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Dog days of summer come early for frustrated pet owners at Bay Park facility

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Oceanside resident Adam Feinberg brings his 50-pound Canaan named Tux to the Bay Park Dog Park almost daily. Though he and dozens of pet owners enjoy the facility, they are also at odds with county officials over a water fountain that has been out of service since February.

“For the life of us, no one can understand it,” Feinberg said. “It shouldn’t be that difficult to repair a water fountain.”

Dogs could drink from the fountain to keep them cool during the summer. The fountain features a drainable bowl, which flushes each time it’s used to avoid the spreadof bacteria and germs from dog to dog. An out-of -order sign has been affixed to the fountain for months.

“Though the sign explained that this is a temporary situation, the fountain remains unusable,” said Tammy Johnson, who frequents the park with her dog, Luke. “Dog owners have contacted the county and even offered to pay for the parts needed to fix the fountain, yet the fountain is still not repaired.”

Feinberg said many pet owners contacted the county 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. Four months later, however, it remains out of service.

In an interview with the Herald, D’Ambrosio expressed concern about the issue and noted that an update on the status of the fountain would follow; however, the inquiry was unanswered as of press time.

Since the fountain broke in February, dog owners have been buying their own water and bringing it to the park, where they fill up a cooking pot that someone brought. The system is problematic, dog owners said, because there is no way to flush bacteria and germs when dozens of dogs drink from the same pot.

According to the All Pets Animal Hospital’s website, leptospirosis, a serious bacterial disease that affects animals and humans, has risen steadily in New York and other places. “Leptospirosis is most often picked up through contaminated urine, including urine in the soil and water,” the site reads. “Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and even kidney and liver damage.” The site also notes that parasites are often spread through contaminated drinking water.

The Bay Park Dog Park has two dog runs, one for larger dogs and another for smaller ones. There is a fountain in the smaller dog park, but owners are not supposed to bring pets that are over 20 pounds there. Instead, the owners have created a “bucket brigade,” for which one person fills up the bowl and brings it to the park. However, concerns about the spread of bacteria inger.

With summer here, owners have expressed concern that without the fountain, dogs might overheat or become dehydrated. “The hotter it gets, the more water the dogs need,” Feinberg said.