The very first weekend that Cocoa came into my life, I took her to the Manasquan Dog Beach (Fisherman’s Cove) in Manasquan, New Jersey. Since then, our 60+ mile drive from Jersey City has become a tradition of ours, with dozens of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall trips over the past 3 years. When I pull onto 3rd Avenue, Cocoa’s tail turns into a propeller. She knows exactly where she is because it’s her second favorite place to go on the planet (second only to home)–and Cocoa is no homebody. This Australian Labradoodle has traveled from Maine to South Jersey relaxing in vineyards, running in state parks, fetching balls on various beaches, snoozing in hotels, cuddling at my feet in tons of restaurants and more. Let’s just say that she’s the Shackleton of dogs. Her favorite is still the Manasquan dog beach.
When the news hit today that the Monmouth County Parks System decided to ban dogs at the Manasquan Dog Beach from the hours of 10am to 4pm, anger and sadness set in. Cocoa doesn’t know yet, but I’m going to have to tell her soon. She’s not going to take it very well.
Some volunteers have put together a petition to reverse this decision — PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BY CLICKING HERE. In addition, there’s a peaceful protest for dog owners, dog lovers and non-dog owners in support of keeping the dog beach open to dogs this Sunday, May 24th at 12:30pm over at the dog beach (383 3rd Avenue, Manasquan, NJ). Please attend if you’re able, and please keep the peace to make a positive statement about this unfortunate occurrence.
It’s apparent that those who made this decision are not animal lovers. It’s also apparent that they have not thought of the consequences that could happen with this decision. Let’s review why this is a poor decision made by people that should reconsider their role in municipality:
1. A Decision Made, NOT For the People
This was not a decision made for the people. Karen Livingstone (Representative from the Monmouth County Parks System–firstname.lastname@example.org) said, “It’s [Manasquan Dog Beach] open to all residents of Monmouth County, not just dog owners. We’re looking to share time with dog owners. We need to cut out some time for non-dog owners.” The fact is, everyone has always been welcome to the dog beach–dog owners, cat owners, county park officials and everyone in between. When walking on the dog beach with Cocoa, I would sometimes see a couple walking with their kids, dog-less. Or I would see a paddle boarder coming to shore, dog-less. Never did any of them complain about the dog beach having dogs on it.
2. Poor Communication
“It’s certainly a big change. Not a lot of notice was given,” said Manasquan Councilman Owen McCarthy. Since when does the County make abrupt decisions that do not add value without discussing with others? If the county members can’t run a parks system, how can they run the rest of the county?
3. Economic Loss
I live in Jersey City. On my way to the Manasquan Dog Beach, I ALWAYS stop by one of my favorite Manasquan establishments for a meal–The Corner Bagelry for a pork roll, egg & cheese, dog-friendly Surf Taco for a Mavericks burrito, Hinck’s Turkey Farm for a Thanksgiving Day sandwich or Squan Tavern for a chicken parmigiana dinner. Manasquan has some great food, but now I won’t be going there anymore. Not only will I be missing out on that food, those establishments will be losing my business–and I would bet that they and other businesses will be affected from the hundreds of dog owners that won’t be coming from out of town any longer. To all local Manasquan establishments: You can thank the Monmouth County Parks System for your loss in revenue.
4. The Atlantic Ocean’s Beach is 2000 Feet Away
Let’s just say that there is no lack of things to do in Manasquan or the Jersey Shore for dog-less people. The real beach is 2000 feet away from the dog beach. The real beach is gorgeous.
5. Few Options for Dogs Already
There are already only a few options for dogs and their owners to co-exist in New Jersey. Manasquan dog beach is a well-known spot by people all over the state (and some outside the state) because it’s one of the few places that dogs are welcomed with their owners. Just check out a favorite dog owner site called Bring Fido to see how few options there are. And some of those options have limitations.
6. Where to Go From 10-4pm?
Let’s say that a dog owner brings their dog to the dog beach at 8/9am from somewhere like Jersey City. Where are the dog and owner supposed to go between the hours of 10-4pm? Sure, there are some restaurants that allow dogs to sit outside at the tables, but 6 hours of sitting at a restaurant? What are the other options?
Let’s be realistic. All those that have ever been to the Manasquan dog beach know that it’s generally populated with dogs and their owners. It’s a fact. Very few people do go there without dogs. It’s not to say that non-dog owners are not welcome. It’s just that there are so many other options for non-dog owners to choose from. But, there are so few options for dogs and their owners. The Manasquan dog beach is known as a happy place for dogs. It’s a dog beach. Even Google knows it’s a dog beach (see here). Why give something to the people, let the people use it & love it, then take it away? This is not the resolution and not an intelligent decision.
Let’s stand up for our dogs, our fellow dog owners and those that love to have happy, loyal friends with us during all hours of the day. Take a few seconds to sign this petition and let’s reverse this decision collectively.
By Kevin Shane @stogiemonster