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Leash law back in spotlight at Southold Town Board meeting

Residents speaking at Tuesday’s Southold Town Board meeting expressed concern about laws related to dogs on beaches, reviving a topic that dominated town meetings in 2013.

Dogs are currently permitted on beaches but must be leashed between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 1 through Oct. 1. There is no leash requirement before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Also, leashes are not required at any time from Oct. 2 through April 30. Dogs are also prohibited on certain beaches while a lifeguard is on duty.

The Town Board passed the leash law in 2013, more than a year after it was first proposed. A series of public hearings led up to the vote.

Residents who spoke last week were concerned that if dogs are prohibited at certain beaches, owners will instead take them to beaches that are not as heavily monitored  or restricted.

“I like seeing the dogs on the beach,” said Robert Dunn of Peconic. “I like seeing them running free, but I think there is a time and place for it all. And maybe that time is not in the daytime and maybe that place is not in the summer. They need to be on a leash at all times. It needs to be enforced.”

Supervisor Scott Russell addressed the issue by saying he has been guilty of trivializing it in the past because it had gone on for so long.

“I’m as guilty as anybody for trivializing the issue over the past few years,” he said. “I’m guilty because it was a rather comical issue. It became so large.”

Most residents who spoke at the meeting did not object to dogs on town beaches as long as they were leashed at all times.

“I don’t mind dogs being leashed,” said Sharlene Catullo of Mattituck. “You never know how a dog is going to react. Is there something magical about a time period that happens to a dog that they don’t have to be on a leash after 5?”

Beach Parking

The Town Board said it would hold a public hearing on a local law to consider amending beach parking.

The amended law would make resident parking permits valid for two years instead of one. The public hearing will be held Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

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