Unleashed

Managing dogs on the beach helps protect seal pups and snowy plovers

| March 07, 2013

Trinidad Beach. Low tide. A pair of marine biology students measure tide pool lengths and depths. A couple wanders behind a haystack rock for a romantic moment. Children check out sea urchins and starfish, firmly attached to damp rocks.

Sudden chaos. Two dogs race at each other from opposite ends of the beach. Barking wildly. Fixated on an encounter, brief, with each other. Then galloping together to the foamy shoreline.

Within seconds, I see a marine mammal in one dog's mouth. Possibly a fur seal pup, dark and slender. Small or at least much smaller than either dog.

The dog's teeth sink into its neck. Whipping the animal back and forth. Thrashing it for the kill.

Owners scream at their dogs. Rushing to the waterline. The dog drops the seal. It swims away or it washes out on a wave.

The owner of one dog, a young woman, disappears quickly toward the parking lot, towing her dog, now on a leash. The other owner, a 20-something male, remains on the beach, pointing to the seal's head bumping up as a low wave crests.

"He's OK," the man says of the seal. "He's swimming away."

The dog owner dismisses a suggestion to call a rescue group.

"No, I don't think he's hurt," the man says. "Look, see, there he is."

A dark bump drifts away toward Trinidad Head.

The man doesn't put his dog back on a leash. "I don't know what happened. He's never like this. He always listens."

 

Fido's a killer?

The scene I witnessed at Trinidad State Beach late last year is what Dennis Wood, founder of the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, calls a "worst-case scenario," a tragic encounter between a marine mammal and unleashed dogs that aren't, for one reason or another, responsive to an owner's commands.

Many owners may think they have voice control over an unleashed dog -- but they don't.

"If you have an animal with any kind of prey drive," he says, "and they see something, you might not be able to stop your dog from chasing down another animal."

Unleashed dogs on the beach can be a real problem, says Lynda Stockton, a marine mammal stranding coordinator for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Stockton, also a dog owner, answers calls to the center's hotline.

She can list five or six such incidents from last year, including two seal pups who died from dog attacks. She recalls one month in which three separate dog bite incidents occurred on the slender stretch of beach below Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse.

"That's one of the smallest beaches here, and yet it was bad," she says. "We don't know if it's the same dog or what."

Initially, when rescuers reach a mauled seal, bite punctures might be hard to see, hidden under the seal's fur. "Once we get them in the hospital, we see the damage."

Bleeding wounds. Broken flippers.

A Pacific harbor seal pup was rescued from Indian Beach in Trinidad after a dog attack on May 8. The 18-pound pup, later named Bongela, had severe lacerations on his face and puncture wounds on his flippers. He was rehabilitated at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center and was released on July 24 at a healthy weight of 51 pounds.

Another harbor seal pup, Ollie, was rescued on June 5 at the same beach. Ollie had puncture wounds on both of her rear flippers, as well as her right front flipper. X-rays revealed that Ollie's back flippers were also broken. The center's former director, Robyn Walker, says the wounds were most likely caused by a dog attack. Ollie survived and was released in September.

Yet another harbor seal pup, Mary, was rescued from Samoa in April. Mary had puncture wounds on her sides and her back flippers. The Marine Mammal Center volunteers weren't able to save her.

This handful of anecdotes clearly understates the problem. By far, most encounters between dogs and seals are unreported, including the attack I witnessed.

Of course, dogs aren't the only danger facing seals on the beach. Well-meaning human intervention is a problem. Boats collide with seals. Seals get entangled in bits of rope or fishing line. Sharks are a natural predator, dining on seals for lunch.

But it's particularly heartbreaking, Stockton says, to see damage done by a household pet when the injury could have been avoided so easily.

"If my dog ever did that, I don't know what I'd do," Stockton says.

 

Living outside the food chain

"Many people believe that cats and dogs should be allowed to roam free. People introduced domesticated cats and dogs to this country, and however much we may appreciate them as part of our lives, those animals are not native wildlife or part of a naturally functioning ecosystem."

