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Letters to the Editor

Let’s talk dog poop on Longboat Key

A resident writes that he's fed up with entitled dog owners who expect someone else to clean up the mess.

  • By
  • | 8:00 a.m. May 20, 2024
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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I began coming to the area in 2018 and purchased a home in Longboat Key in 2019, moving here permanently in 2023. It always annoyed me that dogs were not allowed on the beach. 

I had traveled to other beaches in the U.S. and the majority made some provision for dogs. Some had specific hours, some specific months, some required proof of residency, etc. So, I had a difficult time understanding why the town of Longboat Key prohibited dogs at all times. That is until I started living here full time and witnessed for myself the dog poop problem.  

This is mystifying. There is an ordinance that an owner must pick up after their dogs. The town has placed “poop” receptacles along Gulf of Mexico Drive. Although the distance between Wake Island and just south of Cannon’s is a bit far as dog poop seems to gather on the side of the road in that area. Perhaps a poop receptacle at Edlee Lane or near Christ Church would be helpful.  

Joan Durante Park has poop receptacles and bags. Bayfront Park has a “dog park” in addition to receptacles and bags. I have two large dogs and walk them at least twice a day. In these walks, dog poop still finds its way onto the side of the road, in peoples’ front yards, on the beach, and at these parks.  

I first blamed the “tourists” and ignorance of our ordinances. But now after living here year-round, I find that the blame rests with the residents. Why would anyone not clean up after their dog? Maybe a lack of bags, but I find dog poop on the trails and grass at both Joan Durante and Bayfront Park — and there is a plethora of bags available. So then why? 

That question was somewhat answered for me the other day. At a local shopping center, I saw a woman get out of a very expensive car carrying what I am sure was some sort of “designer” small dog. She walked to the edge of the adjacent park and walked the dog until it relieved itself in the grass. 

She then proceeded to pick up the dog, but not the poop, and walked back to her car.  I said something to her about cleaning up after her dog, her response was, “he's so small it won’t matter” and she drove off. I took a “poop bag” out of my car, because along with reusable grocery bags, water-filled containers for the dogs, leashes and umbrellas, I carry around “poop bags” and cleaned up her dog’s poop. 

So then why? I suspect it is one of those things that goes along with being entitled and privileged. What other reason would someone who lives here not pick up after their dog?  I thought about taking my dog to her neighborhood and allowing my German shepherd to relieve itself on her lawn. ... but I probably would not be able to get past the gate and security guard.  

This is not a difficult concept. We have a beautiful island that is very dog-friendly, if we do not clean up after our dogs, it will not stay beautiful and dog-friendly for long. If you are entitled and privileged, then hire someone to clean up your dog's poop when you walk.

— Christopher Laurent, Longboat Key


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