+ Dogs and humans can coexist peacefully on Key beaches
It would seem to me that the writer who referred to “urine-drenched beaches and feces-contaminated sand” must be considering that about 1 million dogs live on Longboat Key to contaminate what must be 11 miles of beaches. However, that being said, I do believe that dogs and humans can co-habitate on the beaches as they do in towns and cities around this continent.
My suggestion would be not to have specific areas for dogs, for these surely would become dog “ghettos,” with a concentration of urine and feces, because if owners think that such areas are for dogs then they may be less likely to clean up.
A more sensible solution to my mind is to allow dogs on the beach at certain times, say 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Added to this should be some strict rules and penalties.
For example the fine for a dog on the beach now I believe is $500. This could be raised to say $1,000, if found outside the allotted times. In addition to this, any dog owner found to have not picked up could face a fine of say $2,000, (this is what is imposed in Toronto and I believe a number of cities in the United States and Canada).
To assist in reminding these dog owners to pick up, a dispenser of doggy bags and a bin for disposal could be placed at every public access to the beach. This may sound expensive, but it would be cheaper than the cleanup required at a designated site. I have seen this system in a number of cities, and it seems to remind dog owners quite successfully to do their civic duty.
I hope that a reasonable compromise can be achieved.
+ Dogs should be allowed on beach for one-year trial
We support our dog’s opportunity to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico and the beaches year-round on Longboat Key. This privilege should be available during the daylight hours and accrue only to the Longboat Key residents and registered vacationers actually staying on Longboat. Dogs on our beaches can be successful if the pet owners are legally obligated to be responsible for all actions of their pets and enforced, not only be the authorities, but more importantly by other Longboat Key dog-lovers who must self police this privilege.
We suggest the entire beach area of Longboat Key be made available for dogs to enjoy. Each dog must be licensed by Longboat Key and have the proper health certifications and include an owner’s endorsement to adhere to a specific set of regulations. In addition, a beach-access fee should be charged to cover the cost of providing “doggie waste bags,” trash containers, signs and printed information, which is consistent with and successful in Durante Park.
Businesses across the country recognize that permitting dogs is good for business. They are welcome in the finest hotels, motels, resorts and restaurants with outside seating. Dogs are equal family members. Their companionship offers proven health benefits, and many dogs serve specific life improving interests from 9/11 searches, combat missions in Afghanistan, nursing-home therapy, search and rescue of lost children, plus the special certified service dogs and guide dogs.
We believe all negative reasons to deny dog access to the beaches of Longboat Key, including health concerns, are the fault and disrespect of their owners. Concerns about hookworms, roundworms or shipworms, heartworms and fleas infestations are preventable by Trifexis. Sea birds feces or guano, on the other hand, can pose a significant potential fungal infection of the lungs in humans. Dogs under the control of their owners pose no threat to turtles.
Allowing dogs on a one-year trial basis is a fair and reasonable request. As Longboat Key owners for more than 21 years and dog owners for more than 50 years, approving this request would be a significant asset to the community.
Julius and Beverly Rauch
+ Cell phone tower would impact island life negatively
I am writing this letter in strong opposition to the proposed cell phone tower on the grounds of the Longboat Island Chapel. My wife and I have been full-time residents of Longboat Key since 2003 and are raising four children on this beautiful island. We both use cell phones and have rarely experienced reception problems. In fact, I rely heavily on my cell phone in my chosen profession. I encourage those who are experiencing these problems to switch carriers or contact their current provider or retailer to see if they can obtain a cell phone signal booster.
Second, we oppose this tower for aesthetic reasons. Our house is approximately three blocks from the chapel. (We can see the steeple from our windows, and I very much enjoy seeing the illuminated cross at night before I go to bed.) I believe the proposed tower would be an eyesore and negatively impact property values. The tower would be a highly visible industrial blight on our otherwise pristine island.
Finally, I am concerned about the long-term health effects a powerful cell-phone tower presents. I am not persuaded by the so-called expert opinions of some on their safety. One needs only to look at the history of modern science and medicine to see many examples of devices and medications that were once deemed safe only to be later recognized as dangerous. I am even more wary of individuals who provide this opinion for a fee and cell phone companies and vendors whose only motivation on our island is to make a profit.