Pick up after your dog, Tisbury selectmen stress

Posted rules and regulations at the dog park spell out what is allowed. – Photo by Sam Moore

Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel walks his dog in the John G. Rogers Memorial Dog Park, and he’s not pleased with what he’s been finding. At a meeting of the Tisbury selectmen Tuesday night, Mr. Israel stressed that users of the park and other community areas need to start following the rules.

“We have some regulations there, and there are some things that I have been kind of appalled at,” he said. After several attempts to politely skirt the issue, Mr. Israel finally settled on the problem: Some people aren’t picking up their dogs’ poop.

He pointed out that there’s a post with bags at the entrance of the park, and a garbage can at the exit, so that owners can easily clean up after their dogs.

“I am seeing poop right on the dog park trails,” he said. “It just seems, to me, laziness. I don’t know why people can’t take the time when the bags are right there.”

He said the problem is a health issue, especially for those walking multiple dogs. He cited a rule stipulating that visitors have no more than three dogs at the park at one time.

“If you have more than three large dogs, I’m really concerned when they go into the dog park about how waste material is handled…. There’s a health issue with that, not only for people, but with spreading diseases for other dogs,” he said.

Other concerns Mr. Israel brought up include cigarette butt disposal, garbage litter, and the use of motorized vehicle on the trails, such as dirt bikes and four-wheelers. “At high speeds, I’m worried about small dogs getting hit, but it’s also digging up the trails,” he said.

Selectman Melinda Loberg agreed, and said the issue goes beyond the dog park perimeters.

“It’s an education process and an encouragement process, so I hope everybody that hears this and has dogs tries to take responsibility for them,” she said, adding that the community members set the precedent for seasonal visitors.

“It’s really the face of our community, and right now we’re not doing a very good job,” she said.

Mr. Israel said he will ask the police, animal control officer Laurie Clements, and “everybody in the community” to be more vigilant and respect the park.

In other business, Mr. Israel stressed that the town had no role in Tisbury harbormaster Jay Wilbur’s request to Congressman Bill Keating (Feb. 25, “Tisbury harbormaster would give family name to channel”) to name the channel under the Lagoon Pond bridge after his family.

“At the Lagoon Pond Bridge Committee, a letter was brought to the committee asking about naming the channel under the bridge ‘Wilbur channel,’” Mr. Israel said. “The Lagoon Pond Bridge Committee said they could not do that, it wasn’t good form, and if the individual brought that request and wanted to pursue that on his own, as an individual, we saw no problems in that.”

They were also unaware of Mr. Wilbur’s use of town letterhead to make the request, he said. “This was a surprise to the board of selectmen, a surprise to this office,” Mr. Israel said, adding that they were “somewhat chagrined” by the action.

“The personnel aspect of that issue will be pursued by the town,” he said. “I just want to say again that this board had nothing to do with requests for naming any channels in town.”

Melinda Loberg made a request to establish a town parking committee, after fielding a number of complaints about parking, she said.

“I felt that it had been quite a long time since we took a look at parking in the town as a whole,” she said. Ms. Loberg was charged with coordinating the efforts to recruit members to the board, and create a mission statement and timeframe. “We need to come up with a strategy or a plan or advice on any adjustments that we can make,” she said.

Town administrator Jay Grande announced the hiring of former Morgan Woods property manager Jessica Burgoyne as the next executive assistant to the town administrator. Ms. Burgoyne will replace Aase Jones, who retired in January.

The selectmen’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15.