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Dog Shelter Advocate Expands Fund Raising to Dog Park

Denise Lucas, who is raising funds to "Move the Animal Shelter," is hoping to help pay for a new dog park in Calverton.

Though she won't be bringing her own dogs over there, Denise Lucas - who - has extended her efforts to using private funds to create a dog park for Riverhead residents.

Since she started her efforts last fall, Lucas said she has raised close to $24,000. Still well short of her $200,000 goal, but she's hoping a big push in April - highlighted by "Hogs and Hot Rods" fundraiser at Calverton Links - will help her get a lot closer to hear goal.

Councilman Jim Wooten has been working with Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne as of late to set up roughly an acre-sized dog park in Calverton, in the same area as new baseball fields the town is working toward opening by Memorial Day.

Fencing and materials to set up the park are expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000, Wooten said.

Lucas, who said she has a large fenced-in yard, understands not everyone has the same comfort she and her three dogs do.

"I feel bad for people who don't have a nice, big fenced in yard," she said. "It will be nice for the community and nice for the dogs."

Since making a trip to the Youngs Avenue animal shelter last Labor Day weekend, Lucas has set up several fundraisers to help the shelter dogs. One, which was postponed due to snowfall in January and is sold out, is being held this weekend at the Riverhead Elks Lodge.

Lucas said 50/50 raffles at fundraisers moving forward will benefit the dog park, with friends of hers matching the proceeds from the raffle.

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