Dog-Friendly Parks

.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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your support!


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
  • 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

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

Thank you for your support!


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! 


Dog Friendly Long Island Towns

Dog Friendly Northport VillageNewsday Article: Dog-friendly Long Island Destinations

Those in the know have long considered Northport, Greenport and Cherry Grove to be dog friendly towns.  Now, in a recent article, Newsday has officially recognized their status and describes places to eat, play and shop in each town.  Read the Newsday article.


04/09/2018 – Suffolk County Proclamation Honors LI-DOG President


Leg. Steve Stern and LI-DOG Prez Ginny Munger Kahn

Leg. Steve Stern and LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn

Suffolk County Proclamation Honors LI-DOG President for Work Helping to Create Dog-Friendly Park Policies


Suffolk County’s dog-friendly parks were celebrated December 19, 2017, when LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn was honored with a Proclamation from Suffolk County Legislator Steven Stern and his colleagues on the Suffolk County Legislature. The Proclamation thanks Ginny for her work helping to create dog parks and dog-friendly park policies in Suffolk County.

“By expanding access to and enjoyment of Suffolk County’s beautiful parks and open spaces, Ginny Munger Kahn has helped to materially improve the quality of life of thousands of current and future Suffolk County residents,” states the Proclamation. “In recognition of [that work], we the members of the Suffolk County Legislature do hereby honor Ginny Munger Kahn.” The proclamation is signed by all 18 Suffolk County legislators.

Since 1998, LI-DOG has worked with elected officials and Parks officials to create 10 dog parks on Long Island (seven in Suffolk County including an off-leash beach) plus dozens of on-leash dog walking trails.

Ozzie Huber Listens to the Presentation

Among the Suffolk County Dog Parks LI-DOG has helped create are:

– Blydenburgh Dog Park in Smithtown
– Cherry Avenue Dog Park in W. Sayville
– Mud Creek Off-Leash Beach in E. Patchogue
– Robinson Duck Farm Dog Park in Brookhaven
– West Hills Large Dog Park in Huntington

These dog parks are the result of legislation passed in 2007, which Leg. Stern sponsored and with whom LI-DOG worked closely, as well as LI-DOG’s work with other elected officials. Leg. Stern’s groundbreaking 2007 legislation directed the Suffolk Parks Commissioner to identify at least five parks where dog parks could be created.

“Today there are dozens of dog parks throughout Suffolk County that would not exist were it not for the precedent set by Steve’s legislation,” Ginny said in her remarks thanking Leg. Stern. “On behalf of Suffolk’s dog owners and their dogs, I want to thank Leg. Stern and let him know how grateful we are for the groundbreaking legislation he sponsored in 2007.”

Ginny also thanked former Legislators Lou D’Amaro, Kate Browning, Jon Cooper, John Kennedy and William Lindsay for their work to create dog parks in their communities.

“Dog parks may seem like a simple thing,” said Leg. Stern, “but if you’re a dog owner and you like spending time outdoors with your dog and other members of the community who share that love for being outdoors with our best friends, you know how important dog parks are. So with Ginny’s help and the help of so many who are active in LI-DOG, one of my first legislative initiatives was establishing the first dog parks in Suffolk County parks,” said Leg. Stern. “Today, these dog parks are thriving, they bring community members together and they have a great impact on our quality of life,” Leg. Stern noted.

Suffolk Leg. William Spencer with LI-DOG Prez Ginny Munger Kahn

Leg. William Spencer of Huntington Congratulates Ginny

As LI-DOG’s representative on the Huntington Greenway Trails Citizens Advisory Committee, Ginny more recently worked on the committee’s recommendation to adopt uniform park standards for leashed dogs in Huntington Town Parks. The recommendation was designed to align Town parks policy with Suffolk County, which allows leashed dogs throughout its 48,000-acre park system. In August 2017, the Huntington Town Board unanimously passed the resolution that opened virtually all Town parks to leashed dogs.

Ginny and LI-DOG continue to work with Suffolk legislators and the Suffolk Parks Dept. to make sure the County’s dog parks and the County’s dog-friendly park policies work well for park users.

Ginny also thanked her LI-DOG colleagues for their significant help in making Long Island parks more dog-friendly. “As is true with any accomplishment, I share this with my LI-DOG colleagues—Barbara Buscareno, Ed and Arlyne McMullin, and Pam Schmidlin who worked on the Suffolk dog parks plus my Nassau colleagues Christine Laubis, Peggy Heijmen, Marie Amsterdam, Joann Garguola and Liz Haban who have taken Suffolk’s success and expanded it into Nassau County. “These dog parks and dog-friendly park policies are great examples of local democracy in action,” said Ginny.

LI-DOG continues to work to increase access to public parks and beaches for Long Island dog owners and their dogs. Current campaigns are focused on Nassau County parks, Town of Hempstead parks, and beaches on Long Island.

The organization reaches thousands of Long Island dog owners every week through its website, emails, and Facebook and Meetup groups.

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


LI-DOG Pack Walk at Massapequa PreserveNassau County Executive Candidate Martins Expresses Commitment to Dog-Friendly Nassau County Parks! LI-DOG asked the two candidates for Nassau County Executive for statements on their position regarding on-leash dog walking in Nassau County parks. Former New York State Senator Jack Martins responded, writing “As a dog owner, I am committed to making sure we work with local communities to develop dog-friendly parks.” Nassau County Leg. Laura Curran did not respond to our request. To read Martins’ full statement and what you can still do to help get more access to Nassau County parks, go to Nassau County Exec Candidate Martins Commits to Dog-Friendly Parks.

