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No dogs allowed?

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Grand Haven City Council is considering a total ban of dogs at City Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“You’re (currently) allowed to have a (leashed) dog on the beach with a waste bag with you, (and that) has translated to Grand Haven has a ‘dog beach,’” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

McGinnis said when people Google search “Grand Haven dog beach,” information comes up about the city’s beach being a designated “dog beach” — something it’s not.

“When our public safety officers approach a friendly tourist (with a dog at City Beach) who’s come to vacation … in Grand Haven, it’s not the easiest confrontation,” he said. “We don’t want to write tickets, because it is an easy misunderstanding.”

McGinnis said the city’s Parks and Recreation Board heard the request of a resident in the nearby Highland Park neighborhood that had the idea that prohibiting dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day would solve the problems at City Beach. They claimed the actions of some dog owners have created issues for nearby residents and beachgoers. These problems include dogs that are unleashed and owners who don’t clean up animal waste.

Outside of the proposed summer-long restrictions, dogs on a leash would be allowed in accordance with the existing ordinance. The city ordinance states that no one is to have an animal in any park, beach or public place at any time where it’s is posted as an “animal-free zone.”

“The people down there who use the southern end of the beach, they have a legitimate complaint,” City Councilman Bob Monetza said. “I think it is really unfortunate because the ability to have your dog on a leash at the beach and clean up after it is a real privilege.”

Monetza noted that relatively few people ruined it for everyone else.

“We went into this with the best of intentions, but it has been abused,” he said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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