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Dec 1, 2009 4:39 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Mere mention of beach restrictions on dogs brings public outcry in East Hampton Village

Dec 1, 2009 4:39 PM

The East Hampton Village Board of Trustees have received more than 60 e-mails opposing the possible extension of the hours that dogs would be banned from village beaches and the adoption of a leash law, ideas the Village Board has informally discussed, Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said this week.

But Mr. Cantwell said the discussion, which took place at a work session last month, was just that, and he stressed that the board is far from taking any formal action.

“There has been no specific proposal in writing nor a public hearing scheduled,” he said. “There has been nothing but a discussion.”

The village code now bans dogs from beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer season and requires that pet owners must be in control of their animals at all times, but it does not specifically require that a leash be used. One suggestion made at the November work session was to extend the hours dogs are banned to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and consider specifying the language used in the code regarding leashes.

Mr. Cantwell said the discussion began when the board heard the annual report from the village beach manager, Edward McDonald, who Mr. Cantwell said, reported that there had been fewer complaints about dogs at beaches this summer. The board also heard from Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen who said officers had written 40 tickets for violations involving dogs at the beaches this summer, including tickets to owners whose dogs disturbed piping plover nests.

But Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack said in an interview that Mr. McDonald’s findings were limited to Main Beach, which is highly regulated, and that she had heard complaints about dogs and noticed problems herself at other village beaches, prompting her to raise the idea of tightening current restrictions.

“The feeling is that people are actually leaving Main Beach, where there is staff enforcing those rules, and going to other beaches that don’t have staff,” she said.

Ms. Borsack, who noted that cleaning up after dogs was also an issue at some beaches, said it was a “quality of life” issue to preserve one of the village’s most important attributes.

“I would be thrilled not to have to make any changes at all,” she said. “But it would take the people who want those privileges to take responsibility for themselves.”

Mr. Borsack said all members of the board have received the correspondence from concerned community members and reiterated that no decisions had been made regarding dogs on beaches or beach fires, which was also discussed at the work session.

“I think we have to do something; we just quite haven’t figured out what to do yet,” she said.

Mr. Cantwell said that the topic will be discussed at this Thursday’s work session and that if the board wants to consider any formal proposal it would schedule a public hearing to allow for community input.

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If God had wanted dogs to hang out at the beach, he would have made them seagulls.
By btdt (449), water mill on Dec 2, 09 5:27 PM
Go back to Watermill and leave us few natives alone dude. People just have to be responsible dog owners period, and fine the crap out of those who aren't.
By BlackDog (47), East Hampton on Dec 3, 09 12:15 PM
with a pea bag silly
By asurest (117), easthampton on Dec 5, 09 5:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
oh i mean pee
By asurest (117), easthampton on Dec 5, 09 5:21 PM
1 member liked this comment