No bones about it: Readers’ feelings strong on dog-beach issue
Longboat Key News recently asked its readers their opinion on whether to allow dogs on LBK beaches…
Deborah McKinlay: I think dogs should not be allowed on the beach because I believe it is unsanitary. Thank you, from a full-time resident.
Dominic Korbuly: I don’t want dogs on the beach! (Although I love dogs.)
Susan Korbuly: I would rather have a 500-foot dog beach, if at all.
David Decker: My wife and I reside in a condominium that fronts to the beach. We are unalterably opposed to dogs on the beach.
Experience establishes that some dog owners invariably break the rules: one, some will leave their dogs off leash and free to bother people who have no connection to dogs in general or the specific dogs in question; two, no shortage of dog owners who do not bother to pick up the dog feces; and three, no dog owner can clean up the urine left by the dogs on the beach, and the health and sanitation caused from that should not be minimized.
Why should residents who may be aged or who might have young children on the beach be subjected to strange dogs, especially where the dogs’ owners see nothing wrong with allowing free roaming of their pets?
We read often about the need for tourists, and the beach is the major attraction. Whatever the exact percentages might be, there will be many tourists who will not want to be bothered or threatened by dogs. They will not return to Longboat Key.
RL: We are in favor of having a 500-foot dog beach dedicated to someone’s best friend. Policing the entire beach will become impossible. We live on the beach and usually have trespassers…now they will be coming with dogs instead of picnics, shopping bags and surfboards. We are a “pet-friendly” condo and have plenty of experience picking-up for others.
Barb & John Thurston: I have read “Dog beach one paw closer to reality” (Longboat Key News, Nov. 4, 2011). I am a dog lover but I am NOT in favor of them on the beach. Their fecal matter is definitely not healthy for human feet to be walking in, even if it is picked up. The residue left behind even if it is picked up is not far from the same as if it is left there.
If it is approved I will definitely hesitate to let my 3-year-old granddaughter play in the sand on the beach. I would be in favor of a beach area designated for dogs only but definitely not have the run of it all.
Donna Walker: I am writing in opposition to the proposal to allow dogs on our beaches. I have been a resident of Longboat Key for a year and a half. I chose this location because our condominium is on the water, takes great pride in its beach and prohibits pets. There were units available on several floors. I specifically chose a lower floor, for its proximity to the water’s edge. My choice has been richly rewarded with nearly continuous views of wildlife, including many species of shore birds.
The “star” of the show, however, is a resident great blue heron that gracefully patrols our beach on a daily basis looking for fish. This bird shares its beach with human interlopers including many who want to get close for a photograph. The bird does not, apparently, perceive people to be a threat.
Last summer a young couple from another condominium decided to spend the day at the beach — with their little dog, despite the ordinance to the contrary. At first, the dog stayed on their beach blanket. That lasted about five minutes. Then the dog spotted the heron, started barking and gave chase. All the shore birds in its path immediately flew away. Though the heron was much bigger than the dog, it instinctively took flight. Some of the shore birds returned a little later. We didn’t see the heron for days. That’s what one little dog did, in five minutes, on our beach.
I chose a gulf-front unit, and I pay higher property taxes for that privilege. I was willing to pay the extra for a beautiful beach and for the natural sounds of the surf and the birds, not barking dogs — or owners yelling at their dogs to keep them quiet.
I have observed what one small dog can do to my “view” in a very short time. I would like to continue to enjoy the wildlife I currently see before me and not have it disappear due to dogs whose owners have not yet been able to domesticate them fully.
I have owned pets in the past. I have chosen not to own one now. I made an informed choice when I purchased my property. One of the reasons I purchased here was the prohibition of dogs on the beach. Pet owners also made a choice, knowing the existing restrictions. If you permit dogs on our beaches, you are removing some of Longboat Key’s appeal, and deciding in favor of those who apparently don’t care about annoying wildlife or their neighbors. It sounds to me like a case of the tail wagging the, er, dog.
Regina Gurland: Dogs don’t belong on the beach! As a dog owner and dog lover there are many places for them to run. Many mornings when I walk my dog I find dog feces on the sidewalk. Do you think the owners will pick up on the beach if they don’t on the sidewalk? People do not come here because they can walk their dog on the beach!
Kathleen Kenny: NO! And the reasons are clear:
Some dog owners will do the responsible thing and clean up after their dogs; some won’t. The town will have to allot money to make certain the beach is clean; taking on more debt at this time is not wise.
Dog feces spread germs and infections. Who wants to walk barefoot where dog excrement has been? Who wants their children and grandchildren to play in sand that has been contaminated by dogs?
LBK would open itself to lawsuits in the event someone is bitten by a dog.
Leave our special beaches as they are!
Shan Dinapoli: Dear Sirs: Please allow dogs on the beach. There is nothing better to take a walk with your dog and his ball on the beach. It is very good for the soul. Five hundred feet is not longer than a par 5 on a golf course, which is not long enough for a dog to run and have fun. It would also get very crowded with all the dogs. Please allow dogs to go without leash from Monday to Thursday and leashed on Friday through Sunday. Try it for one year. Dog people would appreciate this and always clean up after their dogs. Thank you.
Lucky Boy (aka the Dinapolis’ dog): My name is Lucky Boy. I am a dog. Please allow me to be on the beach. I travel with my owners from Florida to New York and every state allows dogs to run on the beach. The beach should be open from Monday to Thursday for me unleashed and Friday, Saturday and Sunday leashed. My owners are very careful to pick up after me. Please help me enjoy the beach and allow me the freedom to run after my ball and have a doggie good time. Thank you!
Leslie Russell: What do I hear almost every day? “Is there a dog beach around here?”
People aren’t looking to have the entire island beachfront available for their dogs. A little section for them to run around and play in would be nice. Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention so I don’t know when the option of opening up the whole beach to dogs showed up, but that’s totally unnecessary. I wouldn’t take my dog to the beach with people everywhere — it wouldn’t be fun for anyone, especially me. I don’t need that kind of stress, and when I take my dog for a walk I want it to be fun for both of us.
I picture a sectioned off (it’d have to be) part of beach where dogs could run and play, and the owners could throw the ball or stand around and chat like people do at a dog park.
It’s a nice thing to have a dog beach, not a dreadful thing, like people have written in the paper. Longboat Key could sure do a lot more things to warm up and be people-friendly. “We” have the nose-in-the-air reputation that’s so disheartening, and we’ve brought it upon ourselves. People generally like dogs, they make them smile and seeing them run around off leash (God forbid) is a truly joyful thing. Some folks make it sound like it’s going to be some sort of barnyard out there. Our dog beach could look like this: admission restricted to Bichons with rhinestone collars. After all, this IS Longboat Key.
Don & Lois Hike, David Hike M.D.: We adamantly oppose the presence of dogs on Longboat Key’s beaches because of health and environmental concerns (including hookworm and E. coli, among others). If dogs are allowed on the beach, the services of a company such as www.pooprints.com should be retained (and those dog owners who do not pick up their dog’s waste should face steep fines AND a permanent ban of their dogs from the beach after the FIRST violation — no second or third chances).
Colin & Tina Hartley: Keep our beaches clean and safe. No dogs! Anywhere, anytime!
Kate Felicelli: I can’t see any reason to allow dogs on the beach at Longboat. There are ample sidewalks and parks. Whatever the best intentions of owners may be, their pets always seem to leave a little (or big) something behind. There is a fabulous dog beach on Lido Key with showers and all. Take your dogs there. If for some reason, you decide to allow dogs, the only reasonable and manageable solution would be to specify a dedicated area. Any other way will leave a mess on our beaches. Thanks for listening.