MANASQUAN — Borough residents voiced their opinions on the possible extension of the months dogs would be allowed on Manasquan beaches on Tuesday night.
The borough council held a workshop discussion on the issue after resident Stephanie Crawford presented the council with a petition of over 500 signatures in favor of extending the months that dogs are allowed on the beach from Oct. 1 to April 30 at its last meeting on Aug. 21.
Currently, dogs are allowed on the beach from Nov. 1 to March 30.
“[The petition] was presented to the beach committee for review, and I think they’ve had enough time to review it,” said Mayor Edward Donovan at the start of the meeting. “We’ve also got a number of emails about the proposition.”
According to Councilman Jeff Lee, beach committee chair, the committee wanted to address some of the challenges that have persisted over the years, such as not keeping dogs leashed, not picking up after dogs and confusing signage.
Mr. Lee presented the beach committee’s recommendations to the public and the council before the public hearing.
According to Mr. Lee, due to the start of the beach cleanup season at the end of April, if the borough were to extend dog-permissible months, the beach committee would recommend that it be capped at April 15.
Mr. Lee also said that the Manasquan Boardriders Club offered to fund the installation of “mutt mitt” stations to allow for easier cleanup of dog waste.
The beach committee also recommended to simplify the signage at the beach, along with finding money in the budget to educate the public on the borough ordinances.
“We’re looking at an approach to ‘keep it simple stupid’,” said Mr. Lee. “Just be plain as day and say ‘dogs [must be] on leash, pick up your dog waste.’ Really, really make it very simple to encourage compliance.”
Many of those who voiced their opposition to the extension offered non-compliance of dog owners as the main reason they were against allowing more time for dogs on the beach.
McClean Avenue resident Robin Cefalo said she was tackled by an off-leash dog last year and ended up with a fractured rib.
“Nothing is enforced at this state,” said Ms. Cefalo. “I really have a problem with it only because we are not enforcing what’s going on now.”
Borough resident Tom Sims agreed with both Ms. Cefalo and Mr. Carey that dog owners need to comply with the law, however, he supported the extension.
Mr. Sims then suggested that the borough consider partitioning the beach north of Riddle Way “for people only, free of all dogs. And South of Riddle Way for people and dogs, so rather than all or nothing you set aside an area where there are no dogs.
Mary Ryan, president of the Manasquan Beach Improvement Association, built off of Mr. Sims suggestion.
“I have a couple of issues with the idea of extending the time with the dogs on the beach,” said Ms. Ryan. “There are four months of the year where people get to be on the beach without dogs. There are eight months of the year that the dogs get on the beach, supposedly on their leash and not making a mess. I think it’s really unfair to ask people who like to go to the beach and not be accosted by animals, or just to not even be in the company of animals to have to give up two more of those months in order for dog owners to be able to take their dogs there.”
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