It was a hot and sunny day when Huntington Town Councilwoman Joan Cergol joined LI-DOG, other dog owners and their pups to celebrate the grand opening of a new dog water fountain donated by LI-DOG to Huntington’s Heckscher Park. The donation is part of an effort by LI-DOG to enhance the enjoyment of dog-friendly parks on Long Island by dog owners and their dogs. LI-DOG also made the donation in grateful acknowledgement of the Town of Huntington’s decision two years ago to allow on-leash dog walking in the town’s signature community park. To get details on the grand opening and LI-DOG’s donation, go to LI-DOG’s Dog Water Fountain Donation to Huntington’s Heckscher Park!
LI-DOG’s Dog Water Fountain Donation to Huntington’s Heckscher Park Celebrated at Grand Opening on July 7th!
On a hot and beautiful July day, Huntington Town Councilwoman Joan Cergol and other Town officials joined LI-DOG, other dog owners and their pups to celebrate the grand opening of a new dog water fountain donated by LI-DOG to Huntington’s Heckscher Park!
LI-DOG has dedicated the dog water fountain to “the dogs and people who love Heckscher Park.”
The donation is part of an effort by LI-DOG to enhance the enjoyment of dog-friendly parks on Long Island by dog owners and their dogs. Two years ago, LI-DOG donated a park bench to the new dog run at dog-friendly Belmont Lake State Park in Babylon.
LI-DOG also made the donation in grateful acknowledgement of the Town of Huntington’s decision two years ago to allow on-leash dog walking in the town’s signature community park. That effort was led by Councilwoman Cergol who sponsored the resolution to allow on-leash dog walking in the park and oversaw the successful pilot program that led to the Town Board’s unanimous decision in Nov. 2020 to make Heckscher Park permanently dog-friendly. LI-DOG worked with Councilwoman Cergol to make sure dog owners were aware of the commonsense rules for walking dogs in the park such as keeping dogs on-leash and picking up after them.
The opening ceremony on July 7th was a great opportunity to thank Councilwoman Cergol personally for her leadership on this terrific accomplishment!
The stainless steel dog water fountain, which was made by Washington State-based Dog-On-It Parks, is located at the northwest corner of the Harry Chapin Rainbow Stage along the path. It features a slow-draining dog water bowl as well as a water faucet so people can fill their dogs’ own bowls with water.
On the water fountain is a silver plaque that reads:
Donated by LI-DOG (lidog.org)
For the Dogs and People Who Love Heckscher Park
The Town’s Dept. of General Services installed the dog water fountain and will maintain it. (It will be shut off during the winter.)
The day for the grand opening was sunny and hot. By the time the speeches were over and the water fountain was running, the dogs in attendance were eagerly drinking from the fountain—a good sign that it will be put to good use by people and their pups!
To see photos from the water fountain opening, go to the LI-DOG Dog Water Fountain Opening album on our Facebook Group.
Friday, July 7th, 12:30 p.m.
25A & Prime Ave., 11 Prime Ave.
You and your dog are invited to join LI-DOG on Friday, July 7th at 12:30 p.m. as we celebrate the Grand Opening of a new dog water fountain donated by LI-DOG to Huntington’s Heckscher Park! The donation is part of an effort by LI-DOG to enhance the enjoyment of dog-friendly parks on Long Island for dog owners and their dogs. The donation is also being made in thanks to the Town of Huntington for making its premiere community park dog-friendly two years ago. For details on the Grand Opening, go to Dog Water Fountain Opening at Heckscher Park!
LI-DOG Dog Water Fountain Opening at Heckscher Park!
Fri., July 7th, 12:30 p.m.
25A & Prime Ave., 11 Prime Ave.
Huntington, NY 11743
How to Find Us: Look for the dogs and people by the back of the Chapin Rainbow Stage.
Please join LI-DOG on Friday, July 7th at 12:30 p.m. as we celebrate the Grand Opening of a new dog water fountain donated by LI-DOG to Huntington’s Heckscher Park! LI-DOG is dedicating the dog water fountain to the people and dogs who love Heckscher Park.
The donation is part of an effort by LI-DOG to enhance the enjoyment of dog-friendly parks on Long Island by dog owners and their dogs. The donation is also being made in thanks to the Town of Huntington for making its premiere community park dog-friendly two years ago.
LI-DOG has worked on the water fountain project with Councilwoman Joan Cergol who sponsored the resolution to allow on-leash dog walking in the park and oversaw the successful pilot program that led to the Town Board’s unanimous decision in Nov. 2020 to make Heckscher Park permanently dog-friendly.
The opening ceremony will be a great opportunity to thank Councilwoman Cergol personally for her leadership on this terrific accomplishment!
