Local residents had just enough bark to push for change at the Bay Park Dog Park.
Just in time for the long, hot dog days of summer, a broken fountain at the facility has been replaced after pet owners vocally expressed their frustration to county officials to repair it. The fountain had been broken since February, but was finally fixed last week.
“The water fountain has been ordered and will be replaced,” said Eileen Krieb, the commissioner for the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Museums in an emailed statement to the Herald.
After the Herald published a story about the issue in the July 5—11 edition, Jesse Heimowitz sent a photo of the fixed fountain via email. Heimowitz said it was a frustrating process, but added that he was happy to have the fountain back.
“All dog owners using the park are relieved and thankful to have a functioning water source back,” he said, “and we all look forward to more cooperatively working with the Parks Department in the future to expeditiously resolve such issues.”
The fountain, which features a drainable bowl that flushes each time it’s used to avoid the spread of bacteria and germs from dog to dog, suddnenly stopped working in the winter. An “out of order” sign was affixed to it for four months as dog owners continued to request for county officials to replace a broken part.
“This fountain is now working,” a new sign at the facility reads. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Pet owners began contacting county officials about the issue in February, but did not hear back. In March, they began speaking with county representatives weekly, and in April, Parks Supervisor Michael D’Ambrosio told the dog owners that a work order had been sent to county employed plumbers based out of Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, to replace the broken part. The issue affected dog owners and their pets into the hot days of July.
Reached by phone earlier this month, D’Ambrosio said he was concerned about the issue, but had to wait for the part to be delivered.
Before the problem was fixed, dog owners had been buying their own water and bringing it to the park, where they filled up a cooking pot that someone brought. The system was problematic, dog owners said, because there is no way to flush bacteria and germs when dozens of dogs drink from the same pot. Tammy Sherman said she attends the dog park almost daily and was glad to see action was taken.
“My dog Luke and I were at the park yesterday,” she said on Monday. “It was a hot day for us humans, even hotter for the dogs running around the park. I felt grateful to have the cool running water available for our furry friends as they drank lots of it and ran their paws in the water bowls to cool themselves off.”