, Newburyport, MA


April 20, 2009

Lift summer ban on dogs on Plum Island beach

To the editor:

Last fall I finally achieved my dream of moving to the South End of Newburyport and getting the puppy I had wanted for years. Fletch and I go everywhere together and each day we go to Plum Island where we meet other dog owners out for a stroll. I look forward to these twice-daily walks as a way to unwind, socialize and exercise my energetic puppy. Lately I have begun to hear what is regarded as the dreaded question on Plum Island. "Where do you take your dog in the summer?" Unfortunately, there is no good answer.

Dogs are not allowed on Plum Island between May and September and there are no designated dog parks where they can be exercised off leash. I can certainly understand that sunbathers don't want to be bothered by dogs when they have braved the crowds, paid for parking and hauled their gear. I also understand the concerns around pet feces being left on the beach. However, I have only seen one owner attempt to leave their dog's "present" behind and another owner promptly told him to pick it up.

So why can't dogs be allowed in designated areas between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.? By 7 p.m., most sunbathers have left for the day and people are simply out to fish or take an evening walk. I say that we try it for the summer. If it doesn't work out, we can always go back to the ban next summer. I hate the thought of not being able to enjoy the Plum Island beaches this summer and having to drive to York Beach where dogs are allowed. There has to be a solution and we just have to work together to find it.

Sally Kemball-Cook


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