The stainless steel dog water fountain, which arrived in Huntington in early June and is made by Washington-based Dog-On-It Parks, features a slow-draining dog water bowl as well as a water faucet so people can fill their dogs’ own bowls with water.
On the water fountain is a silver plaque that reads:
Donated by LI-DOG (lidog.org)
For the Dogs and People Who Love Heckscher Park
The Town’s Dept. of General Services will install the water fountain and maintain it. The water fountain is expected to be installed along the path near the back northwest corner of the Chapin Rainbow Stage.
We are inviting all dog owners who love Heckscher Park to join us on Friday, July 7th to celebrate the grand opening of this new amenity for the park and to thank Joan Cergol, other members of the Town Board and the Huntington community for their support in making Heckscher Park dog-friendly!
To RSVP, go to:
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you and your dogs can join us to celebrate the opening of the dog water fountain in Heckscher Park! We’ll have extra water bowls on hand!
The donation of a dog water fountain is part of an ongoing effort by LI-DOG to enhance the enjoyment of dog-friendly parks on Long Island by people and their dogs. LI-DOG also noted the donation is being made in acknowledgement of the Town Board’s unanimous decision in Nov. 2020 to make Huntington’s main community park dog-friendly. The dog water fountain features a slow-draining bowl so dogs have time to drink as well as a faucet so people can fill their dogs’ own bowls with water. For more information, go to LI-DOG Set to Donate Dog Water Fountain to Heckscher Park!
Huntington’s Heckscher Park to Get Dog Water Fountain Donated by LI-DOG!
In grateful acknowledgement of the Town’s decision two years ago to make Heckscher Park dog-friendly and in an ongoing effort to enhance the enjoyment of dog-friendly parks on Long Island, LI-DOG is set to donate a dog water fountain for the dogs and people who enjoy Huntington’s Heckscher Park.
LI-DOG is working on the project with Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol, who sponsored the resolution to allow dogs in Heckscher Park and oversaw a successful pilot program that resulted in the Town Board’s unanimous decision in Nov. 2020, to permanently allow on-leash dog walking in Huntington’s main community park.
The stainless steel water fountain, which is made by Washington-based Dog-On-It-Parks, features a dog water bowl designed to drain slowly so dogs have a chance to drink as well as a water faucet so people can fill their dogs’ own bowls with water.
The water fountain is expected to arrive in late May. The Town’s Dept. of General Services will install the fountain and maintain it.
A resolution to accept LI-DOG’s donation will be introduced at the Town Board’s May 9th meeting at 2 p.m. Anyone who’d like to join us at the meeting to accept our donation is welcome to come!
LI-DOG will also work with Councilwoman Cergol to schedule an official opening of the dog water fountain once it’s installed in the next few weeks.
We hope you’ll be able to join us!
LI-DOG President’s 2020 Report: Access to Public Parks and Beaches is a Basic Right and Need–Whether You Have a Dog or Not
The year 2020 has been a terrible year for many people, but there were positives as well, especially for dogs. More dogs found new homes, dog owners spent more time with their dogs, and dogs–and their people–got out more. 2020 also saw the realization of one of LI-DOG’s long-time goals–access to Huntington’s pretty Heckscher Park. This pandemic year when people sought refuge in outdoor parks drove home the lesson that access to public parks and beaches is a basic right and need. To read a slightly edited version of the president’s assessment of 2020, go to the LI-DOG President’s 2020 Report.
This Year’s Lesson: Access to Public Parks and Beaches is a Basic Right and Need – Whether You Have a Dog or Not
LI-DOG President’s 2020 Report to the Board of Directors
The year 2020 has been called terrible names—“the worst year ever,” another “annus horribilis,” and an “expletive deleted-show”. For good reason. So many people have lost their lives; huge wildfires in California and Australia killed hundreds of people and millions of animals; thousands of businesses have been wrecked; and there have been killings and civil unrest on our streets. It’s resulted in much anxiety, concern and dread for many people.
But 2020 has not all been awful. Out of this terrible year has also come a substantial increase in adoptions of shelter animals. Petco reported a few days ago that since the start of the year, 3.3 million animals have found their way into new homes. In fact, dogs have been winners in the pandemic. Not only are more dogs finding new homes, but their lives are better. Their people are around a lot more and they’re getting more attention. Vet visits are up not only because of new dog parents but also because people are paying closer attention to their pets. Chewy and Petco have reported increases in net sales of toys and leashes. People are getting out with their dogs and giving them exercise, which is healthy for both them and their pups.
Good and bad things have also happened to LI-DOG.
We lost one of our Pack Leaders to COVID this spring. He was a kind and gentle man and his wife, who also helped lead our Walks, is heartbroken. We almost lost another one of our good LI-DOG friends and some of us have had family members seriously affected by this awful disease. We extend our deepest sympathies to all our LI-DOG friends impacted by the pandemic.
