SUFFOLK COUNTY

Dog advocacy group pushes to allow pets on beaches

LI Dog Owners’ Group to bring collected signatures to state officials

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Long Island’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world, with international visitors in awe of the Caribbean-quality of sand and sea found only a train ride away from metropolis New York City.

Families have built entire summers revolving around beach life for generations and remain one of the biggest draws to living on our northern island paradise.

Long Island Dog Owners’ Group (LI-DOG) is looking to make the inimitable beach experience something that all family members can be a part of in the future.

“There are over 14,000 acres of parkland, with access to water, it is egregious that none of it is open to those with dogs,” said LI-DOG’s president Ginny Munger-Kahn.

Residents of Islip and Brookhaven have lucked out with the opening of Mud Creek in East Patchogue, which allows unleashed dogs on the sand and water-front. The beach is the host of many of LI-DOG’s popular summer get-togethers for puppers of all sizes and breeds, whose parents come from all over the island, as far as Brooklyn and Montauk.

The petition that LI-DOG has started, “Lift the Dog Ban NY LI Beaches,” began circulating on Friday, Jan. 29, and was well over the initial goal of 1,000 signatures at time of press with 1,576 supporters and steady incremental increases.

Munger-Kahn recognizes the conflict of dogs on swimming beaches and is adamant that “we are not imposing dogs on Jones Beach. We want to open up beach and shorelines where people do not sunbathe or swim to on-leash dogs with responsible owners. There are hundreds of beaches in New York State parks on Long Island that people do not use and would be such a gift, as it is a right, for people and their animal family members to enjoy.”

Stressing that “dog owners are responsible for the behavior of their dogs” as the law, Munger-Kahn assures that opening beaches to dogs will not increase park/beach liability for the state.

She also points to the great ambiance of dog-friendly beaches in the East End, East Hampton, Southampton and Southold as models of fur-oriented shore parks.

In conjunction with not imposing on swimmers, Munger-Kahn says her orga- nization is for off-season or off-hours usage of beaches by dog owners.

“Let’s utilize the beautiful beaches we have for everyone to enjoy at their own designated times,” said Munger-Kahn.

LI-DOG was established in 1998 and has since successfully worked with local dog parent residents and elected officials to open over almost a dozen dog parks in Nassau and Suffolk. Beaches, as such, are a final frontier, as there is a blanket ban on dogs throughout the New York State parks on Long Island.

“With the support in these signatures, we will take our collective voices to New York State elected officials, including the Assembly and the Senate to advance our cause.”

To support “Lift the Dog Ban NY LI Beaches,” please sign at https://www.change.org/LifttheDogBanNYLIBeaches.

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