The Town of Hudson’s decision to ban dogs from Sandy Beach has left the community divided, with dog lovers accusing the town of acting too quickly.
Hudson Mayor Jamie Nichols made the decision this week to ban dogs from the popular spot, after a pit bull-type dog bit a man, wounding his arm.
“This was the right measure to take because it could have been a child,” Nicholls said.
“It could have been someone’s child and it would have been much worse an event had it been someone’s child.”
Up until this week, the town had allowed dogs on leashes on the beach.
In the incident on Tuesday, the dog was on a leash — but its owner couldn’t control him, according to Nicholls.
Nicholls said the town had been reflecting on the dog issue even before the incident. He said few dog owners actually respected the leash rule, allowing their dogs to run freely on the beach.
On Friday, some beachgoers approached by Global News agree that dog owners don’t follow the bylaw and something needed to be done.
“I think it’s the right way to go,” said beachgoer Judy Steele.
“A lot of children play on the beach. Even today a lot of dogs are running loose.”
Many dog owners, though, complain the decision was a kneejerk reaction from the city and goes too far.
“I think it’s ridiculous. People come to this beach mainly because it’s a dog-friendly beach,” said Lexi Eusepi. “That is why we came here today.”
The town admits it doesn’t have enough staff to monitor the beach regularly.
On a sunny mid-morning Friday, almost a dozen dogs roamed the beach off-leash. Two public security members eventually showed up, but not all dog owners left the beach.
“We don’t have the staff,” said Philippe Baron, head of Hudson’s Public Security department.
“We need two or three people to apply the bylaw and it’s very difficult for us.”
Nicholls said it’s likely city council will soften the ban slightly at an emergency town council meeting Friday night.
He said dogs may be allowed to access the beach before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on weekdays.
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