Less seriously, but still impactful, because of the virus we had to cancel multiple events including five of our Pack Walks plus our big summer fundraiser and pawty at Off-Key Tikki.
Only because of a very generous donation by Tito’s Vodka for our participation in The Refuge’s Barkin’ Brunch program did our finances not take a hit this year.
In addition we had to put off our beach access campaign when we realized we would not be able to get the attention of elected officials who were dealing with life-and-death issues.
On the other hand, we learned to cope with the virus and were able to take advantage when it retreated for a few months. We were able to hold a few Pack Walks and came up with ways to protect our volunteers and guests with mask requirements, limits on attendance, a new agreement to deter people from showing up with symptoms or other risk factors, plus a safer way to execute our documents by posting them online.
Moreover, even though the pandemic altered the public education effort LI-DOG was in charge of in Huntington’s Heckscher Park, it did not stop us from achieving one of our most welcome victories in recent years –on-leash access to Heckscher Park. This is something Huntington dog owners have wanted for years and because of the online petition Huntington dog owner and PR pro Karen Thomas created on Change.org, the wise and patient leadership of the campaign by Councilwoman Joan Cergol, and the dedication of the volunteer Park Ambassadors, we made it happen.
The pilot program set up to test on-leash dog walking in the park was extremely successful. That was the result of the efforts of Councilwoman Cergol who created an Oversight Committee to monitor and adjust the pilot program based on input from the community. By the time the Public Hearing was held to make the policy permanent, not one person spoke in opposition. It’s a great model for future campaigns.
There is one other key lesson from this pandemic year, which comes back to why we exist. That is, the importance of access to public parks and beaches. Attendance at public parks and beaches hit record levels this year as people, desperate to escape the confines of their homes and concerned about coming into contact with others in indoor spaces, sought freedom and refuge from the virus in outdoor public spaces. This year underscores that access to public parks and beaches is a basic right and need—whether you have a dog or not.
The importance of our mission is now clearer than ever. It is simply unacceptable to allow state and local jurisdictions to eliminate access to thousands of acres of public parks and beaches to so many Long Island residents—the tens of thousands of us who own dogs and whose main recreational activity is walking, running and playing with our dogs outdoors.
As is clear from the plan we have created for our beach access campaign, this effort is going to take a lot of work. It’s going to be a heavy lift and will require a newfound commitment by all of us to our mission. I know I will be able to count on your support.
Thank you so much for your continuing commitment to LI-DOG.
The Huntington Town Board voted unanimously on Nov. 19th to permanently allow on-leash dog walking in Huntington’s Heckscher Park. The vote came on a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol who led the effort to allow on-leash dog walking in Huntington’s signature community park. It followed an almost year-long, successful pilot program in which on-leash dog walking gained broad support in the community. For more information on how it happened, go to Huntington Town Board Votes to Make Heckscher Park Permanently Dog Friendly!
Huntington Town Board Votes to Make Heckscher Park Permanently Dog-Friendly!
Unanimous Decision Comes After Successful Year-Long Pilot Program
The Huntington Town Board voted 5-0 on Nov. 19th to permanently allow on-leash dog walking in Huntington’s Heckscher Park! The vote at a virtual Town Board meeting came on a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol and seconded by both Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Councilman Eugene Cook. Councilwoman Cergol has led the year-long effort to add Heckscher Park to Huntington’s townwide dog-friendly parks policy. Council members Mark Cuthbertson and Ed Smyth also voted in favor.
In seconding Councilwoman Cergol’s resolution, Supervisor Lupinacci noted that the Town Board had gotten “a lot of emails and support” for the resolution and that “it was nice to see [such support].” Thanks to everyone who responded to LI-DOG’s emails and contacted the Town Board urging them to make Heckscher Park dog-friendly for good!
Thank you also to fellow Huntington dog owner Karen Thomas who created the online petition in Aug. 2019 that got this all started. Also, a big thank you to our volunteer Park Ambassadors—dog owners who helped spread the word about the pilot program and the rules in the park–including Michelle Troiano, Wendy Tullo, Johanna King, Sharyn Julino, Laurence Foray, Elizabeth Madden, Erich Preis, Loary Milanese and Michelle Factor Noonan.
“Walking our dogs on-leash in Heckscher Park is something Huntington dog owners have wanted for years. We are thrilled this has finally happened thanks largely to the efforts of Councilwoman Cergol and our fellow Park Ambassadors,” said LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn.
