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Dan Rattiner

DAN'S PAPERS, November 20, 2009 Page 13

In Defense of Dogs Residents’Dogs Come Near to Banned in East Hampton Village By Dan Rattiner I just got back from San Francisco. My daughter lives out there, right in downtown, with her husband and kids, three dogs, four ducks and two tropical birds. That city is filled with life these days. Among the great prides of the city are the dogs in the town. I spent some time in McLaren Park where there are lots of people with dogs all running around. Dogs are a way of life out there. East Hampton Village last week, however, went still another step in the direction of banning all dogs in town. The mayor and the trustees held another session in which the topic was how bad dogs were and whether the current laws against dogs are okay or need to be made worse. There was no conversation at the meeting about how good dogs are, how they are such loyal companions, how they provide food for the soul and how joyously they run around enjoying the world and all those around them. It’s not a good way to make laws in a village, in my opinion, just focusing on what’s bad, but that is the way East Hampton Village does it. The rich people in this town— many of whom have a sense of entitlement— complain about everything. The mayor and trustees listen. Then they act on the complaints. Oddly, many of the rich in this town have dogs and love them. Yes, they complain about everything, but that just means they complain about everything. It’s not necessary to actually do anything about it. They are going to be pretty

shocked about what the village did at their meeting last week. The meeting began with a report from Edward McDonald, the village beach manager, who said that there were very few complaints on the beaches about dogs this past summer. There were complaints about the weather. But about dogs it’s been pretty quiet. When he finished, trustee Barbara Borsack said, “Well, maybe so, but that doesn’t solve the problem.” And it went on from there.

joke time, during which one of the trustees suggested that they pass a law requiring that people have to get permits to take their dogs out for a walk. Then they got down to business. “The beaches at Wiborg and Egypt look like kitty litter boxes when the beachgoers arrive in the morning at nine,” said Borsack. It was a graphic moment. I’ve been out there at nine in the morning. It is a wild exaggeration. And so the board voted to solve Borsack’s problem. This coming summer, the hours a dog cannot be on a village beach are being expanded to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. during July and August. And that will just about put a halt to anyone ever bringing a dog out on a beach in that community in daylight. It will also put an end to any of the local Bonackers giving consideration to staying in their native community. Just about every one of them has a black lab or golden they take down to the beach every day to go fishing. Many have already moved away. This is sort of the end for them. What kind of sterile environment are we making out of the Village of East Hampton? Unlike the Village of Sag Harbor, which fought diligently and continues to fight diligently to keep chain stores out, East Hampton has succumbed to them. The downtown, one of the most beautiful villages in the country, is now like Rodeo Drive, with one women’s clothing store after another

Police Chief Larsen said that as far as dogs are concerned, they have a “zero tolerance policy.” In the last year, as you probably know, the village put in a ban on bringing dogs into parks. At the beaches, you can’t bring a dog out there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in July and August. And Police Chief Larsen said, and repeated it at this meeting, that as far as dogs are concerned, they have a “zero tolerance policy.” Dogs are right up there with drug dealers and sex offenders. A few trustees at the meeting spoke up meekly to say that they felt the current number of laws regarding dogs is just fine. There was then

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Dan's Papers Nov. 20, 2009  

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