Doggin’ It

As anyone everyone who was down at the beach this past weekend can attest, the scene was straight out of midsummer.

That’s what 85-degree weather, brilliant sunshine and a holiday will do.

Only one things was different:  dogs.

An alert “06880” reader emailed to say how delightful the scene was — except for so many Spots, Fidos and Rovers “peeing and pooping” (to use the technical terms).

Another equally alert reader wrote:

After a glorious weekend, I wonder if you can provide some background as to how October 1 became the “let everyone enjoy Compo — no permits necessary” date.

While I’m all for letting everyone enjoy our gorgeous beach, why doesn’t the town doesn’t follow Greenwich and have a November 1 date so that we locals can enjoy the beach with our Westport neighbors a little longer…  especially on magical weekends like we just had.

Dogs could still come as of Oct 1 — but only Westport resident dogs!

I’m guessing that the October 1 date for all dogs was selected semi-arbitrarily, and semi-because no one expects huge crowds during leaf-peeping season.

But this is a community blog.  Click “Comments” to weigh in on the date, the regulations, and anything else dog poop-and-pee related.

Pre- or post- peeing and pooping at Compo Beach.

46 responses to “Doggin’ It

  1. Compo should be opened to all outsiders after Labor Day. If there are no lifeguards, what’s the point?

  2. As I believe that dogs are better than most people I know, I say allow all the dogs and limit the number of people. Give me a break.

  3. It’s not too often we get 80 degree days in October. Even the weekend before when it was 65 and sunny the beach was pretty empty (except for the dogs!) May as well let everyone enjoy it, and possibly bring some business to Joey’s.

  4. I agree with all of the above, especially the second comment! Woof!

  5. The Dude Abides

    I rather enjoy the dogs dry-humping where I was first indoctrinated to sex. Brings back strong memories of the “submarine races.” As for the remaining dog poop, I much prefer it to a diaper left behind. The beach should be fun instead of an uptight, sign infested arena for the disgruntled. It seems every one who lives down there now has sand up their crack.

    • You crack me up Dude!!

    • So when a dog jumps you, is it assault? Is it fun? When a dog knocks down your child, is that fun? Some dog owners manifest the same lack of consideration as those who park in handicapped parking spaces without a permit.

      • Since there is no lease law in Westport or Connecticut, your examples are not criminal. As to fun, I would place such in the “that’s life” category. Parking in a handicapped space without a permit is prohibited by law.

        • Maybe but, I have empirical evidence to support the claim that if your dog knocks someone down, you are liable for injuries that might be sustained. If your dig bites a child, you are liable for the injury. Both of these events have happened to either a family member or a neighbor. Moreover, if you dog has a history of such actions, and he is not leashed, then the matter of criminality arises. As to your “that’s life” observation, that is easy for your to say. Imagine that child that has been bitten. Typical Westport response though.

          • Not so. I am afraid of dogs and have two. Legally, you can collect civil damages if a dog harms you or your children. Criminally, there is ususally no intent on the part of the dog or the owner. I concur that if a dog has a history or is inclined to bite, the owner should have it on a leash. If friendly, not so much. Whether that is typical of Westport or not, I am not to say but dogs are very much a part of life here. I would suggest that you stay away from them if you have bad experiences.

            • Really; how much taxes are paid by the dogs? The presumption should be that rights of people trump the rights of dogs. I suggest that if a dog does not want a bad experience, it should learn its place.

              • Princeton '82

                Fair enough. A license fee is paid by dog owners, however. Thus, an indirect tax. The decision of the municipality and state to not enforce any lease law is at issue. My dogs wouldn’t hurt a flea so I quess I am not aware of it as much as you but I have been attacked running by dogs and I agree, it is no fun. I find that good parents usually have good dogs. I will leave any conclusion to that statement in Westport to you.

  6. love the picture. Clearly, Labs win it for having fun at the beach. Sometimes I think that if there were an automated ball throwing machine at Compo, Lab owners could drop their dogs off, do some errands and come back for their dog.
    (yes, I know)

    • Diane I like your idea. I think it’s marketable. Can you put up some venture capital?

  7. Love the picture but it would appear that the runt of the liter is leading the pack.

  8. “Wag more, Bark less”.

  9. “If dogs run free, why not we” – B Dylan

  10. missy fjellman

    Dan….LOVE your blog and follow it constantly now…..step back and look at the pic…it is priceless !!!! absolutely hystreyical…crap ..can’t spell for beens…am laughing sooo hard

  11. In the end, isn’t Parks and Rec ultimately responsible for cleaning up the beach area mess, left by human or dog? Do they have the surplus in their budget to deal with extra (unanticipated) work from these extra nice weekend days? I’d let the dogs stay after 10/1 and keep the non-resident entrance fees through 11/1 to help defray the cleanup costs.

    • (the Other Ed)
      A lesson can be learned from Carmel, out here in California. The beach is one of the best dog beaches in the country. Dogs, surfers, locals and visitors (dog and non-dog people) all use the beach – the beach is open to all, year round. The town supplies plastic poop bags and maintains the parking lot and bathroom. Dog owners control their pets, and clean up after them. Residents volunteer a few times a year for beach cleanup day. And both Westport and Carmel are rich towns. So I guess it all comes down to attitude.

    • But, Ed, oh how nice would it be to not have to use precious taxpayer dollars to clean up the poop of a ‘resident’ dog? What’s next? Charging a user fee to the owners of nonresident dogs who poop at the beach?

  12. Mostly the dog people clean up after themselves,
    The mess is paper goods and plastic from the picnickers.

    The longer part of the beach which is now the on-leash area
    Could be the off-leash area as practically no one sits down there.

