Spence Riggs at the last city council meeting on July 13 made a proposal to the city leaders to be more inclusive as to where dogs would be allowed on the beach in the city limits.  Currently, there exists a dog beach in a little armpit beach just south of the Loomis Street Boat launch.  Riggs, representing the group Mason County Mutts (MCM), a self-professed "non-profit organization that advocates, rescues and cares for animals within our community", requested that the city allow dogs to legally utilize the beach facilities between the west end of Ludington Avenue and the north breakwall that the lighthouse is on.  Here is a map showing the applicable areas, north is to the left:

This proposal by MCM allows some strict stipulations to apply in this area.  First, the dogs must remain on a leash while in this area.  Second, the owners would be responsible for the clean up of dog waste in the area.  Third, violations of the first two stipulations, and other city laws involving dogs, would be enforced.

MCM would for its part would fund the signage for this dog accessible area and provide a dog waste receptacle.  Furthermore, it would pay for replacement waste bags and do a beach sweep up to two times a month.  The City itself would be responsible for enforcement of the laws and emptying the waste receptacles, when needed; they alone would benefit from the fines received. 

The city manager and the Parks Committee has reviewed the Mason County Mutts proposal over the last two weeks and have come back with a reply where City Manager John Shay has expressed that he 'feels' this use of the beach would be ill-suited for the population overall:

Before proffering the question as to how you feel about a dog beach in that area, I would just like to point out that this area in question for the new dog beach coincides with the area that is to be used for the first phase of the West End Project, the concrete walkway between the breakwall and Ludington Avenue.  If the project ever gets Michigan DNR Trust Fund money coming in to help build it. 

Shay and the Parks Committee obviously know this fact and seem to overlook explaining their desire for this half of a million dollar project and Mr. Riggs simple request may clash.  Seeing dog poop containers, signs, and dogs doing their business on the beach, is not something they want in the limited amount of beach left in that area if the first phase is ever funded.

What is hopeful is that Shay, and by extension the City's Parks Committee, admit that this area of beach is precious to those locals who want quietude and calm waters, something they have turned a deaf ear on during the public's almost unanimous decrying of the project in wanting to keep that area intact and as it is.

Views: 1483

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It makes no sense to establish this area as a "dog area" because the dog will be required to be leashed and I'm sure people are not interested in just walking their dog but want to run their animals and let them have access to the water. My opinion is to leave well enough alone and keep the area as is without dogs or the stupid walkway that is being proposed. If people want their dogs to enjoy a beach they can use the Buttersville beach which allows dogs, but I've seen a lot of abuse by dogs and their owners over on the other side of the channel. Recently while my family was at the Buttersville beach, another family was sunning themselves on beach towels when 2 very large dogs ran towards them and scared the kids half to death. The parents panicked thinking the dogs meant them harm. No owner was in sight because they released the dogs in the parking lot and just let them run. Fortunately the dogs were big babies and very friendly but who knows what could have happened if they weren't. I love dogs but beaches that have large amounts of human use will always have conflict if allowed to have dogs running at large. Another problems is the dog crap. We all know a lot of owners will only brush sand over their dogs do do when nobody is looking.

I've seen similar things at Buttersville, and thought the same thing about the desirability of a leash-only dog beach to most dog owners.  The small dog beach to the south allows dogs to run freely in an enclosed area, I have yet to see it being crowded.

Still, personally, I don't like the city council having to make a decision like this that can significantly affect the usage of our most popular city park.  If MCM wants this change, I would rather see them go through the ballot process.  That way everyone can be satisfied that the ultimate decision was decided lawfully and democratically.

Is it illegal to have a dog on a leash within the confines of the high water mark on the Great Lakes in Michigan where the public has the right to walk the beach?

It might make an interesting Court case.

I looked through the compiled Michigan laws and some of the DNR's directives and found that there is no general rule like that.  Typically, most state parks do not allow dogs on the beach, Mears State Park in Pentwater being the only local exception, and you have the right to take your dog down to the shore if you have beachfront property or have the consent of the owner of that property.  Another good reason why any decision on creating a new dog beach in Ludington should get approval of the electorate who own the public beach land, not the power-hungry stewards.

Here's a good resource (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Water97e_142928_7.pdf) on riparian and water rights of the people of Michigan, which unfortunately leaves off any mention of dogs! 

As I understand it in Michigan you have a right to walk your dog a on a public right of way (sidewalk, street) as long as the dog is on a leash and under your control. 

In Michigan you also have the right to walk along the Great Lakes between the waters edge and the normal high water mark (public right of way). If the beach  is privately owned there is nothing the beach owner  can do as long as you keep moving and stay within this boundary. Now since dogs on a leash are allowed on public right of ways and this littoral area is considered a public right of way shouldn't you legally be allowed to walk your dog within this zone?

I don't see anything restricting that, but the request for the dog beach in Stearn's Park goes beyond the beach's high water mark inland and the water's edge outland for dog access.

If the LPD or their special beach patrol tickets you for walking your dog in the water's edge, you would have a great defense.

The COL does not even own the North Break Wall.  How much of the area surrounding the Break Wall encompasses this non-COL ownership??   

People and their dogs walk by my house every day, they think my bushes are their bathroom. If I'm not on the front porch they just let them take a dump and continue on, I have yelled at many, some come back and pick up their droppings and some could care less. I can see the same thing at the beach. Real nice walking by piles of dog shit.

Tonight, due apparently to a last appeal by Spence Riggs and the appearance and words of a few MCM adherents at the meeting, including Riggs' mother, the vote on the dog beach was never taken.  Several councilors stated they were leaning against the dog beach but wanted the committee to look at it again and present it in a slightly different form due to what they learned about the dog beach tonight. 

Oddly, I was at the last meeting and this meeting, read the councilor's packet and can honestly say there really wasn't anything added by Mr. Riggs tonight that wasn't already there.  Apparently, they were just afraid of the backlash they would suffer if they made a vote against it. 

This is one reason why the city charter has in it the protections of our city parks and that any change of use of these parks need to come before the people for a vote.  If the majority of our people want to change that beach area into a dog beach, let them decide with their ballots at the next election. 

Once again, the council wants to usurp the power inherent in the general population.

Yes, people are allowed to walk in the area between the water and high water area of Michigan's beaches and I would assume that means their dogs if leashed. Having dogs on a leash though is not the problem. The problem as I see it is allowing dogs to run free between the parking lot and breakwater. That is what I have gathered the proposal to be. I to have had my plants and small trees destroyed by dog urine left by all the male dogs that walk by. There is a significant number of dog owners who refuse to act responsibly. Extending the dog run area to include the small beach where the dunes are located would serve no purpose but would create a conflict between pet owners and the public. The beach patrol would be spending more time on that then watching for drowning victims.

What's with these dog owners anyway, they take them to the art fairs, they take them to the friday night live, they even take them to the casino. I'm just waiting for one to take a chunk out of some ones baby in a stroller. Dogs can get irritated just like people in crowds, It's just a matter of time, just a matter of time. We don't need them on the beach leashed or not.

I agree with you stump..

These dog  owner's even take them to the local shopping markets.  They even put them in shopping carts. They are dogs!!!  Service Dogs...No problem, but that system is even becoming abused by these people that cannot leave their dog while shopping!  



© 2024   Created by XLFD.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service