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North Hempstead's first dog park opens to 'ruff' reviews

Sarah Rojas, 9, of Mineola, plays with her

Sarah Rojas, 9, of Mineola, plays with her dog Maximus at the opening of the Town of North Hempstead's first dog park at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park, Thursday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

North Hempstead's first dedicated dog park opened at Michael J. Tully Park Thursday with wags, wiggles and woofs approving of the new off-leash amenity.

Dog owners from across Nassau County gathered in New Hyde Park on Thursday to let their furry friends try out the pet playground. As dogs chased each other and fetched tennis balls, dog owners chatted under a shade pavilion. 

"No one has to give the dogs instructions as to what they do," Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth  said. "We cut the ribbon and off they went."

The dog park space is divided into one area for small dogs — weighing less than 31 pounds —  and another for large dogs. Both sides feature an artifical turf surface with a gravel area, water fountains for the dogs, and waste pickup bags. The Shelter Connection, a Port Washington-based volunteer dog adoption organization, donated play equipment for the park.

Town officials in 2016 opened dog runs at Tully, Mary J. Davies and North Hempstead Beach parks — but only for dogs on leashes. In October 2017, town officials announced plans for an off-leash dog park and set aside $250,000 to create it. In February 2018, the town hired Melville-based Nelson & Pope Engineers to design the space.

Bosworth said staff from the town animal shelter, parks department and public works department worked together on planning the park after gathering input from residents with dogs. 

Huntington resident Ginny Munger Kahn took her golden retriever Sophie to the park Thursday.

"She's having a wonderful time playing with the other dogs," Munger Kahn said, adding she typically walks Sophie at Northport Village Park. "The artificial turf is great because it won't turn into dirt or mud later."

Peggy Heijmen of Oyster Bay brought her hound-terrier mix Daisy Mae.

"We're having a nice time talking to other dog owners," she said. "The Town of North Hempstead is just getting so dog-friendly; it's wonderful." 

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