OVER 1,400 PEOPLE SIGN PETITION TO ALLOW LEASHED DOGS AT HUNTINGTON’S POPULAR HECKSCHER PARK
There are No Leashed Dog Parks in Huntington Village, Where Families and their Dogs Can Listen to Music, Attend Events, and Performances
The “Let’s Make Huntington Heckscher Park a Dog-Friendly Park!” petition at Change.org at: https://www.change.org/p/li-dog-let-s-make-huntington-heckscher-park-a-dog-friendly-park-allow-leashed-friendly-dogs was created last week to allow leashed dogs at Huntington’s popular Heckscher Park, and has already generated over 1,400 signatures. Heckscher Park is a local treasure, with concerts, festivals, and other events held there each year. But outdated laws have prohibited Huntington’s dog owners from walking their leashed dogs there, making the park’s pathways virtually empty when there are no events — a waste of tax payer money. The park’s pathways are also covered each day with goose dropping from the geese that run free in the park, requiring daily cleaning.
“Huntington’s dog owners want to walk their leashed dogs in Heckscher Park legally, without fear of retribution. In October, scores of dog owners with their leashed dogs will descend upon Heckscher Park for the annual Long Island Fall Festival, unaware that dogs aren’t allowed. Can we change this outdated town code regulation by then to allow dogs to be at peace in the park? We owe it to our beloved dogs to try,” said Karen Thomas, the creator of the petition, and a lifelong resident of Huntington Township.
Heckscher Park Can Also be a Dog-Friendly Park Like Northport Harbor Park
There are currently no leashed dog parks in Huntington village similar to Northport, where families and dogs can listen to music, attend events, and performances. Northport Harbor Park has allowed leashed dogs for years and is a very busy park with happy dog owners walking their dogs, socializing with other dog owners, and enjoying the events and music. The addition of leashed dogs provides a family friendly environment, increases tourism, good will, charm, and publicity. LI-Dog, the nonprofit advocate for dog parks and trails, said, “The leashed dogs policy works well in Northport, not to mention thousands of other busy community parks around the country, and there’s no reason to think Heckscher Park should be different.” Ginny Munger Kahn, President of LiDog, who signed the petition, said, “It’s time to let Huntington dog owners enjoy this wonderful public recreational resource just like every other person in town. AND allowing people to walk leashed dogs in the park will address the disgusting problem with goose poop.”
In the July 2017 issue of The Long Islander, Huntington’s previous Supervisor, Frank Petrone, said the Town would be monitoring parks closely to make sure people were cleaning up after their dogs and keeping their dogs on-leash. He said that if that initiative was successful, town officials would consider expanding the policy to more areas (such as Heckscher Park). Leashed dogs in Heckscher will keep Huntington’s tax paying citizens, their families, and their dogs healthy and encourage tourism and businesses in the Huntington area.
Highlights from Petition Signers’ Comments on the Leashed Dog Petition:
- Christine Sweeney, Huntington Station: “Dogs are walked there anyway, let them be ‘legal.’ I’m sure the geese leave more droppings than the dogs. So many people love to walk there, let them walk with their dog, people friendly dogs!”
- Loretta Milanese, Centerport: “Northport Park which is in TOH 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. I say it’s worth at least a trial period.”
- Megan Sheppard, Huntington Station: “I no longer go there since they don’t allow dogs. Real shame.”
- Rowan Daray, Sound Beach: “I work in Huntington and for years have hung out in town and Hecksher Park. I just got a dog last summer and was deeply saddened to find out Hecksher is not leashed dog friendly. Sadly this fact has stopped me from hanging out in Huntington this spring/summer. Please open Hecksher to leashed dogs! Make this an inclusive community.”
- Michele Lauer-Bader, Huntington: “Heckscher Park should have the same regulations as the other parks in the TOH.”
- Tracy Hermer, Freeport: “I love seeing friendly dogs at parks during walks. Leashed trained dogs with their responsible humans should be able to enjoy walks in the community together.”
- Rosaria Marchetta, Huntington Station: “I have lived here 21 years and hate how not dog-friendly our town has become.”
- Jacqueline Cafaro, Huntington: “Huntington Village is dog friendly, why not make its parks dog friendly too.”
- Bonnie Braun, Huntington Station: “Of course, leashed dogs belong in a public park with their people.”
- Gail White, Oceanside: “People walking leashed dogs in a great park is seen as family friendly and an invitation to prospective residents.”
For more information and to sign the petition, go to Change.org at: https://www.change.org/p/li-dog-let-s-make-huntington-heckscher-park-a-dog-friendly-park-allow-leashed-friendly-dogs.