Dog beach request sent back to committee.

July 27, 2015

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The Ludington City Council has sent a request for an additional dog beach back to the cemetery and parks committee.

A resident and a dog-enthusiast group asked the city to allow dogs in the portion of Stearns Beach between the west end of Ludington Avenue and the north breakwater.

During the early July regular meeting of the city council, Spence Riggs asked the council to consider allowing the additional space for dogs. Currently dogs are allowed in an area south of the Loomis Street boat ramps and the middle breakwater. The city also has a dog park located on the northeast side of Cartier Park, but there is no water access there.

Riggs spoke during Monday’s meeting. He said he was representing himself, Mason County Mutts and dog lovers throughout the county.

“I believe the city has already made sufficient accommodations for setting aside space for dogs,” City Manager John Shay stated to the council in a memo. “I also feel that the negatives outweigh the positives in allowing dogs to use the portion of Stearns (Park) beach between the west end of Ludington Avenue and the breakwater. Some people use this area, as it is quieter and has less wave action than the main portion of Stearns (Park) beach. The presence of dogs in this area would affect their enjoyment of this portion of the beach. Furthermore, this area is not readily visible and would likely lead to issues of dog waste not being picked up, even if trash receptacles and ‘mutt mitts’ are made available for the public’s use.”

Riggs, during public comment, said he believed that few people used that portion of the beach and added that he believed the majority of the city’s constituents were likely in favor of allowing dogs in that area.

Muriel Palko, during public comment, said she has a dog and likes to have a place where her dog can cool off. She said the current designated area by Loomis Street boat ramps is too small because water levels have risen recently.

“I like to have some place where you can hang out at the beach,” Palko said.

Palko added that her husband is a volunteer at the downtown visitors’ center and he receives questions daily from visitors asking about dog access at the beach.

Riggs said the group, Mason County Mutts, would furnish a waste receptacle with a ‘mutt mitt’ waste bag attachment, along with two signs marking the designated dog accessible zone. The organization would perform regular beach sweeps every two weeks or as needed to ensure that the area remains clean and free from dog excrement.

He said that people who are afraid of dogs can avoid the area because they have access to the larger beach to the north. Riggs said the city would be asked to enforce the leash and clean-up laws and empty waste receptacles as needed.

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