To the Editor:
This letter was written in response to a letter, “Don’t let careless dog owners ruin the fun,” by Vivien Stein, published July 29.
As the owner of the dog in question at the encounter you referenced involving your friend and her dog, I’d like to take this opportunity to include some additional facts about that day, especially since you were not present when it occurred. First, let me say that I was very upset by the incident and even more upset when I learned after the fact that the dog had been bitten. It was the first fight my dog has ever been in.
She is a large breed and can therefore seem intimidating, and I completely understand people being afraid of her. I am a caring, responsible dog owner who takes extra precautions to keep her under control. What was not mentioned was that I did have my dog restrained and on a leash. I was well off to the side, yielding to your friend and another woman, when one of their three dogs came over to me and would not retreat.
The dog did not respond to your friend’s repeated attempts at recall. There was little I could do to deflect the continued advances of an unrestrained dog. Generally speaking, I have no problem with people having their dogs off leash once on the beach, and I understand the enjoyment that goes along with that freedom. The simple fact was that your friend could not gain control of her dog when she needed to.
Your letter implied that my dog was somehow responsible for the current situation in which a possible ban on dogs at the beach is being considered. I spoke with the authorities and offered to keep my dog off the beach for the rest of the season in the spirit of cooperation. They assured me that the issues leading to the upcoming meeting include dogs off leash on the trail, dog waste, especially on the trail, and off-leash dogs disrupting picnics and knocking people over. My dog is not responsible for any of these situations.
The community policing everyone agreed to a couple years ago has apparently been falling short. So, please, let’s not put all the blame on one dog for one incident. Instead, let’s work together to try to improve the situation so we can all continue to enjoy the beach.