  13. Can't Drive 55

    Take down every sign at the beach, keep all cars out. Let people walk or bike to the sand. Adults, kids and pets roam free year round, 24/7. Freedom, Dude, freedom.

  14. Why should the beach be any different than your yard? If your dog poops, YOU pick it up. Remember, it might be your grandchild that falls in it, or your dog that runs thru it (and tracks it into your car and/or your house).

  15. What would be the harm in waiting another month before allowing dogs to frolic on the beach. It was really something watching children dig and play where so, so many dogs had peed. Why don’t you take your dog to the park we all paid gazillions for!!

  16. I like the idea of a Nov 1 date for out-of-towners, and resident dogs kept to the canon side until then. Doesn’t anyone know about zoonosis?

    Also, ccan we somehow do a better job of enforcing the no-dogs on the boardwalk and playground policy? I’ve seen quite a few dogs on extended leashes in the heart of the playground area — one poor child even got caught up in one as he raced by. While I love dogs, not every kid does — And the playground is for them!

  17. Richard Lawrence Stein

    I know this is off the “beach” but it’s poop relevance…. People just need to be considerate of their environs!!!! Now that the beach is a cross use area how bout those who walk their pooches at Wakeman Town Fields be more diligent about cleaning up there. As a coach and Speed Camp Trainer the near misses the hits and the are you kidding piles of doggie doo is just not right and outright gross…. No one is that entitled!!!’

  18. Loretta Hallock

    I love dogs and have had many over the years. The problem is that little children playing in the same sand that dogs are peeing and pooping in. Also dog owners pick it up and than drop in when they think they are not being watched.. I saw many blue bags dropped by the bench on Sound view. I know this is a subject that is a Hot Potato in Westport!! I was at the beach on Sunday and made sure I had a high chair to sit in.

  19. Sorry, my then puppy was attacked last year at Burying Hill by an unleashed, unregistered out of town dog. Fortunately Animal Control Officer Peter D’Amico was able to follow up with the other owner and helped make it right. But… after my experience I heard untold stories of dog on dog aggression in all of Westport’s dog friendly parks and their owners who fled without taking responsibility. PS, the vet bill was hundreds of dollars, which the offending dog’s owner was coerced into paying by the fabulous Officer D’Amico.

  20. Give dog owners a break, too — aren’t they entitled to a couple of pleasant weeks at the beach with their pets (as opposed to the freezing days of Jan/Feb when no one seems to mind them there)? Keep Oct. 1st. The “dogs permitted” zone of the beach is clearly marked. This isn’t rocket science: If folks don’t want their kids playing where dogs are relieving themselves (I wouldn’t want my kid playing there!), then they just need to make sure their kids keep to the — quite ample — dog-free side of the beach. Most dog owners I’ve observed at the beach are respectful of the barrier, and do clean up after their pets. And I very much appreciate that the town provides plastic bags for those owners who might have forgotten to bring one or who run out. Do we really need to re-open the great dog debate of 2005/6????

    • The taxpayers bought dog owners a $10,000,000 dog toilet; how much more entitled should they be?

      • The Dude Abides

        I agree. I am not sure I understand Winslow Park at all? It is the perfect setting for the Y or some other town facility. Maybe even a dirt track around the perimeter allowing safety for runners. But it seems such a waste to just let dogs crap on it?

      • More waste to come on the south side of the Post Road. It’s only money; your money perhaps, but only money.

      • Ex-Westporter

        Do what most other towns with dog parks do and take a shaded area of Winslow Park, put up a chain link fence around about an acre, separate it into two sections (big dog and small dog sections), and supply some cleanup bags and water – cheaper than $10 million. Dogs are happy because they can play with other dogs. Small dogs are safe because they are separated from the big dogs. Owners are happy because they have somplace they can bring their dogs unleashed. And the rest of the grumpy old spoiled entitled non-dog-loving taxpayers can use the rest of the park, poop-free (but they probably won’t anyhow).

      • I ‘m a tax paying dog owner and totally believe I am entitled. A massive portion of my taxes are for Westport’s multi+ $million schools of which I have no children who benefit. Personally, if I had a choice, I’d allot my share of school taxes to the seniors of Westport. (BTW, I am not a senior).

        • The Dude Abides

          Good suggestions but not sure why senior walkers, runners, dogs and some form of recreational facility can not occupy a vast stretch of land that seems to just go wasted. If across the street is to be the same (as suggested above), it is just plain stupid. Jeez, you could build a dang community college there and maybe train the unemployed for better jobs. Public land for the betterment of the public. Developers have overpopulated the residential land here but we keep reserving public lands for nothing if you exclude the dogs.

  21. Westport Expat

    Just curious … where is the dog-free side of beach? The town regs say that from the bathhouses south to the cannons, and then along the South Beach is a leash-free area. I think there’s a fencepost kind of randomly placed marking the line. From the bathhouses the other way (along Soundview Avenue), dogs are allowed on leash. Their business should be picked up in all areas, of course. The only dog-free areas I’m aware of are the playground and boardwalk/pavilion.

    http://www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=35&recordid=485&returnURL=%2findex.aspx%3fpage%3d91

  22. Dogs Rule!

  23. Let me get this right. One reader wants Westport dogs to have preference over non Westport dogs during October?

    Reminds me of George Orwell’s Animal Farm “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

    “The more I see of man, the more I like dogs.”
    Madame de Staël

    • I’m with you, Joe. Crazy, isn’t it?

      WestportNow had a story about two people who spoke to the Rotary Club about the high incidence of cancer in dogs and cats. Please! Let’s put our time and effort toward helping people with cancer, not pets. And, by the way, my beloved cat died of cancer three years ago, so I understand the agony.

  24. As Gordon Gekko said: WASP’s care more about animals than people. Seems rather evident from the comments here, that is the case here.