Tina Pignatelli and her dog Huckleberry.
By Stephen J. Kotz
A Bay Point woman whose pet dog was struck and killed by a Sag Harbor Village truck at Havens Beach a few weeks ago has started an online petition drive to have a portion of the park fenced off as a dog park.
“He was a wonderful, wonderful dog,” said Tina Pignatelli of her 6-year-old golden doodle, Huckleberry. “I felt like I could talk to him and he understood exactly what I was saying.”
Ms. Pignatelli said she has already collected about 160 signatures on her iPetition and has an ultimate goal of 500. She hopes to pitch her idea to the Sag Harbor Village Board at its next meeting, on June 10.
“I’m not trying to go against the village,” she said. “I’m just trying to make this a really beautiful place for people and make it safer for dogs.”
The field on the eastern side of the park is an informal gathering place for dog owners and their pets.
Mayor Brian Gilbride said on Wednesday that even though he was sympathetic to Ms. Pignatelli, he would not be inclined to support her idea. “At the end of the day that is not a dog park, nor is it supposed to be,” he said. “It is really supposed to be a picnic park.”
The mayor added that the village has spent a lot of money trying to clean up Havens Beach and pointed out that a person hired by the village to take water samples there recently remarked that there was a significant amount of dog feces on the beach.
Ms. Pignatelli said she thought most dog owners were conscientious about cleaning up after their pets, adding that she thought a formal, fenced-in dog park might result in them becoming even more diligent.
As part of her proposal, Ms. Pignatelli said she had reached out to landscape architects, Jack Delashmet Associates, and they had agreed to design a landscaped area on the south side of the field, leaving ample space for landing Medevac helicopters and a wide enough gate to accommodate cars if the field is needed for parking for events like the fire department’s annual carnival.
“I’m willing to raise the money,” she said. “I’m not asking for village’s money. I just want their permission.
Ms. Pignatelli said on the fateful day, Huckleberry was in a playful mood when she brought him to the beach to exercise him off his leash. When she tried to get him back in the car, he dashed out in front of a village work truck that was leaving the parking area.
She was able to get the injured dog back in her vehicle, but he died as she drove him to Old Towne Animal Hospital in Southampton. “There was nothing that anyone could have done,” she said. “He came to me during a hard time in my life. I miss him every day.”