Commentary

printed 07/26/2019

The idea of relaxing some of the restrictions on dog-walking on the beach and Boardwalk in the summer seems to be gaining momentum, as pet-friendliness has become another sensible sales tool employed by the lodging industry.

That, by itself, is a good idea, because dog owners in particular feel a pang of guilt whenever they leave their pets at a boarding kennel so they can travel.

The dog, or dogs, as the case may be, don’t realize the owners will return, and so follow their owners’ departure with sad eyes and look of total betrayal. At least, that’s how owners interpret their pets’ expressions.

Consequently, the option of being able to bring pets along on the family vacation makes sense. But allowing them on the beach and Boardwalk? Not so much, at least not without some heavy restrictions.

City Manager Doug Miller is correct when he says most pet owners clean up after their dogs. That is especially true of resident pet owners, who understand both the neighborhood and overall impact on the resort of letting the chips fall where they may, so to speak.

Not to denigrate the hundreds of thousands of visitors for whom we are forever grateful, but a small percentage of them will do all sorts of irresponsible things here that they wouldn’t even think of doing at home.

Ignoring the need to clean up after a pet on the beach or failing to maintain control of that pet during a midday stroll on the Boardwalk amongst other people with dogs and thousands of pedestrians would probably fall into that category.

An argument could be made to allow dogs on the beach in the early morning or night before the cleanup tractors drag the sand, and a sunrise walk on the Boardwalk with one’s faithful canine companion also might be acceptable.

But beyond that, no. Even if it’s just a small percentage of people who fail to act responsibly, a fraction of millions of people is still a pretty big number.

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