Huntington's canine residents will soon have more public places to exercise outdoors with four on-leash dog-walking sites.
"People have advocated for it and we have tried to find appropriate parks and places," Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said Wednesday.
The town board on Tuesday voted 5-0 to approve two resolutions sponsored by Cuthbertson to authorize the dog-friendly areas. The first made a test program at Greenlawn's Frazer Drive Park permanent. The other created on-leash dog walking trails at three sites: the Jerome Ambro Memorial Wetlands Preserve utility right of way in Northport, Dix Hills Park woodland trail and the Sunshine Acres Park paved path in Commack.
"We feel now Huntington dog owners get to participate in an activity that thousands of other dog owners participate in," said Ginny Munger Kahn, president of the Long Island Dog Owners Group, a nonprofit that works to increase access to public parkland for dog owners and their pets.
The three new sites will open after the town puts up signs delineating the dog-walking area and listing its regulations, officials said.
The Frazer Drive test program, approved in 2011, was designed to increase safety through the presence of dog-walkers after a 17-year-old girl was raped and robbed in a secluded area of the park in 2008.
The Huntington Greenway Trails Committee reviewed additional potential sites with representatives from the Long Island Dog Owners Group. The committee forwarded its recommendations to add the three sites.
Munger Kahn, a longtime Huntington resident, said the decision will increase support for town parks by bringing new and regular users. She said it will also "provide a much needed outlet for people looking for safe places to exercise with their dogs."