Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No dogs at Puffer's Pond

Jake and Jada

Tonight, under a full moon, the Amherst Conservation Commission voted 4 in favor 1 opposed with 1 abstention to nix the off leash policy for dogs at Puffer's Pond North Beach, usually referred to as "Dog Beach," and simply ban dogs from both beaches (and in the water) at the popular North Amherst seasonal destination spot.

The Commission spent the vast majority of the 75 minute discussion period talking about the off leash policy at Amethyst Brook and Mill River Conservation areas.

The first vote on a motion by member Todd Walker (a long distance runner who uses the trails frequently) to enact a leash law at both Mill River and Amethyst Brook--a measure supported by animal control officer Carol Hepburn and Conservation Director David Ziomek--failed with a 3-3 vote.

The compromise motion that overwhelmingly passed 5-1, which Mr Walker considered "no compromise at all", maintains for another six months the ten year old status quo, but restricts the hours for dogs to roam free from dawn until 10:00 AM. New signage will be erected with the off leash hours and rule that dogs must always be under voice control. The commission also strongly encourages the town manager seek to establish a dog park.

With a population in town of around 1,400, it's too bad dogs can't vote.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dogs not only can't vote, they can't read. Hopefully, the owners will read the signs ...

Anonymous said...

Stupid. Plain and simple. Why would whether a dog is on leash or off come under the purvue of the Conservation Commission?

Are the fucking coyote's on a leash?

Nanny State

Anonymous said...

The Conservation Commission should look at all town owned land and decide which land is most appropriate for free-running dogs. Amythest Brook probably isn't since it is close to houses, kids and a lot of non-dog walkers use it. A big field may be more fun for the dogs.

Anonymous said...

anon@8:54,

good idea- the old landfill, previously slated for a solar farm but blocked by neighbors, would make a perfect place for all the dogs to run and poop in. That should be the town dog park! It seems like divine justice and more than a little ironic...

Anonymous said...

The only way things will change is if we hold at least one "dog-in:" Have as many people who are willing and available show up with their dog(s) at a designated hour somewhere very visible and significant, such as the main intersection of town and block traffic....
AND send letters of complaint to the conservation commission: babies and toddlers have been seen pooping in puffer's pond, and parents have been spotted cleaning soiled diapers in the pond. Therefore, let's ban all babies and toddlers, as well as their parents from puffer's pond, because they are posing a health hazard.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know about enforcement? Fines/Penalties etc?

tx

p.s. lots of people exercise their dogs off leash at the old landfill, I am not aware of any complaints from the abutters - and I would expect pretty universal assent if the solar plans were replaced with a dog park

LarryK4 said...

I'm told by a very reliable source that "DEP would require extensive additional studies on the impact of having dogs and owners actively using the site."

Anonymous said...

A wise decision. Once bit, twice shy. No need for a lawsuit when someone get disfigured. Do you want your child facing plastic facial surgery when an unleashed dog runs up and bites them on the face?

Anonymous said...

How many dog bites have happened at Amythest Brook?

Does anyone know?

Marmat Kat said...

> How many dog bites have happened at Amythest Brook?

I wonder if an even more helpful question might be, "How many Amherst residents are afraid to visit Amethyst Brook because of threatening dogs?" Aggressive dogs that scare the !@#$ out of people - that's something this outcome doesn't address. I ride there a lot, and I'm not optimistic about its becoming safer.

Question: Why the heck didn't the Commission give Carol some teeth (pardon the expression) to enforce even the weak rules we have now?

And, why didn't the Commission listen to the strong recommendations of David and Carol to institute a strict leash law?

Finally, did anyone notice that two of the members (the newest?) hadn't given the topic enough thought to put together even partially coherent suggestions? I thought the meeting was a disaster, personally.

Anonymous said...

one of the first credible sites i found on-line cites a study which says 1,000 americans a day are treated in hospital emergency rooms for dog bites. it really doesn't matter how many bites have occurred at amethyst... it's just a matter of time.