The vote to permanently allow on-leash dog walking in Heckscher Park came after a successful, almost year-long pilot program in Huntington’s signature community park. The pilot program was launched by a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Cergol in Oct. 2019 and renewed three times by the Town Board. It created a public education effort to bring dog owners in the park up to speed on the new rules for on-leash dog walking, while allowing for an Oversight Committee chaired by Councilwoman Cergol to make adjustments to the program in response to input from the community.
The Oversight Committee included representatives from LI-DOG and the Citizens Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, volunteer Park Ambassadors, and staff from Huntington’s Dept. of Public Safety and the Division of Animal Control, among others.
LI-DOG noted that Councilwoman Cergol’s responsiveness to concerns raised by the community by adjusting the rules, working with the Dept. of Public Safety, Animal Control and General Services to get the resources needed to respond to these issues, and then Park Ambassadors stepping up their public education efforts were key to the success of the pilot program.
As a result, not only did the pilot program operate successfully through all four seasons of the year, but the policy of allowing leashed dogs in Heckscher Park gained broad support in the community. “Even people who were initially uncomfortable about allowing on-leash dogs in Heckscher Park ended up supporting making the policy permanent,” noted LI-DOG in a Nov. 2nd Email to the Town Board: Please Support Adding Heckscher to Dog Friendly Parks Policy.
In a significant development on Nov. 5th, the chair of the Huntington Greenway Trails Committee on which LI-DOG serves and which in 2017, recommended opening virtually all Town parks to on-leash dogs, endorsed adding Heckscher Park to the town’s broad dog-friendly parks policy. In 2017, the committee had exempted Heckscher Park from its recommendation because of concerns about overcrowding. Now, “The Huntington Greenway Trails Committee…unanimously agree[s] that the on-leash dog walking program at Heckscher Park has been extremely successful [and] supports…a change in the town code to allow on-leash dog walking in Heckscher Park.”
The effects of the pilot program on Heckscher Park were summarized in the final Park Ambassadors Report submitted by lead Park Ambassador Karen Thomas and LI-DOG. Among the key findings:
- Dog owners have been responsible about picking up after their dogs and dog waste is not a problem.
- Off-leash dogs are a rare occurrence.
- The dog population is consistently low—usually under 6 dogs throughout the park at any one time.
- There have been no complaints in recent months about dog owners failing to yield to others on the paths.
- Complaints about dogs on benches were addressed by updating the rules prohibiting dogs on benches.
- Goose droppings on the paths have been reduced because of the presence of leashed dogs.
- Park ambassadors continue to receive very positive feedback from dog owners about how happy and grateful they are to enjoy Heckscher Park with their canine companions.
- As one Park Ambassador put it, “In addition to meeting neighbors and making new friends, I’ve become healthier and created an amazing routine with my dog. For the first time since moving to Huntington, I feel a sense of belonging here.”
Councilwoman Cergol summarized her take on the success of the pilot program in a Nov. 21st Facebook post. Since creating the pilot program a year ago, she wrote, “we taught both the public and our pooches new tricks about safety and co-existing in harmony during a tumultuous year when peace and harmony were often hard to find. We did that by abiding by the mindset that if we respected everyone’s right to enjoyment of this downtown signature park…we would create a walking path for all to come together. For me, this may be one of the most important lessons of this humble pilot program and of this very challenging year,” she wrote. “For that, I could not be prouder.”
Even though the pilot program has ended, LI-DOG’s President assured the Town Board before the vote that Park Ambassadors would continue to keep an eye on dog owner activities in the park. Once the threat of the coronovirus is contained, public education days will be scheduled when Park Ambassadors once again hand out flyers and talk to dog owners about the rules in the park. If any issues arise, dog owners will reach out to Councilwoman Cergol for her help in resolving them, she said.
Dog owners need to be aware that restrictions on dogs, both leashed and unleashed, remain in place for specific areas of Heckscher Park and other town parks. Among these are:
- All playgrounds
- Picnic areas
- Park benches
- Active recreation areas such as tennis courts and sports fields
- All town camp or licensed education areas
- Beaches, except for paved areas and boardwalks, and
- The temporarily fenced area around Heckscher Park’s Harry Chapin Rainbow Stage during performances. This last restriction was added to the Town Code as a result of the licensing agreement the Town has with the Huntington Arts Council. Dog owners are still allowed to bring leashed dogs outside the temporary fencing.
What You Can Do: If you have not already done so, let the members of the Huntington Town Board know how great it is to finally be allowed to walk your dog(s) on-leash in Heckscher Park. Don’t forget to thank them for unanimously approving making Heckscher Park dog-friendly for good!
Members of the Huntington Town Board:
Hon. Chad A. Lupinacci, Supervisor, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3030 email@example.com
Hon. Joan Cergol, Councilwoman, Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: (631) 351-3173 JCergol@huntingtonny.gov (Remember to thank Councilwoman Cergol for all her work on behalf of dog owners!)
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!