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.

.08/23/2017 – Huntington Opens Most Town Parks to Leashed Dogs


Dix Hills Park 

Huntington Opens Most Town Parks to Leashed Dogs!

Unanimous Town Board Vote on Aug. 15th will allow people to walk their leashed dogs in dozens of local parks that were previously off-limits to dog owners. To read about the decision and get a link to a list of parks in Huntington, go to Huntington Opens Most Town Parks to Leashed Dogs!

08/23/2017 – Huntington Opens Most Parks to Leashed Dogs

Huntington Opens Most Town Parks to Leashed Dogs!

Action at Aug. 15th Town Board Meeting Allows On-Leash Dog Walking in Dozens of Parks Previously Off-Limits to Dog Owners

Dix Hills Park

Dix Hills Park; Photo Credit Irene Rabinowitz

The Huntington Town Board on Tues., Aug. 15th unanimously approved a change in the Town Code that will allow people to walk their leashed dogs in almost all Town parks! The change affects dozens of local parks ranging from the historic Village Green in Huntington Village to brand new Sweet Hollow Park in Melville. Among parks that were previously off-limits where people can now walk their dogs on-leash are Carpenter Farm Park in Greenlawn, the Centerport Park Trail in Centerport, Vets Park in E. Northport, and Jeffrey Wenig Park—a 94-acre passive park also known as Roundtree Park– in Melville. (To see a list of parks in the Town, go to the Huntington Trails Guide.

“We and our supporters are very excited about this change in Town policy,” LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn told The Times of Huntington. “Walking your dog on-leash in a beautiful public park is one of life’s great pleasures and we are grateful to Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone and the Town Board for making this a possibility for many more Town residents and their dogs.” LI-DOG’s post on Facebook about the Town’s big move got more than 200 likes within 48 hours. (See the post and comments at Huntington Town Board Approves On-Leash Access to Parks.

The code change, which was made upon the recommendation of the Huntington Greenway Trails Committee on which LI-DOG serves, replaces an initiative begun in June 2013, when the Town Board overturned a longstanding ban on dogs in local parks and approved the designation of on-leash dog walking trails based on recommendations from the Trails Committee. Five trails were designated under the initiative including trails in Dix Hills Park, the Jerome Ambro Preserve, Phragmites Park and Sunshine Acres Park. In making this latest recommendation, the Trails Committee noted that the initiative worked well and there were no issues with on-leash dogs on trails in public parks.

The Trails Committee recommended that the Town adopt uniform park standards in order to align its policies with those of Suffolk County. The County allows on-leash dogs throughout its park system including its parks in Huntington such as West Hills County Park. By adopting park standards in line with the County, the new town policy will make it easier for people to understand the policy towards dogs in local parks and will increase park and trail use, the Trails Committee said.

This latest change not only greatly expands the number of parks available for on-leash dog walking, but it also expands the areas within parks where people can walk their dogs. On-leash dog walking is no longer limited to individual trails, but rather is allowed throughout parks—with certain restrictions.

Specifically, the new law restricts dogs—both on-leash and off-leash–from playgrounds, athletic fields, picnic areas, town camp programs and town beaches. On-leash dogs are allowed on paved areas and boardwalks at town beaches. The rules also require 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 two main exceptions to the new policy are Heckscher Park in Huntington Village and Betty Allen Preserve in Centerport. LI-DOG and other speakers at the July public hearing on the code change urged the Town to allow on-leash dog walking in Heckscher Park. Access to Heckscher Park is the most common request LI-DOG gets from Huntington dog owners and allowing on-leash dogs would deter the geese who foul the lawns and paths in that park. However, Town officials expressed concerns about how busy the park is already. LI-DOG is optimistic that once this new policy is in place and has proven successful, we will be able to revisit this restriction with the Town.

In a July 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.)

It is very important that everyone abides by the new rules for the parks by keeping dogs on-leash and under control, by cleaning up after their dogs, and by keeping dogs off playgrounds, ball fields camp grounds, picnic areas and town beaches. The success of this program and our ability to expand access not only to Heckscher Park but also to town beaches depends on our ability to show that dog owners are responsible and respect other park users. We know our supporters “get it”, but please help us spread the word!

LI-DOG is excited about the change in Town policy. Not only will the change allow many more people and their dogs to enjoy Town parks, but increasing park use will makes our parks safer. In addition, providing access to parks will incent more people to get out and walk their dogs, which is good not only for dogs’ health, but for people’s health, too. Finally, we are optimistic that this change will set a great example for other Towns on Long Island that still ban dog owners and their dogs from public parks. (To read LI-DOG’s statement in support of the change in policy, go to Statement in Support of Local Law Adopting Uniform Park Standards for Leashed Dogs in Huntington Town Parks.)

Once again we want to thank our supporters who came to the July public hearing and sent emails to the Town Board in favor of this resolution. Town officials said they were pleased to see that the proposed change had gotten quite a bit of support.

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 for making this historic change possible for 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

The more emails elected officials get, the more likely they’ll expand dog-friendly policies in the future!

Thank you for your support!