-- from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife report, "Cats and Dogs and Birds on the Beach - A Deadly Combination"

Dogs have the instincts of hunters. But their meals are pink slime in gravy doled out from tin cans or salmon-flavored kibble purchased in 40-pound bags at the local pet store. Domestic dogs were once working animals, herding sheep or guarding farms. Nowadays most dogs, for all the mental health benefits they bring to the human species, are pets that live outside a natural food chain.

Wood, who is a veterinarian as well as founder of the marine mammal center, enjoys walking his dogs on the beach. He keeps them on leashes.

"You can get those long retractable leashes, 30 to 40 feet, and they can run and play," Wood says. "The fact that my dog wants to get off its leash and play is a poor excuse."

Most Humboldt dog owners are responsible human beings with friendly, well-trained canines. They buy local, organic produce, bring it home in reusable shopping bags, drive hybrid cars and recycle. Good human beings, all, who don't need another environmental cause about which to feel guilty.

That said, dogs, especially unleashed ones, endanger wild creatures, including harbor seal pups and snowy plovers.

Leash laws at beaches in Humboldt County vary widely, depending on who's in control of the beach, says Andre Hale, Humboldt County animal control officer. Some beaches are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency, or are state parks. Clam Beach is a county park -- and the leash laws there vary not only on where you're walking but also on the time of year.

Leash laws at Clam Beach, for example, are tighter and more strictly enforced during snowy plover nesting season, March through September.

"Clam Beach is a location where snowy plovers nest," Hale says. "So there are restrictions based on the birds' nesting habits."

Dogs are one of several dangers to the Pacific Coast western snowy plover, a ground-nesting shorebird listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. In the past several months, plans have been hatching to minimize damage to plover populations from crows and ravens, birds in the corvid family, who consider shorebird eggs a tasty treat.

Human activity -- especially the proliferation of litter that attracts the corvids -- puts snowy plovers at risk. Also, plovers are difficult to see on beaches. Humans might get too near a nest without even knowing it.

Dogs, however, have no problem finding birds' nests.

"Many dogs are naturally inclined to hunt birds after generations of breeding for that purpose," states a U.S. Fish and Wildlife report. "Unleashed dogs chase birds, destroy nests and kill chicks."

Damage can occur fast, sometimes without the owners' knowledge.

"Please be considerate," warns Daria "Sprout" Topousis on the Humboldt Dogs website. Topousis' site lists the dog-friendly beaches in the area and advises owners to enjoy their freedoms responsibly. "We don't want to lose plovers or our dogs' access to the beach."

Special agent Tim Broadman, of the NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement, investigates and writes up federal cases against pet owners who never suspected their dogs could kill or injure another living creature.

"'My Fido is so calm and nice that he would never hurt anyone or anything,'" Broadman says, quoting pet owners. "But people take eyes off their dog, and it goes and kills a young harbor seal hidden in the bushes. The dog just takes a bite out of it. It's an instinctive thing to do."

Broadman owns dogs but rarely takes them to the beach. They like to chase gulls, he says.

"I'm a dog lover," Broadman says. "And I'm all for leash-law beaches, but people around here wouldn't abide by that."

 

A Clam Beach morning

A family spills out of an SUV -- young parents, young kids and two enthusiastic Dobermans straining at leashes. The dogs are barking. A toddler is screaming.

Another car pulls in and parks. A jogger and her pet, a medium-sized mixed breed that exudes Happy Dogness, hop out of a van. The dog owner hits the Hammond Trail and her unleashed canine noses about the parking lot, shitting in some bushes and greeting humans and other dogs with an enthusiastic wag.

Welcome to Clam Beach on a sunny Saturday. The parking lot, nearly full at 11 a.m., is lined with several signs warning dog owners to keep dogs on leashes in the parking lot, campground and everywhere else from March 1 to Sept. 30, a.k.a. snowy plover nesting season. It's not yet March.

