Lift the Dog Ban on New York's Long Island Beaches!

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Let People Bring Their Dogs to the Beach!

Long Island is surrounded by hundreds of miles of public beaches. Surprisingly, the New York State Office of Parks, which manages 14,000 acres of Long Island parks that have shoreline access, prohibits ALL access to New York State beaches on Long Island to people with dogs!

Denying access to so much recreational space to dog owners who pay taxes that support this public parkland is unacceptable. For many people, walking, running and playing with their dogs outdoors is their main recreational activity.  People with dogs have the right to enjoy access to recreational space just like hikers, bikers, joggers or anyone else.

New York’s ban on dogs on New York State beaches impacts tens of thousands of Long Islanders. It is estimated that 457,000 Long Island families have dogs. Because of New York's longstanding, outdated ban, these families can’t take their dogs to the beach for exercise and recreation. Veterinarians, trainers and animal behaviorists agree dogs need exercise and socialization for their health and well-being.

The pandemic highlights that access to public parks and beaches is a basic right and need, whether you have a dog or not. During the pandemic, attendance at Long Island's public parks and beaches soared as people sought safety from the virus and freedom from isolation at home in outdoor spaces. In his State of the State address, the Governor noted, "the ability to safely recreate outdoors will remain a critical complement to public health measures for months," but Parks officials on Long Island have closed off thousands of acres of public parkland to people with dogs.  

There is no reason New York State officials cannot find ways to accommodate people with dogs on its Long Island beaches. Parks systems around the country, including those on the East End of Long Island, have found ways to allow people with dogs to enjoy beaches. Long Island dog owners are just as responsible as dog owners in other areas of the country. 

Let's Be Clear: LI-DOG is not asking for access to NYS beaches where people swim and there are lifeguards during the summer. LI-DOG is asking for access to non-lifeguarded beaches and shoreline appropriate for people with dogs.

It’s time for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State elected officials to lift the ban on dogs on Long Island beaches. Denying access to this major public recreational resource to taxpaying citizens is unacceptable.

The Office of Parks should work with LI-DOG (www.lidog.org) to designate appropriate beaches for people to take their dogs for exercise and recreation.

Let people bring their dogs to the beach!