CHANGES FOR RED BANK’S ‘DOG DAYS OF SUMMER’ EVENTS by Laura Kolnoski

Last month, we reported on Red Bank’s inauguration of a new effort to incorporate pet dogs into outdoor public events in the borough this summer. When Mayor Pasquale “Pat” Menna made the announcement of the borough-sponsored, “Dog Days of Summer” in May, he cautioned some details still needed to be worked out. Changes to the original plan were announced at the June 12 Red Bank Borough Council meeting.

The “experiment” will now commence on July 25 and run through October on the last Tuesday evening of each month. The “Dog Days of Summer” will primarily involve a vendor and information booth-filled promenade along Monmouth Street from Drummond Place to Broad Street.

The biggest change is to the dining aspect. State health regulations, along with insurance and liability issues, are preventing canine companions from “dining” alfresco alongside their owners in front of borough eateries. With help from Red Bank RiverCenter, tables and chairs are being procured and will be set up on Monmouth Street so participants can buy take-out food from local restaurants and eat at designated areas with their pets.

But food is not the focus; pet education and assistance is. In that realm, more has been added. Mayor Menna, who praised the help the borough is getting from the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in organizing this Fido fest, said sponsors, stakeholders, pet wellness booths, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society have all become involved.

“The importance of licensing will be stressed; there will be a station to assist Red Bank residents in licensing their dogs,” Mayor Menna said, adding that Red Bank cannot license dogs from other municipalities. “Treats and supplies are being donated and there will be a first aid station. There will be opportunities for pet adoption at adoption stations. Vaccination appointments can be made. We’ll bring the whole gamut. It’s going to be very cool and will put us on the map.” Participating pets must be on firm, not retractable, leashes with collars and tags bearing proper identification.

For October’s installment on the 31st, the mayor is encouraging participants to dress their dogs in Halloween costumes. The mayor has said that if this series of pet-friendly events proves successful, it could be the start of incorporating pets into more public activities.

More information on the Dog Days of Summer will be available on the borough website, www.redbanknj.org as it becomes available, the mayor said.