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Let the dogs out on Tybee
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Let the dogs out on Tybee


Dogs on the beach at Tybee Island is an idea whose time has come. My dog on the beach with me is a quality of life and property rights issues. I am tired of driving off our Island for dog beach time!

What convinced me was the Georgia Tech Tybee Island Tourism Study that was just release showing the selected "target demographic" that vacations on Tybee. Quoting the study, a Savannah Morning News article (October 6th) called the typical visitors, "educated, professionals, conservative, upper to middle income, and married couples with children."

The result was surprising because it is counter to prevailing sentiment. The demographic classification fits the "responsible dog owner" profile perfectly, and should be a starting point for further research, discussion, and a trial-test for dogs on Tybee Beach.

Hilton Head, St. Simons, Jekyll, and Amelia Islands all allow some form of dog access. These locations are well published in all state, national and international vacations guides. It is a highly marketable access and family vacation decision issue. Jekyll Island is actually ranked # Ten in the USA, "Best Dog Beaches." What do they know that Tybee politicians do not? It appears these other places have worked through all the tough issues - sanitation, water quality, policy, enforcement, education, and compliance.

These tough economic times call for some additional thought and leadership from our politicians. Tybee looses out on millions of dollars of lost tourist revenue because of the dog restriction.

Almost all my Atlantan friends vacation on Hilton Head because they want to vacation with their pet dog. My best friend from Washington, DC just retired and wanted a southern beach house retirement location. He picked Amelia Island over Tybee due to the dog restriction.

Tourists and beach home buyers have many options. Tybee will do well moving forward on this issue. I think it is time for a leash only test and trial area. There are many options: limited hours, seasonal access only, or designated areas. Easing the restriction could be an economic windfall and win-win for all. It has been for other places.

Again, the time has come for a test-trial and new thinking. I would like to see the Tybee Mayor or a City Council member task the City Manger to do a study and present some options for discussion.

A solution cannot be that difficult. I plan to organize the dogs on beach supporters against the minority vocal nihilists to come, and if required move towards a voter referendum.

Bill Gillespie

Tybee Island