Letters: Supervisor clarifies ongoing debate about dogs and beaches

08/02/2012 4:00 AM |


A reasonable balance

Based on correspondence and emails, it’s clear to me there’s confusion regarding dogs on beaches and other public areas.

Let me state for the record that the Southold Town Board at no time proposed banning dogs from our beaches. The discussion the board was having two weeks ago concerned chapter 83 of the Town Code, which does not specifically require dogs be on leashes but merely “under the control of the owner.”

Such language is ambiguous and the board was discussing whether or not there should be a requirement for leashes at certain times in certain instances while on public land. We were shocked when the deputy town clerk informed us that chapter 193 of the code, which was passed in 1981, actually banned dogs from beaches and other recreational areas.

The board, to a member, believed this was not only too restrictive, but has not been enforced, cannot be enforced and should not be enforced. As a result of this finding the board immediately decided to revisit the code to allow for access to beaches and recreational areas for dogs and their owners.

The Town Board has put a small group together to address both the current leash law and access to beaches and recreational areas for dog owners and their pets. I’m quite sure that this group will put forth recommendations that will provide reasonable access to for all pet owners to our beaches and our recreational areas and, at the same time, provide reasonable guidance for when it is appropriate for dogs to be leashed and when it is perfectly acceptable to let dogs run free and enjoy the beaches and parks along with their tax-paying owners.

This group will understand that a reasonable balance can be reached and I’m quite confident that the board will only act when that delicate balance is achieved.

Supervisor Scott Russell


Keep them leashed

I had no intention of getting involved in a war of words over the issue of free-running dogs, but having read letters in your paper advocating a liberal dog policy, I am compelled to respond.

A letter appeared proposing dog use of the beaches before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m., times when the blazing heat of summer makes those the most desirable and beautiful.

Ration our time on our own beach? The writer then drags out the same old canard: “Dogs must be under the owner’s control with leash at the ready.”

Ready for what? Perhaps to use after a chunk of flesh has been exacted. She appreciates that “not all people like dogs, especially wet and sandy dogs, and that many folks are afraid of dogs.” Why do people fear dogs? Not because they are “wet and sandy.”

For heaven’s sake, the entire newspaper article is concerned with a vicious and unprovoked attack. How has a civilized society come to advancing an agenda of convenience and a misguided anthropocentric imperative at the cost of the health, safety and well being of many of its citizens?

A subsequent writer claims that one dog menacing as opposed to many human on human events has been reported. Very few of the dog incidents are reported, and these are unfortunately mostly viewed as nuisances and not as assaults. But I’ve personally endured four serious attacks over the years.

Another letter writer claims “nothing is more fun than watching a dog at the beach.” Parrying off endless advances from unwanted dogs is no fun. And while that writer enjoys dogs running until they drop, imagine the joy of watching them running down endangered piping plovers, which no longer nest at Bailie Beach, the “dog’s beach.”

The compromises proposed in these letters never mention the most viable. Don’t ban the dogs, but ban their bad beach behavior by leashing them at all times.

Dan Catullo


Fix it at the source

To Mr. Roberts and all other responsible dog owners, I applaud them for setting the example by keeping their dogs under voice control and picking up after their potty breaks.

However, it’s my experience that Doug and his friends are the exceptions and not the rule. The majority of dog owners see the responsible owners and think, “Gee, it must be OK to let my dog run free [read: out of control] and if he poops on the beach, well, I didn’t see it or hey, I’ll just bury it or better yet, flip it into the surf, where Mother Nature will take care of it.”

We’re not talking about dog attacks here; we’re talking about the health of our kids and our environment.

The only way we’ll ever eliminate dog feces on the beach and adjacent waters is to eliminate the source: dogs on the beach. Our community has said they agree because we have a law that codifies this position.

It doesn’t matter what season it is; the bacteria in dog poop can contaminate our shellfishing grounds year-round. I live on a creek that was recently seasonally closed to shellfishing due to high bacteria.

Our government agencies are now trying to determine the source(s) of this bacteria and if they’re successful, we may be able to reopen this commercial and recreational resource by addressing the specific source: be it dog, goose or human.

But in the meantime, we must control the sources we are able to because it’s worth it in the long run.

It’s not just about the “freedom to let my dog run.” It’s about the short- and long-term public health impacts of feces.

Hats off to responsible dog owners. I appeal to them, please set the example by obeying the law and showing all dog owners the right thing to do by keeping your dogs off the beach, please.

Jim Baker


Playing with poison

Since our winter was so mild, the bug population is at an all-time high. They’re certainly annoying and the mosquitoes and ticks can cause health issues.

