Dogs on the beachSome dog owners want to walk their dogs on Ogunquit beach during the summer months as well as in the spring and fall. Aside from the problems of the tourists here – they want to have their dogs on the beach in the morning and in the late afternoon and evening till 11 pm – and aside from the federally protected piping plover on the beach at this time, as well as the further burden on our police and animal control officer, dogs on the beach also may well increase the disease laden bacteria possibly present in our beach sand.

The Boston Globe reported on August 1, 2015 that researchers at the University of Hawaii found bacteria in the sand from 10-100 times greater than in the seawater.

One scientific study conducted by four Miami researchers from different federal departments found that the fecal coliform bacteria from ONE dog fecal ‘event’ was equivalent to 6,940 bird fecal ‘events’ – something to consider.

Walker_on_BeachMoreover, Infected dog poop can harbor a long list of diseases and parasites that may well linger in our beach sand. Anyone who comes into contact with that —be it through playing, walking barefoot or any other means—runs the risk of coming into contact with those diseases and parasites. Children are most susceptible, since they often play in the sand and put things in their mouths or touch their eyes.

In fact, one gram of dog poop – about a quarter of a teaspoon of the stuff – is calculated to contain some 23 million coliform bacteria, so even if a responsible dog owner picks up after his or her dog, it is probable that coliform bacteria will still exist in the sand.

This is a serious situation that we on the conservation commission, charged with protecting and ensuring a clean and healthy Ogunquit beach, must discuss with those who want to walk their dogs on the beach during the summer, spring, and fall and come to some sort of understanding.