News Flash

LD 12 - Legislator Leslie Kennedy

Posted on: August 19, 2021

Passing of the Leash

passing of the leash

August 19, 2021 – On Wednesday evening, August 18th, 2021 Legislator Leslie Kennedy and Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy recognized Paws of War and helped celebrate the Passing of the Leash event.

Veteran Michele O’Brien of Hauppauge spent ten years serving in the United States Coast Guard, she was passed the leash of her service dog Ruby in March of 2020, two days before the pandemic shut everything down. Last evenings’ event showcased how Ruby has come to aid in Michele’s day-to-day life, while they got to know each other during the past year and a half.

Since leaving the Coast Guard, Michele received her BA and two MS’s from Long Island University. Currently, Michele is part of the SCO board for the Veteran Education for the New York area, giving her the opportunity to assist veterans and their dependents on furthering their education.

Legislator Leslie Kennedy and Comptroller John Kennedy with Veteran Michele O’Brien and husband

Paws of War provided Ruby, and thanks to Suffolk County Veteran’s Marathon Grant this occasion was celebrated.  Paws of War trains and places shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to U.S. Military Veterans suffering from the emotional effects of war, each Veteran experiences unconditional love and therapeutic benefits that only a companion animal can bring. Since 2014 over 100 service dogs have been placed and trained, with another 100 dogs in the que, at no cost to a Veteran.

It was with great pride that Legislator Kennedy celebrated with Michele and Paws of War the “Passing of the Leash”, citing the great benefit the service animals give back to our nations’ heros.

Congratulations Michele and Ruby and best of luck in your future endeavors. Thank you for your service! 

For more information about this event or other events in the community, please call our office at (631)-854-3735 or log onto Legislator Kennedy’s Facebook page at


Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy represents the 12th Legislative District, encompassing Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove, parts of Commack, Ronkonkoma, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. Legislator Kennedy was born and raised on Long Island, is a former nurse and small business manager, and has dedicated her life towards the betterment of our community. She currently serves on the following Committees: Environment, Parks, & Agriculture; Veterans & Consumer Affairs; Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Services & Preparedness; Government Operations, Personnel, Information Technology & Diversity; Education & Labor; Public Safety; Ways & Means; and Health (Vice Chair).

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