The waveslope, or area covered by the last high tide, is a leash-free zone for dogs under their owner's voice control. No matter where or when dog owners are on the beach: "Dogs must be under complete control of owner."

The Dobermans yank themselves free to chase Happy Dog. The Dobermans' owners holler their names. They yell at each other to go after the dogs. They try to calm the hysterical toddler.

None of this disturbs the beach-walking satisfaction of HSU alumna Allison Lui and her friend. In fact, Lui wishes that she could bring her own dogs from Sacramento to run on the beach and make new friends in Humboldt County. "They would love it up here."

Since she moved to Arcata for college a few years ago, Lui's encounters with other people's dogs on the beach -- leashed and unleashed -- have been good ones.

"I feel like a lot of the dogs are very well-behaved," she says. "And cute."

At this, the Dobermans bound up to Lui and stop to sniff. The dogs are no longer trailing leashes. Owners still shout their names intermittently.

"Sorry about that." An owner carrying a leash apologizes to Lui as the Dobermans, now best of friends with Happy Dog, gallop off into the sand dunes. Lui smiles and waves. No problem.

On the waveslope, Willow Creek architect Joan Briggs walks 16-week-old Chesapeake Bay retriever Bochy. The puppy's on a longish red leash for his first trip to the beach. Briggs and Bochy are killing time, waiting to meet a flight at the airport.

"I thought we'd take an outing to the beach," Briggs says. "He's not sure about the waves. He's been barking at the foam."

Briggs is heartened by Humboldt's dog-friendly beaches. In fact, she's noticed a more accepting attitude toward pets all over California -- even in urban areas. She was shopping in San Rafael recently and an employee at a kitchenware store welcomed Bochy.

"I didn't think a store would let a puppy inside," Briggs says. "But they said, ‘Bring him in!'"

As Briggs talks, Bochy bumbles about blissfully, not seeming to mind the leash. He digs up a sun-bleached shell fragment and munches away.

"Don't eat that," Briggs says, offhandedly. Overall, Briggs says she has experienced only a few problems with other dogs on Humboldt's beaches.

As she talks, the Dobermans and Happy Dog arrive, owners now a football field or so away. Briggs pulls Bochy in close as the three dogs circle her and the puppy. There's a bit of tension.

"They look pretty young," Briggs says of the Dobermans.

Finally, the three unleashed hounds race off along the waveslope, then back into the tall grassy dunes.

 

Leashing Lassie

Leashes benefit dogs as much as they do the environment, Wood says.

A leashed dog won't be as susceptible to sneaker waves.

A leashed dog won't be attacked or bitten by a defensive California sea lion basking on the beach. Even if the sea lion isn't in attack mode, the mammals are often carriers of leptospirosis, bacteria that can kill dogs and that's contagious to humans. Untreated leptospirosis infections can lead to meningitis, liver damage and kidney failure.

"We've seen increasing numbers of leptospirosis in dogs," Wood says. "It's transmitted in urine and they can pick it up from the sand."

The numbers of leptospirosis cases in marine mammals have doubled each decade since workers began monitoring the problem on stretches of California beaches in the 1970s, says Shelbi Stoudt, stranding and data manager at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Workers aren't sure whether the actual number is increasing or reporting efforts are improving. Stoudt agrees, however, the problem's a real one.

"I am not personally aware of any specific cases of dogs contracting leptospirosis directly from sea lions, but it is possible and even likely that it occurs," she says. She recommends that if people see a marine mammal on the beach, they should stay at least 50 feet away. If the animal appears to be in trouble, call the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center's hotline, (707) 465-6265.

Leashed dogs are also much less likely to incur steep fines for their owners.

Marine mammals are federally protected. In the seal-mauling incidents described in Trinidad, the dogs' owners would be liable for the damage done by their pets.       

