Barnstable residents have additional time to share their thoughts about proposed changes to the town’s dog control regulations.
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A public comment period on the changes is now extended to Dec. 8 after an initial deadline of Nov. 24.
A number of changes to the regulations are under consideration to take effect Jan. 1. Among them is a proposal for new dates during which dog walking is allowed on certain beaches — a plan that has raised questions and concerns among dog owners.
Barnstable dog control proposal includes restrictions at saltwater beaches
The town is looking to prohibit dog walking on “saltwater designated bathing beaches” from April 1 to Sept. 15 — specifically, Dowses, Kalmus, Craigville, Covell, Veterans Park, Eugenia Fortes, Keyes Memorial, Loop, Millway and Sandy Neck (public beach only). This is a change from current rules that prohibit dog walking starting May 15, with a more vague prohibition “on town beach or recreation areas.”
Last week, Hyannis resident Toby Gould questioned the proposed April 1 start to the dog walking prohibition on saltwater beaches, wondering “who swims on April 1?” He told the Times he walks his dog on the Nantucket Sound-facing Keyes Memorial Beach during the offseason, Sept. 15 through May 15.
Cotuit resident Ian Kerwin also submitted an email to Nina Coleman, director of Natural Resources and Sandy Neck, opining that the proposed changes are unfair to dog owners “seeking to use public lands at a time when traffic and visitation remains very low.”
According to Coleman, the state is pushing for the change to April 1 because most of the saltwater beaches are habitats for endangered species that breed in early spring.
Where else in Barnstable would dog walking be restricted?
The proposed regulation changes would also ban dog walking from Joshua Pond, Hathaway’s Pond and Lovells Pond — all freshwater bathing beaches — from May 15 to Sept. 15.
The proposal additionally excludes dogs at all times from “town-owned athletic fields, athletic courts, cemeteries and playgrounds.” It outlines monetary penalties for non-compliance on beaches and in the recreational areas: a $25 for a first offense, $50 for subsequent offenses.
Other changes to proposed Barnstable dog control regulations
Other changes to the dog control regulations pertain to owners with multiple dogs, specifically those breeding dogs for show or sport; call for separate kennel licenses for businesses with four or more dogs, and increase the kennel license fee from $50 to $100.
In addition, new penalties for nuisance and barking dogs are outlined, and the dog licensing dates would change: instead of licenses issued July 1 and remaining effective to June 30, owners would need to renew dog licenses annually on Jan. 1. Finally, the proposed changes require that dogs be restrained on “a leash or chain that must be secured and under control by a human at all times,” eliminating the current language that specifies dogs be restrained only “by a suitable means.”
A hearing on the proposed changes was held Oct. 18.
To read the proposed changes, listen to the hearing or make comments, go to the town’s e-newsletter at for questions, contact Town Manager Mark Ells at [email protected] or Coleman at 508-362-8300 or 508-790-6272.
Material from a Nov. 15 report in the Times by Susan Vaughn was used in this article. Heather McCarron writes about climate change, environment, energy, science and the natural world, in addition to news and features in Barnstable and Brewster. Reach her at [email protected], or follow her on X @HMcCarron_CCT
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