Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
How did a good faith effort on the part of a committed group of dog owners to work with the town of West Tisbury to keep Lambert’s Cove Beach clean and safe morph into a proposal for a year-round, townwide leash law? I am a member of that group — the Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach — and I ask myself that question every day.
I also ask myself why dogs are an issue only at Lambert’s Cove Beach and only for the town of West Tisbury. Dogs are allowed on various beaches in Edgartown and Chilmark, even in the summer months before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., yet one never hears about problems of owners not picking up after their dogs. Somehow I doubt all the irresponsible dog owners congregate on Lambert’s Cove Beach!
Perhaps the West Tisbury selectmen should investigate how Edgartown and Chilmark deal with the dog issue and implement a similar plan. Instead, at a special town meeting on June 5, West Tisbury residents will be asked to approve a draconian leash law and an additional $15,000 for another assistant animal control officer to do what the town was supposed to do all along.
Hopefully residents of West Tisbury’s rural community will see how ridiculous and unenforceable it is to restrict Fido’s freedom to run to his owner’s property, even in the dead of winter. Yet that is exactly what will happen unless we vote no on June 5. It’s enough to give a person “paws.”