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Long IslandTowns

Town: No dog run for New Hyde Park's Tully Park

Twinkie, a beagle mix, relaxes in the shade

Twinkie, a beagle mix, relaxes in the shade outside Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park with his owner. (Aug. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Plans to create a dog run at North Hempstead Town's Tully Park have been scuttled by a consultant's input that the land available was inadequate for the facility.

Upstate Brewster-based consultant Marilynn Glasser said she told the town that the space in Tully, which is located in New Hyde Park, is unsuitable for a dog run because of its limited size and proximity to the park's ballfields.

Town officials said other sites now are being considered, including North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington.

The dog run, said town spokesman Ryan Mulholland, is "not likely to be at Tully Park."

The news was greeted with dismay by New Hyde Park dog owners who were looking forward to having a local dog run.

"It was very, very disappointing," said Diane Rubin, of New Hyde Park, who added she was "so ecstatic" when she learned of the plan presented by Supervisor Jon Kaiman in March 2012.

Dog owners such as Rubin say a run would allow for socialization for the dogs and an alternative to walks through neighborhood streets that often are littered with glass shards.

And, they point out, New Hyde Park is home to one of the town's largest concentrations of dog owners. More than 13 percent of the town's licensed dog owners -- 642 in all -- reside in New Hyde Park, according to the town clerk's office. Only Port Washington has more, with 865, making up nearly 18 percent of licenses.

"We're always walking around the park," said Mark Klein, a New Hyde Park dog owner who has advocated for a run at Tully. "There's no place for the dogs to run around."

Nearby, Nassau County has dog runs at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, and Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

Glasser, president of Parks and Pastimes Inc., said she will meet again with the town to analyze other locations. In April, the town board authorized a contract for Glasser, which spells out a fee schedule not to exceed $1,000.

According to the March 2012 resolution authorizing the dog run, nonprofit The Shelter Connection donated $5,258 for two dog runs -- one at the town animal shelter in Port Washington and one in Tully Park.

Some state and town parks, including those in North Hempstead, ban dogs with some exceptions for service dogs for the disabled, officials said. Others have areas where leashed dogs are permitted, but residents say finding such a park -- especially one nearby -- can be frustrating.

Glasser said she toured Tully Park about a year ago, which led to her recommendation that Tully did not have locations large enough to accommodate a dog run.

"You need an absolute minimum of one acre," she said.

"Having a dog park developed in an area close to other park venues -- a playground nearby, a Little League field, becomes inappropriate," she said. "People can be tempted to decide, 'I can just leave the dog in the dog park while I watch the child when he's up to bat.' "

Klein said that prospect was unlikely, adding he is wary that the town will find a large space.

"One acre of land is good for rural areas, but where are you going to get an acre of land in Nassau County?" he said.

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