It should go without saying that if you take your dog to a sandbar in the May River, you should pick up its waste.
That's especially true if a lot of other people are there to enjoy the sun, sand and water.
Unfortunately, common sense too often takes a vacation. The result may be a push for an ordinance to force us to do what we all know we should do.
Dogs doing their business out in the middle of the river is particularly worrisome given the recent emphasis placed on picking up pet waste on land to help restore the river to good health. Bluffton has a whole marketing campaign urging people to pick up after their pets.
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If dog waste on land is a problem for the river, it stands to reason, dog waste in the middle of the river is a problem.
Now the question is what to do about it.
Wes Jones, chairman of Bluffton's May River Management Plan Implementation Committee, brought up the sandbar subject at the committee's June 22 meeting.
Jones said he saw many dogs on a recent trip to the Crane Island sandbar, upriver from the popular sandbar near Myrtle Island. And he saw a dog poop right next to a child. Dog owners seem to be counting on the tides to do their dirty work.
He said he would seek an ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed on sandbars and for the owners to clean up after them.
The town has an ordinance that says dogs must be leashed or under voice control and owners must pick up the dogs' waste. Beaufort County has an ordinance that says dogs can't "run at large" on streets or highways and other property within the county. The exception is the owner's property.
Getting a law on the books isn't the issue; it's enforcement. The large sandbar is outside town limits, Bluffton officials say. The Crane Island sandbar, another popular spot, may be outside town limits, too.
It's really a question of resources. Sheriff's deputies and Bluffton police patrol local waterways, but generally target efforts for busy holiday weekends.
Deputies say they do warn people about the county leash law and write citations when necessary.
The state Department of Natural Resources enforces state law, not local ordinances.
The real solution lies with each of us. Leave your dog at home or keep the dog under control and pick up after it.
It makes little sense to wring our hands about pet waste on land and then ignore dogs defecating on sandbars in the river.