Pet owners are prosecuted every year, in varying numbers. In an instance involving a harbor seal with crushed skull, Broadman quickly located the responsible parties.

"There were only two people on the beach that morning," he says. One of those people had a dog.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, acts that harass, harm or endanger seals, sea lions or whales can result in fines up to $100,000 and even a year in jail. That would be an extreme case, Broadman says, involving malicious intent to harm the marine mammals.

Most fines, Broadman says, run in the $2,000 to $10,000 range. Dog owners had not meant to harm marine mammals. They just hadn't been thinking.

Of course, even humans without dogs can endanger seal pups. Harbor seals leave newborns in the sand while mom goes fishing. When concerned individuals come upon these seals, people often think the babies are abandoned. Wanting to help, they mistakenly attempt to rescue the seal. This can cause the mother to abandon the baby seal.

Unleashed dogs, though, can be more dangerous.

"Marine mammals are smart enough to try and hide their young," Broadman says."But dogs can seek them out easily."

Approaching or chasing a marine mammal, or flushing animals off the beach, is illegal.

Even if the dogs don't catch the animals and no direct physical harm results, the chase can cause pregnant marine mammals to miscarry. Owners can be fined.

"A lot of people think it's fine to turn my animal lose -- but they're responsible," Broadman says.

Some of the worst damage can occur when dogs meet other dogs on the beach and revert to a pack mentality.

"Some surfers went out and let their dogs roam free on the beach while they surfed," Broadman says. While their owners were riding the waves, the dogs formed a temporary "wild pack," he says, and went after a juvenile elephant seal.

"They did damage to that animal," Broadman says. "And those surfers were liable."

When dogs roam free and form packs of two or more, they "turn off their minding," Broadman says.

He once saw unleashed dogs go after small children, north of Clam Beach in McKinleyville. Two little children were playing in the sand and the smaller one, a toddler, was attacked. "That was the most alarming thing for me," Broadman says. "I saw what a dog could do -- and so quickly."

He's seen packs of dogs go after farm animals. "They see a goat or a sheep and the play turns into harassment or a ‘take.'"

That's why owners need to be aware of what their dogs are doing -- all the time.

"Pretty soon, when dogs get to be dogs, when there are two or more, they don't act how they act one-on-one with their owners," he says. "They can hit kids. They can hit wild animals. They turn into, much more, killers."

Broadman agrees that most Humboldt County dog owners would never want to harm a wild creature. Their dogs like to run on the beaches, and owners aren't aware of the dangers.

"People should be more cognizant with their dogs," Broadman says. And if they are, he won't have to hear the familiar excuse: "‘I didn't know my little Fido would do that.'"

 

On the beach

Another afternoon at Trinidad Beach. High tide. A young couple hops out of their car and releases the hound, or rather, a 2-year-old American pit bull. The dog's on a leash, yanking its owners toward the waves. Halfway there, the dog pauses, assumes that familiar hunching posture. "This always happens!" the woman says.

She looks around sheepishly, sees only me, then kicks sand over the steaming golden poop.

"He's still just a puppy," she says. "Look at all that energy."

By this time, the dog's unleashed and racing into the water.

On to Moonstone Beach, where a sign in the parking lot states: "West of this sign all dogs must be securely leashed or under voice control of owner. Voice control means your dog will come to you at first calling. Violators will be cited."

Above the sign, a box dispenses bags for pet feces. This tactic works for most pet owners, though a couple large turd piles ripen in the sun west of the sign during a recent visit.

Moonstone is doggie heaven on any weekend afternoon, with more than a dozen pooches on and off leashes, wagging and fetching, making new friends, racing into the water and splashing gleefully back onto the beach.

Dash, an 8-year-old mix of border collie and Australian shepherd, is not on a leash. But the dog stays close, within a few feet of his owners, Kit and C.J. McKinley of Eureka. When C.J. throws a stick, Dash runs for it and totes it back immediately. Other dogs and waves and humans do not distract Dash at all. He's responsive to every word that comes out of his owner's mouths.

