Anything and everything left on the beaches usually finds its way into the Coastal Bays, and in recent years there have been highly effective efforts to reduce all of this waste: Cigarette butts, cans and other detritus.
But because Ocean City and Assateague Island are both pet friendly and pet popular not all traces of a visit are eliminated. Indeed it’s the evidence of the animal that is the problem rather than the animal itself.
A little bit of poo is fertilizer – a lot is poison. With the coastal area home to a diverse band of dedicated poopers importing more poo is getting close to being more than the ecosystem can tolerate in a healthy way.
And if you’ve been on Assateague Island and seen the throughput of the horses residing there — not to mention the other wildlife, the horses alone do fine – you can see where one load doesn’t matter much, but more than a few can raise eyebrows by a different method.
Even if you have a teensy little dog who does teensy little business, lots of other people do too. And even little bits add up over time.
To help raise awareness of the aggregate guano the Maryland Coastal Bays is naming a spokesdog this Thursday at 5:30 on the Ocean City Boardwalk at Division Street. Mayor Rick Meehan will present the winning dog with a gift basket from local business Paws and Claws for the dog’s help in bringing awareness to local business. Not commerce. The other kind of business.
More than 40 dogs were submitted by their owners for the coveted spokesdog position. Online voting ended a while back and this ceremony will declare the winner. Even if you didn’t win, or didn’t even participate – bring down your pooch for some free treats.
The chosen spokesdog will be making appearances throughout the year to encourage pet owners to clean up after themselves and their pets and to promote the cleanliness which will support the bays.
Since the Ocean City beach routinely wins clean beach awards and citations, which in turn brings visitors back to our Ocean City hotels and restaurants, we all have a say in what goes into the water. Even if you just like visiting occasionally for a day trip or have a favorite Ocean City restaurant without people to support it the beach will suffer. If the businesses suffer because the beaches suffer it just gets more unpleasant from there and really we’re trying to talk about puppies here. The puppies are the important part.
So I guess we’re saying if you take your dog out for a walk on the beach – which everyone is perfectly entitled to do within certain dates, and dogs love walks too. It just doesn’t take very much to stuff a plastic bag or similar container in your pocket before you leave and place it in a proper container once the dog has taken its constitutional. If you do it already you are literally our favorite people.
Everything finds its way into the Coastal Bays eventually. We can reduce the impact of those things by making conscious and informed decisions about the impact of those choices. Leaving leavings is excusable and understandable in certain situations, but preservation of the beach environment is also important to the things that make Ocean City work. With miles of beaches and numerous hotels, motels, vacation rentals, restaurants, retail businesses and a Boardwalk to support what makes Ocean City work for everyone is what will make Ocean City work best.