Open Letter to Swansea: Dogs Should Be Allowed on the Beach
To whom this may concern:
As a new dog-owner to the area, I believe that the "No-Dogs Allowed" on the beach policy should be altered if not changed completely.
My girlfriend and I recently moved to Ocean Grove here in Swansea back in September and fell in love with the area. We decided that our next move would be to grow our family by one with the addition of a dog.
We have a decent sized backyard and immediately had a fence installed to allow our dog to roam freely on our property without a leash. Once outside the fence, however, we make sure that he, "Jameson" (our dog), is leashed at all times with a comfortable and very durable harness walker.
He has a lot of energy and loves to be outdoors, but most importantly, he loves the water. Living somewhat close to the public beach, we were psyched to be bring him and let him walk along the shoreline with us. However, this is not possible since the town beach signs clearly say:
"NO ANIMALS ALLOWED"
Quite frankly, it's a bit disappointing.
We are very responsible dog-owners who abide by the leash-law, pick up after our dog and respect others and their pets in and around public surroundings. That being said, I took to a local Swansea Facebook page for some feedback (whether it's in favor or against it) on the subject matter of allowing dogs on the beach.
Mixed reviews compiled my poll, and out of a combined total of more than 500 Swansea residents, the people casted the following votes:
- 314 said- "Yes, as long as all owners must be responsible for their dogs behavior and pick up after them."
- 114 said- "No, not everyone is going to abide by the rules, so keep the dogs off the sand."
- 60 said- "Special hours. So that those who want to avoid dogs can."
- 19 said- "A town Dog Park would be more appropriate, and safer for all"
- 13 said- "Some PEOPLE shouldn't be allowed on the beach!"
- 6 said- "Add 1/2 of the beach no dogs on the other only people"
- 4 said- "I don't mind dogs but I don't want to step in a pile of (pet waste) in the sand and I don't want my children to either."
- 2 said- "No opinion, don't care either way"
Simple math points to the interest of dogs being allowed on the beach and I have to say that I am one of those people. Perhaps we can come to some sort of agreement as to where or possibly when to allow dogs on the beach. Early morning or late evening for a dedicated timeframe or maybe even a portion of the beach to separate beachcombers from our pet animals.
I am however aware that there is a law in place by the Marine Fisheries to protect the on and offshore shellfish eco-system, but if we cleaned up accordingly and properly, there shouldn't be any issues with environmental pollution. There are dozens of stray cats in Ocean Grove that most likely use the beach as their personal giant litter box, yet nobody is complaining about or even taking that into strategic solution. Wildlife combs the area, making the beach their breeding grounds and bathroom, yet if it's a leashed dog that is trained or under control who even steps foot on the sand it's a crime and/or frowned upon.
It's true, there are people out there who are clearly ruining this experience for the rest of us who take good care of our pets, both hygienically and behaviorally. It's a simple case of unfairness that will not stand up to any courtroom argument. However, instead of just stating "it is what it is", I'm hoping to be a bit more proactive by defending my case that I'm positive hits home for many here in Swansea.
Not all dogs are bad dogs, please consider a change, or perhaps just listen to what some of us dog-owners have to say. It's a start in the right direction, it sure doesn't hurt to try.
Thank you for your time.
-Gazelle (A Swansea Resident)