I am one of the people who live in the “beach community” and see violations of the dog ordinance almost every day during the summer.
I have no problem with dogs. I used to raise Dalmatians. I think that dogs are exceptional animals with a very special relationship to humans, but they are still animals and we need to place some restrictions on them. My main problem is not with “unruly dogs,” but with their owners. If the city had the ability to enforce the ordinance, we wouldn’t have the conflict we have today.
Todd Anthes says that “other communities embrace dogs,” but other “beach communities” don’t allow dogs on their beaches. Grand Haven is one of the very few communities in the entire country and internationally that allow dogs on the beach. None of our state parks allow them. Many people in our community and visitors agree that it is ridiculous to allow dogs on our beach.
As long as dogs are allowed on the beach, owners are going to let their dogs run unleashed and fail to clean up after them. Even when owners pick up after their dogs, they still urinate on the sand and small children play in it.
Mayor McCaleb urges us to come up with “creative” solutions. The only solution I see is for law enforcement to walk the beach regularly during peak usages and to respond to complaints sooner. Also, some may not be clear on what is allowed and have told me, “Dogs are allowed south of the Bil-Mar.”
Dogs are great pets in their place, but that place is not on one of our city’s most valuable assets, the City Beach.