Local dogs — and dog owners — will soon have their day, legally, on Southold Town beaches.
Months after a Mattituck resident complained to the Southold Town Board that he was attacked by two dogs running loose on Bailie Beach in Mattituck this past summer and requested that the board create a town-wide rule that all dogs must be kept on leashes at beaches, board members will present an updated version of an antiquated town law regarding the issue for public hearing later this month.
The board voted during a meeting Wednesday night to set the public hearing for Jan. 15 on amendments to Chapter 193 of town code, which Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said last summer was written in 1981 and did not allow dogs on beaches or any recreational area at all.
“But I think this is too restrictive and we need to balance this out to accommodate all sides,” he said at the time.
The proposed local law reads as follows:
A Local Law entitled, “A Local Law in relation to Amendments to Chapter 193, Parks and Recreation Areas, in connection with Dogs or Domestic Animals on Town Recreational Areas”.
BE IT ENACTED by the Town Board of the Town of Southold as follows:
The purpose of these Amendments is to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of residents using Town recreational areas by enacting regulations pertaining to dogs and other domestic animals on Town-owned recreational areas, bathing beaches, children’s play areas, picnic areas and athletic fields.
II. Chapter 193 of the Code of the Town of Southold is hereby amended as follows:
§193-3.1. Regulations concerning dogs or domestic animals.
A. Prohibition. No person shall bring a dog or other domestic animal onto:
1. recreation areas, picnic areas, children’s play areas and/or athletic fields that are posted with signage indicating “No Dogs or Domestic Animals Allowed” or “Dogs or Domestic Animals Prohibited”;
2. bathing beaches during such times that a lifeguard is on duty;
3. an area that is within 50 feet of any recreation area that is posted for protection of piping plovers and other endangered species.
B. Dogs or other domestic animals are permitted on all other recreational areas unless specifically prohibited in §193-3.1(A), subject to the following:
1. All dogs or domestic animals shall be under immediate supervision and control of the owner or other responsible person (the owner or responsible person has the ability to leash the dog or other animal immediately).
2. All dogs or domestic animals brought onto children’s play areas, picnic areas or athletic fields shall be leashed at all times.
C. All dog or domestic animal waste shall be removed in accordance with §83-18(B).
D. The Superintendent may, in his or her discretion, promulgate additional rules and regulations as necessary.
Peconic resident Robert Dunn was only speaker at Wednesday night’s meeting on the issue and suggested that the board hold off on a public hearing until more part-time summer residents could weigh in at Town Hall.
“Mr. Dunn’s point is well-taken, but we can hold the hearing open and hold a second round,” said Councilman William Ruland. “But we want the culmination of feedback by the early spring before the next sunbathing season.”
What do you think of the proposed law regarding dogs and beaches in Southold Town? Let us know in the comments.