Dog Season at Tod’s Point – Ideas Include Separate Fenced Area in the Sand

During Thursday’s Board of Selectmen meeting the possibly extension of the months dogs are allowed at Tod’s Point was on the agenda again.

“As far as the beach extension, we do have birds nesting there in April,” First Selectman Fred Camillo noted. “We want to be very careful about the wildlife being disturbed.”

He said he would prefer to look on the “front side,” with an extension in fall, possibly to Sept, Oct or November.

On April 8, Camillo, who visits the beach with his dogs in the winter, said most towns along the shoreline, including New York, typically have a six month season. He said some towns start on Oct 1; others go until Memorial Day.

Currently dogs owned by residents and non residents alike are allowed at the beach in Greenwich from December 1 through March.

Greenwich’s rules are:

All dogs must remain on a leash in the hands of an adult throughout the park.

• Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 7 feet and under the control of their owner or keeper.

• The person responsible for the dog must hold the leash at all times, per Town ordinance 7-25.

• All dogs must be under control below the mean high water mark and must NOT cause a disturbance to any person or other animal. Ct General Statute 22-364, 22-363

• Dogs must have a valid dog license attached to their collar or harness. CGS 22-341, 22-349, 22-339b

• Violators are subject to fines

"All dogs must remain on a leash in the hands of an adult throughout the park, (Town ordinance 7-25); All dogs must have a valid dog license attached to their collar or harness (CT General Statutes 22-341, 22-349, 22-339b); and All dogs must be under control below the mean high water mark and must NOT cause a disturbance to any person or other animal. (CT General Statute 22-364, 22-363). Lastly, Greenwich Point will be patrolled and violators will be subject to $75-$140 fines.

Camillo said he’d spoken to Susan Fahey, who suggested fencing off an area in the sand where off-leash dogs could romp.

“We’ll continue to take lots of thoughts and ideas from people and arrive at a good policy that matches what’s being done in other towns, but takes into account all users, all residents – dog owners, dog lovers, people who are fearful of dogs, birders, cyclists, hikers – we want as much enjoyment for all of those user groups,” Camillo said.

“I think we can arrive at an even better policy than we have now,” he added.

Select person Oberlander noted that there had been an outpouring on Facebook.

“I tried to count up the pros and cons,” she said. “I’m going to call it a thumb print on one side versus the other. Certainly people have strong opinions.”

“A couple of comments that really struck me was the enforcement for dogs off leash, as well as clean up. There is a question about how effectively the town is doing enforcement,” Oberlander said.

“Before we even consider an extension of the time period, we should continue a dialogue about how better to enforce our existing regulations, so people who want to use the recreational facilities, and who have small children or are scared of dogs, aren’t feeling like they’re threatened and can’t use the facilities because the dogs are there because we’re not enforcing our existing regulations,” she added.

“Similarly, nobody likes to ‘step in it,'” she continued. “We should be considering how to clean up our natural environment. It is Earth Week after all. We want to take out what we bring in from our dogs. We should revisit those issues before we get to any discussion of an extension.”

Camillo said the town ordinance doesn’t align with state law.

He suggested organizing a public forum this summer.

“I would love to see people who are fearful of dogs be able to access the sand during the dog season,” he said. “That’s why Susan bringing up the idea again of a fenced in area on the sand is a really good one.”

Camillo said there was an opportunity to re-establish existing rules because a few bad apples can cause a setback for everybody.

“It’s just respecting the rights of everyone. The reason I’m bringing it up is I’d love to see dog lovers be able to access that beach five or six months, just like other towns. It’s not asking much.”

Since the discussion of dogs at the beach at the previous Selectmen meeting, Jessica DelGuercio, founder of PAWS of Greenwich, started a petition to extend the “season.”

To date it has 129 signatures out of a goal of 200.

The petition notes the town has just one dog park, and it is located by the water treatment plant. It is on a slope. Debris pops up after heavy rain because it was built on landfill. And it gets muddy.

“PAWS of Greenwich and the community of responsible dog owners wish to extend the season for dogs, to start one month earlier and end one month later. November 1 through April 31, annually. This time frame will mimic nearby Rye Playland Beach’s Dog Beach season. 

DelGuercio’s petition also asks for:

1. Additional Dog Waste Stations that are convenient for waste pickup and disposal

2. Fence off a No Dog Zone on the Beach

3. Visible Signage notating all Town dog rules

3. Educational Materials and Pop Up events to promote Responsible Dog Ownership 

Greenwich First Selectman Hopes to Extend Dog Season at Town Beaches

April 8, 2021