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Letter to the Editor

An epiphany on the poop problem

A letter writer zeroes in on a potential cause of Longboat's dog poop profusion.

  • By
  • | 8:30 a.m. June 17, 2024
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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I had previously written about the issue of people not cleaning up after their dogs. I cited what I thought was a comprehensive list of reasons. However, I have forgotten a major reason — not having a dog on a leash as required by city ordinances. 

I guess I assumed that everyone would be following the leash ordinance; after all, it is for the safety of the dogs and the residents. But we all know what happens when we assume. I witnessed flagrant disregard for the leash law on city streets, and of course at Joan Durante and Bayfront Park. 

I am not sure why someone would let their dog run loose at the parks. There are signs everywhere indicating that dogs must be on a leash. I was advised by some owners of unleashed dogs that at Joan Durante dogs could run free at the little beach between the boardwalks, approved by some nebulous person. Nonetheless, that is not accurate and unfortunately no one has the authority to grant exceptions to the city ordinance to have your dog always leashed. 

So, what does this have to do with the “poop problem.” Easy, if a dog is not leashed and running free on the trails or in the common areas, then an owner has no idea when and where the dog has pooped. This is above and beyond the safety issues associated with unleashed dogs. 

At my previous residence in the White Mountains, my dogs ran free on millions of acres of National Park lands. We had to teach them to be leashed when we moved to Longboat Key. So again, it begs the question, much like not cleaning up poop, why would anyone flagrantly disregard the city ordinance regarding leashing dogs? 

Again, these people must assume they are “above the law,” privileged and entitled, to say, better than everyone else. I am beginning to understand why neighboring city residents refer to us as “Longnose Key.” 

As I stated previously, we have a beautiful island that is dog friendly, but if people continue to disregard the pet laws, picking up poop and having the dog leased, the next step will be to band dogs completely from the Joan Durante and/or Bayfront Park, much like they are at Quick Point Nature Preserve and Overlook Park. It would be a tragedy for the dogs and their owners that a few people who think the rules do not apply to them, jeopardized the access to recreational areas for everyone, especially the dogs.

— Christopher Laurent, Longboat Key


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