"He's super-smart and well-trained," Kit McKinley says. "The epitome of voice control."

The McKinleys say they have few problems with other dogs on the beach. Most people with aggressive, unfriendly dogs know enough to keep those animals on leashes.

But Moonstone Beach can get crowded. And some owners think their dogs are under voice control -- when they obviously are not. If an owner needs to repeat the dog's name or a command more than once, the dog is not under voice control.

The McKinleys stop throwing the stick for a minute. Dash barks at them. He wants to play. "They're so happy to be here," McKinley says.

Humans love dogs. Dogs love the beach.

 

Foiled rescue

A call came in to the marine mammal stranding hotline in late January. An injured sea lion on the beach, not far from the Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City.

Observers said the animal had a big tear into the flesh of its right flank.

"It looked like it had been torn open," Stockton says. "We couldn't tell if it had been from a boat or a bite."

Stockton got a team together to rescue the sea lion. It took a couple hours to coordinate this, with phone calls and text messages flying back and forth. Finally, enough volunteers were rounded up and a meeting point was arranged. The team arrived on the beach, looking like "they meant business," Stockton says.

Gloved volunteers carried nets and toted a heavy-duty plastic animal crate to transport the marine mammal. They made their way along the beach carefully, slowly. Their strategy? Don't scare the animal back into the water.

It was slow going.

Then an unknowing dog owner showed up with an unleashed canine. The dog was frolicking along, far ahead of its owner. It saw the seal -- what fun! -- and jogged over to investigate.

The seal slipped back into the water and disappeared.

Frustrated, the team packed up and left.

"After all that effort to get organized, someone comes out there with a dog and chases the seal back into the water," Stockton says, exasperated. "That's two to three hours of our effort wasted, and we have to wait and watch to see where it comes up next."

The injured sea lion, several weeks later, had not been reported again on any beaches in Humboldt or Del Norte counties.

 Unleashed

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Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Good grief. The no fun squad seems to be out in full force again. God forbid someone wants their dog to run and play on the beach. Most of this stuff in this article is anecdotal anyway. Are populations of harbor seals going to crash because of dogs off their leash, or are there other pressures being placed on these creatures outside of this problem causing their demise? Or, are their populations even declining? What is the number of these marine mammals being killed by dogs vs. how many are struck by boats, entangled in nets, die from pollution, etc...Low hanging fruit to just go after dogs and their owners.
Maybe just close off sections of beaches altogether during pupping season to avoid any confrontations? I suspect this is more about the fuddy-duddies and other Prius owners who insist on having their unfriendly pooches on leashes...and so should you! Common sense says keep your mutt at home if it can't get along in public without tearing something or someone up...these are the people who will eff it up though for everyone.
And people not picking up their dogs crap (beach, street, trails, parks, yards) that is a problem.

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Posted by Salzman's cat on 03/07/2013 at 10:22 AM

Oh, she's so cute!

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Posted by Charlene on 03/07/2013 at 1:31 PM

I bet Salzman's Cat still thinks climate change is just anecdotal too. I guess those working with the marine mammals don't know what they're dealing with. Why do the numbers of marine animals matter, is there some magic number that we must reach before it's illegal? I don't know how many times I've been out walking and have loose dogs charge me...are they friendly? Who knows if they are! Charging at dog owners that do leash is dangerous as well as they feel more threatened since they don't have as much mobility. Walking on trails in delicate habitat with signs that clearly say ALL dogs must be leashed and seeing them run loose through the brush, seems to me the fuddy duddy dog owners should be leashed until they're properly trained. A lot of low hanging fruit on the IQ tree.

