The November referendum to ban dog owners and their dogs from Willard Beach for six months a year certainly attests to the power of the written word and alarmist claims about what is happening at our beach.
My observation of the situation since the late 1980s, and the gentrification of the beach, is that there has been a small core group of beachfront property owners and friends who have regularly gone to the City Council asking that dogs be banned from the beach. Early on they were clear that they felt their desires trumped the general public’s use of a city-owned public property because of the high taxes they paid.
For years we’ve read this group’s letters to the editors about frightening beach conditions and dangers. Yet, has the city or Public Health Department ever closed the beach for dog-related health concerns? They do warn us of Red Tide. Has the Police Department ever asked to have the beach closed to dog walkers because of the danger dogs impose?
Who gains what if dog walkers are banned from the beach for the spring, summer and fall?
The current laws are working well. Dog walkers have two hours in the morning and evening to enjoy the beach; people with concerns or fears of dogs have from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., prime daylight hours, to enjoy the beach.
The current law is a win-win for everyone in our community. Why change what works? Please vote no on the dog ban.