well-being.

During my first term as a Suffolk County Legislator I have fought to protect our furry family members. We recently unveiled the Pet Store Rating Program in Suffolk County. The “Puppy and Dog Protection Rating Program” legislation mandates that criteria be developed and used to review pet stores in Suffolk County, with the goal of educating the public about which stores have the well-being of their animals in mind. The board also aims to ensure that the animals being offered are healthy and treated well. The goal is to educate the public about the practices of pet stores in Suffolk County. At least two local pet stores have already volunteered to allow the Board to rate them!

I understand the importance pet owners put on being able to exercise and socialize their dogs. Public parks should be made available to all members of our community, including dogs and their owners. My top concern has been, and always will be public safety. I do support off-leash dog parks in Suffolk County where possible, with natural or fenced barriers. Public parks belong to the public, but the County is responsible to ensure the safety of all park visitors, whether they walk on two legs or four!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to weigh-in on this subject. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I am always eager to talk to people like you who have creative ideas about solving our community’s problems.

Let’s work together to protect our pets, and ensure that their best interest, as well as the interest of the public, is kept in mind! I hope I have earned your vote on Election Day November 5th.

Please feel free to go to my website, if you would like to learn more about our accomplishments.


William R. Spencer, M.D.

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