IF you go down to Wiborg Beach on the early side — say, 7:30 a.m. — the first person you might run into is Steven Gaines, the author, who comes with his dog Shepsil. “I’m here every single day of the year, even if there’s a snowstorm,” he said.
By 8 a.m., more dogs arrive, accompanied by people wielding cups of coffee and tennis-ball flingers. If it’s a summer weekend, there will be several dozen dogs, frolicking on the sand and in the water while their owners mingle. Nearly everyone carries a Mutt Mitt, a plastic bag for removing waste.
“It’s a way to meet people,” said Mark Stearns, who drives with his wife and two French bulldogs from Philadelphia to East Hampton every weekend, year-round. “We’ve met a lot of people because of the dogs.”
Just before 9 a.m., the dogs and their owners trek to the parking lot, complying with a law that bans dogs from the beach after 9 a.m. and before 6 p.m. during the summer season. By day, the families with their children trickle in, setting down towels on the sand that the dogs have vacated.
This is where the conflict comes in.
“There’s poop out there everywhere, and when it gets hot out here, it stinks so bad,” said Suzzanne Fokine, a year-round resident who uses the beaches daily for exercise and meditation. “We wouldn’t let our kids poop on the beach, so why do we let dogs poop on the beach?”
Read it all here.
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From an email forwarded to us:
I was very upset today. There was a very severely probably mortally) injured female mallard within the fencing of the upper pond just by the dog beach where that path goes up to the waterfall and then over the hill to the nethermede. It had a horrible gash across its breast, and flies were swarming in it. It was standing quietly, and its mate was lying a few feet away curled up by the pond. It was one of the most pififul sights I ever saw, particularly after seeing the horror show that's going on in the gulf.
I managed to flag down a policewoman in a scooter who went to see it. She said she would try to contact a park ranger or someone. I think she realized how distressed I was.
I wasn't sure how the duck got such an enormously long and wide gash, but I suspect that a dog might have attacked her. The chance that she was hit by a car is remote, since she was nowhere near the road, and I don't know if she could have managed to fly all the way back to the pond. I don't know if she could have been attacked by a large raptor, but I guess it's a possibility. The fact that she was so close to the dog beach leads me to suspect that it was an offleash dog that was the culprit.
Tupper Thomas probably will say that unleashed dogs attacking birds--which she has said never happens--is just part of nature.