Legislation moving through Albany that would allow dogs to have state park beach access
JONES BEACH, N.Y. -- Man's best furry friend at the beach?
Proposed legislation is moving through Albany that would allow dog owners to have state park beach access.
Dog lovers told CBS2 on Monday their petition has legs and lawmakers are listening.
Dogs often converge on a Long Island town trail, but owners wish their paws were in the sand.
"When people ask us, 'Where we can take our dogs to a beach on Long Island?' It's so frustrating to say, well, practically nowhere," said Ginny Munger Kahn, president of Long Island Dog Owners Group.
The state manages 14,000 acres of Long Island parks with shoreline access.
"Our taxes help support these parks that we are banned from, that we are denied complete and total access to," group member Peggy Heijmen said.
So there is a movement to allow pooches to play in the parks and swim in the water.
"Because of the support that we have already been able to gather up in both the Senate and the Assembly, that this is an initiative that will move fairly quickly through the Legislature," Assemblyman Steve Stern said.
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Stern is co-sponsoring the dog access legislation.
"This is not just throwing the gates open to all of our parks and all of our beaches," Stern said.
He says there will be code fines and strict rules. For instance, dogs would be sequestered to a certain section of Jones Beach.
"We are not looking to bring our dogs to Parking Field 4 in the middle of July," Heijmen said.
Currently, dogs are banned from state beaches, boardwalks, playgrounds, golf courses, pools and spray pads.
Dogs are prohibited due to several concerns, including harassing native wildlife, too much barking, uncontrolled dogs, and leaving behind dog waste.
"I really love dogs, but the waste is unhealthy," one beach goer said.
"It's really a people concern, as long they act responsibly," one man said.
"Just proper dog etiquette," another said.
"We were just walking on the beach over there and a dog just went top of him, a really big dog," one woman said of her husband.
Nearly 7,000 have signed the petition urging their lawmakers to support doggie beach access.
"Dogs are now viewed as furry children in our families," Kahn said.
She said dogs deserve rights as a significant member of the family.
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