In the July 26 legal notices in The Suffolk Times I read about pesticides being sprayed in Orient to help reduce the bug population from May 1 to Oct. 31, 2012. This caused me great concern and prompted me to conduct research on the list of pesticides being used.

In the event of exposure to Altosid briquets, first aid measures will be required. If you Google Altosid you’d be shocked at the health contraindications as it relates to contamination of the eyes, skin, lungs or ingestion, all of which require a physician’s attention.

Not to mention if an accidental release occurs; as a warning says, “Do not allow spill to enter waterway inhabited by aquatic organisms.”

Scourge is “ecologically … harmful to trout, shrimp and other marine life.” Its label warns, “This product is toxic to fish and birds. Do not apply to lakes, streams or ponds.”

This prompts me to ask the question: If spraying is being conducted, how can the spray be prevented from going into our waterways, not to mention our backyards?

In researching VectoLex G and CG, I looked for the ingredient name, but the safety sheet stated: “Identity withheld as a trade secret.”

What? We’re being sprayed with a “trade secret”? Is the cure for being exposed to such chemicals a “trade secret” too?

Is it any wonder Long Island has a high rate of breast cancer? Do we not have other options in dealing with the use of pesticides?

Why do our children suffer with major health issues more now than ever? Why are our cats and dogs dying of cancer?

Why are we dealing with health issues that, in many cases, are rare with no cure and no understanding of how the disease manifests itself? Could it be as a result of these chemicals?

If we took an alternative approach to keeping the insect population down, especially mosquitoes and ticks, we might still accomplish the goal. Isn’t this worth considering before polluting our environment and causing health issues?

As guardians of this planet, we owe it to ourselves to be observant and vigilant in how we are exposed to chemicals that have an adverse impact on our families, pets and environment. Perhaps reaching out to the EPA and DEC is a good place to start.

Marie Domenici


We’re not leaving

A for sale sign placed adjacent to our farm has resulted in numerous inquires as to whether the Terry farm is for sale or staying in business.

Let me clear the air right now: the Terry farm is not for sale.

Should the plot in question be sold, it will in no way affect the ability of the Terry farm to continue to grow and deliver the fine quality produce that our customers have come to expect from us. We will miss the use of the land that we’ve been farming for years.

We thank you all and look forward to wonderful summer and fall harvests.

Fred and Ethel Terry


That’s the problem

Recent writers have essentially said “government good, business bad!” Those who read Orwell’s “Animal Farm” may be reminded of the slogan, “Four legs good, two legs bad.”

A recent federal estimate said Medicaid and Medicare payment errors hit $36 billion and $48 billion, respectively, in 2011. Government recovered $4.1 billion in health-care fraud.

The government’s solution? Hire a business, HMS Holdings, which also contracts with states (17 for Medicare and 14 for Medicaid). Governments realized they needed help from the “bad sector.”

Locally, Nassau County is near default and it turned to a private company to run its bus system after years of transit deficits. Again, “bad business” is needed to save the bus riders.

American business success is firmly built on competition; the continual effort to sell services and products for less by cutting costs and continual improvement. Is there anyone who can show me an instance of this in government?

What has happened to the U.S. Postal Service since FedEx and UPS began to compete? The postal service has to struggle to avoid bankruptcy and appear competitive. Change is nearly impossible under union and civil service rules.

Government also regulates behavior via policing and rules.

For 10 years Harry Markopolos’ complaints to the SEC that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scam received no action. Now we learn the auditors were on the premises of PFG Inc., a commodity broker, for two years and didn’t realize $200 million of customer funds did not exist.

The missing funds have not been found, nor have charges been filed. No charges have been filed more than four years after the U.S. economic disaster. The statute of limitations expires next year. Is that government protecting the public, or itself and its own?

Now government wants more responsibility, like a teenager demanding keys to the car after frequent tickets and accidents. Should we give up the “keys”?

President Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Gunther Geiss


It would have failed

Here’s a different viewpoint in response to your July 26 editorial, “The World Didn’t End,” about gay marriage.

We say God must have other plans because those critical of gay marriage are still here.

Let’s be honest, if the people of New York State had been allowed to vote on allowing gay marriage to be equal to traditional marriages between one man and one woman, New Yorkers would have followed liberal California in voting it down.

The reason it became law in New York State is money talks, pressure was brought and our representatives voted behind closed doors.

As a Christian and a Catholic and most of all as an American, I feel betrayed.

Now the question becomes what’s next?

Jack McGreevy