Dogs and their owners must follow beach rules

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 24, 2014 

As a committed early morning beach jogger and cyclist, over time I've had my share of encounters with off-leash and uncontrolled dogs. Although it's invariably frightening to be accosted by an unknown charging animal, most end pleasantly with profuse apologies from their keepers.

However, they infrequently result in scratched legs and even a glancing brush or chomp, the assault compounded by unremorseful owners. My most egregious beach dog skirmish was being knocked down and clawed, which the heedless owner dismissed with, "What a friendly good-morning hello!"

A related dog complaint: this morning an apparently zoned-out owner ambling about 50 yards ahead of his dog missed its latrine break on the dune's edge where people walk and turtles nest. My suggestion that he return and clean it up was met with a rude gesture.

Ownership implies responsibility. Dogs and people can peacefully coexist, even on public beaches, with mutual respect and when rules are followed.

Russ Clement

Hilton Head Island

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