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Valley Stream resident lobbies for village's dogs
Richard Infield, 53, president of Friends of Valley Stream Dogs, has lived in the village for 15 years and helped bring the first dog park to the community. He left his 12-year-old rescue beagles, Dakota and Chippy, at home because they don’t like playing in the dog run.
Community affiliation: Board member of Long Island Dog Owners Group.
What are the rules of the new dog park located near Valley Stream’s Village Green?
You must keep an eye on your dog at all times. You shouldn’t let a big dog play in the area that holds little dogs. It will intimidate owners that want to bring their small dog to the park. Dogs, 30 pounds or smaller, can play in the small dog run. Any dogs larger should be in the large dog run. But it really depends on the demeanor of the dog and how it reacts to the dogs running around.
What other projects have you worked on?
Two weeks ago, Eisenhower Park opened its first dog park. Ultimately, Valley Stream still needs to be more dog friendly. It’s a matter of getting the village to allow dogs to walk everywhere, like in parks. People just need to make sure their dog doesn’t cause a mess.
What’s your reason for getting so involved in making Nassau County and, specifically, Valley Stream, more dog friendly?
It’s a quality-of-life issue, really. If you keep a dog cooped up, they become more aggressive or just behave poorly and bark, even annoying the neighbors. You have to give your dog exercise regularly. A dog run is perfect for that because they run around for hours and then when they go home they sleep better and behave. That’s why I fight the fight.
Tell me about the dog park that just opened up in Eisenhower Park and what it has to offer.
It’s located at the junction of Salisbury Park Drive and Stewart Avenue, around the back of the golf course at Eisenhower Park. Nobody knew about this section of the park until now. It’s bigger than the one in Valley Stream and is about an acre in size. It has two dog runs; one for larger dogs 25 pounds or more and then one for smaller dogs.
How did Friends of Valley Stream Dogs get its start?
It started in June 2011 when I wrote an op-ed for the Valley Stream Herald, asking for a dog run to be put in the community. There was already a petition going around to get a dog run. There was clearly a need for a dog run within the community. When Mayor Edwin Fare was running for election, I asked him to work on this initiative to install a dog run. After he was elected, I followed up with him a month later and then formed Friends of Valley Stream Dogs. A dog park opened about eight months later on May 6.
And, you’re holding a second grand re-opening of the dog park because the village installed a new and more paw-friendly surface recently. Tell me about it.
We’re having the first annual Howl-O-Ween Party to celebrate the grand re-opening [today] from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the dog park near the Village Green. People can dress up their dogs in Halloween costumes and pay $10 to enter their dog into a contest.