I was so disappointed that your editorial "Take it slow on dogs on beaches" [March 22] did not strongly advocate for the hundreds of thousands of Long Island dog owners who have waited years for the state to give us an iota of access to lightly used beaches where we could bring our dogs. This isn’t a choice between humans and dogs as you say: "Human visitors . . . must come first." It is a big quality-of-life issue for us humans who enjoy outdoor recreation with our dogs but remain unwelcome at the thousands of acres of state-owned Long Island waterfront. How can the same newspaper that writes about heroic family dogs who save lives by alerting their owners to house fires believe there isn’t a single unused bayside beach where those same families can bring their dogs for a summertime walk or a romp in the surf?
I agree with the editorial’s last line: "Human visitors and natural habitats must come first." Besides the "scooping-the-poop challenge," dogs relieving themselves in or near the water, and habitat issues, safety is another reason to keep dogs out of our parks. As a young deliveryman, I was trapped on a customer’s porch and mauled by a German shepherd. I was hospitalized and have not been comfortable near dogs since. Instead, I choose to recreate in state parks where conspicuous signs state "No Pets Year-Round." On March 16, a 3-year-old in Carteret, New Jersey, was killed in his own yard by two loose pit bulls, and President Joe Biden sent his German shepherd away from the White House after it bit a Secret Service agent. All it takes is one incident.
The response to LI-Dog’s petition to allow dogs access on state beaches — more than 4,700 signatures to date — shows how important this is for many Long Islanders. LI-Dog does not want dogs running free on busy swimming beaches. It wants to open the dialog with the state to explore areas where dogs, shoreline and humans can coexist comfortably, and which I, as a taxpayer have a right to expect. Change, done properly and with respect for one another’s needs, should be embraced and celebrated. LI-Dog is a nonprofit organization that has done much in its 20 years to improve the daily life of Long Island dog owners, including making available many dog parks and on-leash walking areas in public parkland.
Editor’s note: The writer is vice president of LI-Dog.
Dogs on beaches, in restaurants and supermarkets are less of a health issue than poopy diapers in shopping carts and kids peeing in pools. Establish rules and fine violators. To me, well-trained housebroken dogs are cleaner than kids — and better behaved.
As a lifelong Long Island resident who has traveled extensively in and out of the country, I believe that Long Island remains one of the unfriendliest places for dogs. Some dog owners are irresponsible, but so are some parents. Politicians should work with LI-Dog to give dog owners and dogs access to our wonderful shoreline.
I was confused by the statement in "Let pooches roam beaches, petitioners urge" [News, March 17] that the group LI-Dog is petitioning the state for more sites for "on-leash" dogs, yet the group’s president claims that "we love to fetch with dogs who are playing in the water." Does this mean that the dogs will be leashed until no authorities are looking, then can run free off-leash? Many of these "responsible" dog owners tend to do this, to the lament of us who are walking the beaches and become harassed by loose dogs. I, too, would like to enjoy my park experience, without being concerned with loose dogs playing around my family. I suggest we keep the current rules for the protection of all of us.
Going smart rather than slow on dogs on our beaches is what’s needed. In the past 15 years, well-informed advocates have worked with local officials, who successfully took action to open runs, parks and beaches to dogs. And the concerns of those without dogs have been well respected. Incidents are few — fewer than with teens or drinkers.
I support others’ rights to recreational activities that I don’t enjoy. I’d like the same in return so I can enjoy designated beaches with my dog. People with dogs should be given access to suitable areas away from the crowds.
I was surprised by some statements in the editorial and its minimal support of the LI-Dog petition. Dogs wouldn’t be a threat to wildlife because they would be leashed. Besides, I view humans as a bigger threat to wildlife than dogs by their feeding deer and waterfowl and letting their children chase wildlife. Have you seen how humans have been treating our beaches? I’d rather see dogs than humans on beaches.