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Posted by Don D on 03/09/2013 at 10:32 AM

dogs and their owners do display anal retentive behavior e.g being territorial...............tagging their area of defeacation............eating poop and generally the pets have been bought because their owners need to be nudged to get off the couch,go outside and take in the beauty and fresh air of our coastal trails and beaches. Humans let us try to co-exist with our wild who haven t all been bought and sold;fried and consumed ..............Amore

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Posted by pizzapie on 03/09/2013 at 11:24 AM

This is not a dog problem, it's a human problem. I have been walking my dogs in Humboldt/Del Norte for over 15 years and have seen quite a shift for the worse in the "laws are for the other guy" mentality. This applies to dog leash laws as well as laws in general. Dogs aggressively approaching me by myself, or when I am with my dogs is a problem I know I'm not a seal pup or snowy plover, but what about my freedom to have a nice walk without being threatened? I was recently confronted by a guy at Moonstone who wanted to fight because HIS dog was harrassing my 2 small dogs and my wife, who was 9 months pregnant at that time. I asked him nicely to leash his dog and he said "NO, it's a dog beach. Go somewhere else if you don't like it." The only thing that may have kept him from attacking me was the fact my wife pulled out our smart phone and started recording him. He was a local surfer with the "locals" attitude. He even referred to Moonstone as "my beach." This kind of mentality has become the rule, not the exception. And law enforcement is not enforcing the law. Sort of like the hands free cell phone law...but that is another story.

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Posted by Dog Man on 03/10/2013 at 5:18 PM

While unleashed dogs pose a threat to seal pups, humans are the biggest threat. Your local News Channel 3 crew also had a hand in killing a seal pup about a year ago in King Salmon. They had named him "Carlos" for their news story. I went to walk my dogs there one day and saw a seal pup on the beach. It wasn't hurt so I knew its mom was likely out catching dinner. I took my dogs to another spot and returned to find a News Channel 3 van there with a crew filming a story on this "abandoned" pup (a beachcomber called them.) The news folks had even called DA Paul Gallegos out there for some reason, and he showed up with his kids (they named him Carlos.) News Channel 3 had their cameras just a few feet from this poor pup and I told them that they should keep their distance because it's mother might abandon it for good. The newslady got very hostile towards me and told me to leave because this was a human interest story, and the DA was here now so it was not my concern! In all fairness, the DA looked like he was stuck in the middle but apparently unaware of the laws regarding approaching marine mammals. I remained and persisted in telling everybody there that the pup was in greater jeopardy DUE TO THEIR ACTIONS and was treated like I was the antichrist. I left before they did and saw their "story" of an abandoned seal pup on the 6 oclock news the following night. A week later, I returned to the same spot with my dogs and found "Carlos" dead just a few feet from where News Channel 3 had been filming him. He was near the high tide mark in the rocks. His mother had likely abandoned him after being scared off by all the people. I emailed the news lady at channel 3 and told her of Carlos' fate. I got no reply, and they never did run a follow up with footage of the seal pup carcass. This could have been a real opportunity for a public ed campaign on seal pups, but instead this news lady wanted to fabricate a human interest story. Well done!

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Posted by Anon on 03/11/2013 at 1:22 PM

Don D. How do you know what I believe in or not based on my one comment? This is an article about dogs on the beach and their knucklehead owners, not global warming. I was questioning the science behind the claims this article was making, not denying global climate change (although I don't think dogs on the beach are playing any part). It's about appropriate behavior, not more laws in our rural county that won't be enforced anyway. I am in favor of closing off beaches during pupping season. How about educating owners about picking up after their pet, and keeping unfriendly pets at home?
I'm sure pollution, overfishing, and yes, global climate changes are having a far greater impact on marine mammals than unleashed dogs. I think it's just easier for people to pick out what is right in front of them, especially if they don't like dogs anyway. And settle down, not every dog that runs up to you wants to eat your face. Learn to get along in the world, or just move back to Marin Co. (see, I can make assumptions too...it's fun!).

