Reasonable Approach to Managing Pets

Dear Editor:

Is Mattapoisett unfriendly toward dogs?

It’s a question that’s become prevalent for those of us who have pets. The latest manifestation is the town’s Animal Control Officer asking people with pets to leave the band concert or be fined. While a town ordinance exists, and the officer was simply doing her job, many of us openly disagree with this ordinance. Moreover, this seems a ridiculous way to ask the town to engage residents and visitors in our community.

This is not new. We’ve banned dogs from Ned’s Point. We’ve banned them from Shipyard Park. We’ve banned them from walking off-leash adjacent to Railroad Avenue. It’s a questionable use of law, time and resources for questionable reasons.

There is essentially no public space in Mattapoisett where pets are allowed (particularly unleashed) without breaking an ordinance. Even in urban communities such as Boston, such spaces exist.

In the case of Railroad Avenue, it was one neighbor who rallied a group that showed up to Town Meeting to leash the dogs, and then left after the agenda item because she got what she wanted. I know; I was there. This was not public safety or health – it was politics.

The issue was brought home again when a recent visitor to our community from Phoenix, Ariz. remarked how unfriendly Mattapoisett is to dogs. Evidently, in her area, they have found a more reasonable approach to managing pets in public spaces.

Perhaps it’s time Mattapoisett found one, as well.

John Theriault



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