A recent meeting of local residents, hosted by the city, allowed people to share ideas about how dogs on the beach, and if they should be allowed on the beach or not.
With so many ideas shared, it was good to see the community work together toward a common goal instead of having issues come before City Council, where it tends to be a bit more formal.
One thing that was nice about this community meeting was that it brought many different ideas to the table, all with a goal of how people and man’s best friend could coexist on the beach during the summer.
One idea we’re particularly fond of is a special permit process and a designated “dog beach” area farther from the more populated areas. This area would be exclusively for the use of people who want to play with their dogs off leash.
This type of system works elsewhere, with Chicago being one example city. There, dog owners have been mandated to have permits for all off-leash dogs that use dog-friendly areas. Regulations are enforced by deputies from the Department of Animal and Rabies Control, and anyone who uses an area without a permit faces a $500 fine.
Perhaps something similar could be created here. Maybe local veterinarians could issue permits, or voluntarily staff a kiosk at the City Beach restrooms and concession stand to distribute dog beach permits.
We know this area is full of creative people, as was evident by the community dog beach meeting, so we’re sure a group could brainstorm a local solution modeled after Chicago’s ordinance.
It was good to see City Council take note of the community’s concerns and not ban dogs completely from the beach. Now, let’s see if the community can work together to come up with a compromise to allow dogs to roam free in certain areas.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.