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Sep 16, 2009 4:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Bideawee unleashes the hounds

Sep 16, 2009 4:34 PM

Daisey, a Maltese and poodle mix, took off running as soon as the gates opened to Bideawee’s new dog park Tuesday afternoon.

In a matter of seconds, the small, white dog found another small white dog to romp with at the park, which is located on the grounds of the Westhampton shelter on Old Country Road.

“We’re delighted to have come here,” said Marilyn Wood, Daisey’s owner.

Daisey was one of the five dogs that attended the opening ceremony of Bideawee’s dog park, called “Love Unleashed,” on September 15. A few other dogs up for adoption at Bideawee, including two lab mixes, Athena and Artemis, also played in the park during the opening ceremonies.

The fenced-in park located in front of Bideawee’s adoption center is just under an acre and is split into separate sections—one for small dogs and one for big dogs. There are water dishes set up in the parks and a few trees shade some areas.

“It allows access to where dogs can run in an enclosed environment without any danger,” said Dr. Robin Brennen, vice president of program operations and the chairman of veterinary services at Bideawee.

The shelter spent about $40,000 to install the facility.

Dr. Brennen explained that Bideawee was trying to come up with new ways to increase foot traffic at the Westhampton shelter. Board members were also brainstorming on what kind of programs they could offer that would promote the human-animal bond.

The dog park is a perfect solution to both those needs, Dr. Brennen said, noting that there is a huge need for fenced-in dog parks across Long Island.

“It’s perfect for our mission,” said Nancy Taylor, the president of Bideawee. “For more than 100 years, we’ve been committed to providing safe, loving, long-term relationships between pets and people. This is one more opportunity to foster that.”

The park will be open to members only. Bideawee started accepting membership applications on Tuesday, September 15. Members have to pay a $40 annual fee to use the park’s facilities. All applicants have to provide health records of the dogs.

There are 40 names on the waiting list, Dr. Brennen said. Membership will be limited to 800 dogs.

At Tuesday’s opening ceremony, Ms. Taylor thanked the small crowd and Dr. Brennen. “I’m thrilled to have this be a reality,” Ms. Taylor said.

The Reverend Pat Furino, an interfaith minister, blessed the park after Ms. Taylor’s remarks. “This is a place where animals and people can make friends,” she said.

Ms. Taylor, Dr. Brennen, John David, the president of the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce, and Bill Dueker, vice chairman of Bideawee’s board of directors, cut the ribbon after the blessing. The gates were then unlocked and area residents and Bideawee kennel associates unleashed the dogs so they could play.

Robin Lechner, president and founder of Harley’s Paws Park, said it is terrific that Bideawee opened a dog park.

“It’s a great idea. I think we should have more of them,” said Ms. Lechner who was at the opening ceremony with her poodle, Harley. “I think parks help so much with socializing dogs.”

Harley’s Paws Park had advocated the opening of dog parks on Glovers Lane in Westhampton Beach and near the animal shelter on Jackson Avenue in Hampton Bays. Westhampton Beach declined to open a dog park in the village, while the idea for the Hampton Bays park fell by the wayside.

Ms. Lechner founded her organization in 2006, after she took her 3-year-old poodle to a dog park in Florida.

Other dog owners attending Tuesday’s ceremony were excited that the Bideawee park was now open.

“I think it’s great,” said Jim Hahn, whose dog Kobi, a Newfoundland and poodle mix, played with a partially deflated basketball on the large dogs side of the park. “Now we need one on the beach.”

Bideawee officials are now collecting bedding materials for pets during their “Blankets for Bideawee” drive, which ends October 5. The organization is asking for washable and gently used towels, blankets and other soft bedding materials for its adoption centers in Manhattan and Westhampton.

Bideawee is a pet adoption center and animal welfare organization with offices in Westhampton, Wantagh and New York City. The Westhampton venue is about 140 acres and features a pet cemetery, a veterinary clinic and an adoption center.

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I am wondering when Southampton will catch on to this idea and put a dog park on some of the vacant land on the grounds of SYS?!! Please, please, please!!
By wondering (63), Southampton on Sep 17, 09 7:40 AM
East Hampton has a dog park, Southampton needs to catch on.
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Sep 18, 09 2:39 AM
East Hampton's dog park is really a nice thing for responsible dog owners but it does have some issues because it's open to any idiot with a poorly trained or un-neutered dog. So sometimes there are fights or other problems. And then there's the doofus with the Canarie Prensa (a dog the size of a Volkswagen) and the other doofus with the intact male Chow who likes to bite other males, and the other doofus with the two snappy, unpredictable Afghan hounds who don't listen to any commands.
I think ...more
By easthamptoner (34), easy hampton on Sep 18, 09 4:44 PM
Uh, that should say "membership dues"
By easthamptoner (34), easy hampton on Sep 18, 09 4:45 PM