In a surprisingly swift and welcome development, Suffolk County Leg. John Kennedy of Smithtown in early Aug. introduced a bill to create a dog park in Blydenburgh County Park! In introducing his bill, Leg. Kennedy noted that life is changing on Long Island--that people increasingly are living in condos, apartment complexes and houses with small yards and that their dogs need places to run.
The bill is a major development--this would be the first Suffolk dog park outside the town of Huntington and it likely will be one of the largest on Long Island! Blydenburgh is a beautiful, very big park. It is heavily wooded; has several large, open fields, which would be perfect for organized activities such as agility, obedience, Fly-Ball and tracking; has plenty of trails for hiking with our dogs; many areas that are far from neighborhoods so nearby residents shouldn't mind; a big pond to walk around; and campgrounds that we could use for sleepovers with our pups! It's easy to get to-the entrance is on Veterans Highway ½-mile from where the Northern State Parkway ends; it's kept open year round; and there are bathrooms and running water-what more could we ask?!
We are going to have to work to get this! While Leg. Kennedy clearly believes he is answering the needs of his constituents, we have to show him, the Suffolk County Parks Dept., and other members of the Legislature that we REALLY WANT a dog park in Blydenburgh!
WHAT'S NEXT: Leg. Kennedy's bill (IR 1923) goes before the S.C. Legislature's Parks Committee on Wed., Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. in Smithtown. Assuming it's approved, the bill then goes before the full Legislature on Tues., Sept. 27 in Riverhead.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Dog owners, especially those in Smithtown, need to thank Leg. Kennedy for his forward-thinking, dog owner-friendly bill. If we can get 30 to 50 calls into Kennedy's office, he'll push hard to get this done! Contact info for Leg. Kennedy: phone, 631-854-3735; e-mail: John.Kennedy@suffolkcountyny.gov
Next, we need to ask Parks Commissioner Ron Foley for his continued support of Leg. Kennedy's bill. At a public hearing on Aug. 23, Commissioner Foley said he would not oppose the bill, yet he is proposing a long-term plan for the changing use of Suffolk County parks. Commissioner Foley needs to know that we need off-leash areas for our dogs today! Contact info for Commissioner Foley: phone, 631-854-4984; e-mail: email@example.com
Then, we need dog owners across Suffolk County to call or e-mail the six members of the Parks Committee asking them to support Leg. Kennedy's bill (I.R.-1923). The Parks Committee members are:
Among the key points we need to make:
- Blydenburgh Park is a GREAT place for a dog park
- Suffolk dog owners need a safe place to run their dogs off-leash
- Dogs need to exercise and socialize with other people and dogs; a walk around the block is not enough
- More than 200,000 Suffolk households own at least one dog
- Suffolk County owns 50,000 acres of parkland, but only one, small parcel of Suffolk parkland is now designated for off-leash activity!
Remember, be polite!
Be aware: we have strong, powerful arguments for why we need more dog parks, but what politicians listen to are NUMBERS OF PEOPLE! Every single person who e-mails or calls is critical!
As always, keep in touch by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.