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Posted by Salzman's cat on 03/11/2013 at 2:39 PM

Yes, the seal and snowy plover issue seem to be a smokescreen argument. I frequent Moonstone and Clam regularly and have not seen dog attacks, but friendly people and friendly dogs socializing, and having so much fun it is contagious. There are many stunning areas that are lease only that those who desire off-leash leave to the lease walkers, so it seems reasonable to respect that this beach is for those who prefer a different experience.
The majority of beach goers there look out for the seals and plovers too, by the way.

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Posted by Walkin' By on 03/11/2013 at 2:45 PM

@saliman's cat, sure sounded like you were saying that those dealing with nursing back to health marine mammals with injuries really don't know what they're looking at? When I brought up the climate change I was just comparing your comment to how many people say climate change doesn't exist because they don't believe climatologist know what they're talking about...i.e. can we really say it's dogs killing or injuring on the beaches? Are there really that many animals killed? I personally don't care how many, dog owners can prevent EVERY one. Dog owners can prevent EVERY pile of poop. Dog owners can prevent there dogs from harassing EVERY other person on the beach. Seals and birds live there naturally, dog owners are bringing something foreign there so the burden should be on them to do what is right, not excuse themselves because their dog wouldn't do anything bad to them even though that's what they do naturally. I don't think any more laws are necessary, I would settle for more humans thinking about their actions beyond how nice it is to let Fido race around free. I've got scares on the side of my face from a dog that ran up to me that I thought was friendly. So, no, I won't settle down when a dog comes running up because no one can guarantee me that it won't bite. I assume you telling me to get along in this world to you means I give up caring about the animals that naturally live on our beaches or preserves since it's more important your Fido to be able to run free.

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Posted by Don D on 03/12/2013 at 10:37 PM

Dogs on the beach is practically a non issue when looked at statistically. Dog owners need to be responsible and be respectful towards others and the environment. Pick up your dog poop, pick up your garbage,and don't let your dogs harass wildlife or people. Remember that most are responsible. Don't waste your time writing an article that only addresses a few trouble makers(and make it sound like its a real BIG issue) when compared to the amount of responsible dog owners. If you had thought about that before you wrote the article,( or did a little research) you probably wouldn't have wasted your time writing it in the first place. You would have been better off writing an article on the joys off bringing your dog to the beach, or about responsible dog owners and the beaches.

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Posted by Brian on 03/21/2013 at 2:41 PM

Who's the one that said people were attracting Ravens to the beach? One of the county's most visited beaches(Clam Beach) has lots of Ravens,but not because of people,( there is practically no garbage on the beach) but because of the natural things that end up on the beach to eat ( gross dead things). Just like Seagulls, Ravens love gross stuff. The reason why I ask is because when I go to the beach my dog would love to chase Ravens ( I do not let her). If the ravens are a nuisance to to plovers maybe a little raven dog chasing would be a good thing.

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Posted by Gary on 03/21/2013 at 2:57 PM

What about all the horse crap on the beach? Plenty of horse crap, but you cant leave any dog crap. I think people should be more considerate and pick up the horse crap. I don't want to see any kind of crap on the beach. Nothing like going to the beach with your child to play in the sand and she digs up horse crap or dog crap. I agree that dog owners should be respectful and be conscious of what there dog is doing on the beach, but equally horses and their riders should be treated the same way. Those who bring their horses to the beach do not and should not feel as though they have some natural right to let their horse crap every where(including the parking lots) Bring a big bag and a pair of gloves. Have some respect for the environment and those around you.

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Posted by Brian on 03/23/2013 at 10:41 AM

This article brought to mind an ongoing issue from my old neck of the woods. Google "Children's Pool Beach" and read the wiki article on it.

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Posted by Samantha Lee on 03/24/2013 at 7:07 AM

another one bites the dust. Probably a nice family dog. http://news.yahoo.com/giffords-husband-pulls-dog-off-sea-lion-calif-025912905.html

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Posted by yesseri on 03/26/2013 at 11:43 AM
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