Rules Are the Norm

Jun 28, 2017

To the Editor:

In response to Jud Aaron’s letter (“Dog Park Growls,” 6/21), I would like to point out that the borough notified the public that the key card was going to be implemented in past issues of The SandPaper and on the Barnegat Light website (a very handy site, I might add), as well as in mailed communications to homeowners. 

Limited access to dog parks is becoming more the norm these days. This system can be found in many cities and towns. It affords some control over who is using the dog park and ensures that dogs are properly vaccinated prior to gaining entry. It is very easy to contact your dog’s veterinarian and have vaccination information sent to borough hall. This takes very little time and protects you and your dog.

The borough council decided that this was a necessary step because, contrary to the author’s assertion, there have been a number of dog bites over the last few years. As an example, our dog and I were attacked and bitten by a dog whose owner simply took the dog away right after it happened, without so much as an exchange of information should the result of the bites have become serious. 

In response to the article by Maria Scandale regarding the dog park in the same issue, I suggest that she could have provided the background as to why the key system was implemented. The entrance on 10th Street was moved to the new location to keep the dogs off the street since some dog owners fail to leash their pets when they get out of their cars. Keeping dogs on a leash is a borough rule since loose dogs can create a dangerous situation on the street.

It was necessary to post dog park hours since the dog park is in the middle of a residential area. Quite a few dog park visitors paid no attention to the posted hours, coming in as early as 5 a.m. or arriving late at night and shining their headlights across the dog park and into homeowners’ windows. This obviously upset homeowners so the borough tried locking and unlocking the gate at the designated times, using some of the local neighbors to implement that plan. I can speak from personal experience that this resulted in some very rude visitors arguing about the hours with the volunteers who carried this out. 

Finally, after these experiences and because several dog bites occurred, the borough decided on the key card system to control access to the dog park. This was not an impulsive decision, but rather one that was carefully considered after trying all the alternatives.

The mayor and council have been very fair in trying to resolve this situation. Someone going to borough hall, or calling, and being rude to those who work there is uncalled for.    

Most dog park users whom I have talked to appreciate that there is now a record of those who use the dog park so if there is a problem it will be easier to determine who was involved. 

Many of us who live in town or on LBI, as well as summer visitors, use the dog park and appreciate that it is available. The dog park is available because Barnegat Light is a town that loves dogs. Please remember that your complaining could result in closure of the dog park, making it unavailable for everyone.

Elise Lemcke

Barnegat Light



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