Letters to the Editor December 2015

The Editor:

A few years ago in the county where I lived, which had a leash law, I had occasion to go talk to animal control as a result of a neighbor’s complaint of my dog having chased her cat, which was in my yard.

Speaking to the officer at the desk, I explained that I often walked my dog in the empty field across the street and a leash was unnecessary as the dog responded to my commands and came when called. A more senior officer standing nearby listening said, “Oh, voice leash.” How gratifying it was to hear an enforcement officer acknowledge the principle of vocal control of one’s dog as an acceptable alternative to a physical leash.

Laws are instituted to serve a specific purpose. If application of a law does not serve that purpose then enforcement is irrational. “Voice leash” is a widely recognized alternative to a physical leash for controlling one’s dog. Leash law enforcement in cases where the owner is present and can demonstrate voice control of their dog (which is not otherwise being a problem) is simply oppressive law enforcement, a tyranny of law and totally inappropriate for Point Roberts and free society in general.

In my opinion, an appropriate response to this campaign of overly zealous leash law enforcement would be a campaign of civil disobedience on the part of local dog owners who can demonstrate voice control of their dogs and who would be willing to be cited, go to court and argue the merits of their case on that basis. Ideally some sort of “en masse” challenge would be most effective. Come dog owners (and interested parties) get it together.

Additionally, I am very much opposed to the idea of doggie reservations, little prison exercise yards for unleashed dogs, commonly called dog parks. Point Roberts is a beautiful place and it would be a tragedy to restrict unleashed dogs and their owners to one tiny corner. The more that dogs are restricted, (with leash laws, etc.) the more necessary those restrictions become as neither dogs nor people have the opportunity to learn how to freely and responsibly interact.

My own dog, which died last summer, was well known as the “lion dog” in the Maple Beach neighborhood. She was quite outgoing and social (something not possible under leash law restrictions) and people took pleasure in meeting and greeting the dog. She got around while I was busy working and if anyone was ever bothered by her presence, I never heard about it.

Wagner Harris

Point Roberts

The Editor:

I would like to thank all of the people who voted for me on November 3 to the parks board. As a new Point Roberts Park and Recreation commissioner, I hope to engage the community through an open dialog on how Point Roberts Park and Recreation can best serve them.

I would like to extend an invitation to the community to participate in helping myself and the other commissioners as we develop a strategic plan over the next year that includes preservation, maintenance and enhancements to the current assets of the Point Roberts Community Center and Baker Field. It is my hope that the new strategic plan will help develop new recreational opportunities for kids, teens, adults and seniors.

As a new commissioner, one of the duties  I must complete is the building of the new library. The Friends of the Point Roberts Library (FOPRL) have done a commendable job raising funds for a new library and now the parks board must finish the job. It is vital that the board provide strong oversight during the building process and in how the funds raised by the FOPRL are spent. My hope is that when this project is complete, Point Roberts will have a 21st century library that is a showcase we can be proud of.

Finally I would like to thank the other board members who have taken the time to answer my many questions during this past year. It was through their encouragement that I decided to run for the board. Also, a personal thanks to Mark Robbins whose position I am taking on the board. I know that it will be impossible to replace Mark with all the hours he puts in as a board member but I hope to continue with his legacy of service to the community.

Bennett Blaustein

Point Roberts

The Editor:

It looks like the nanny state has arrived in Point Roberts! I am disappointed to read comments made by sheriff’s deputy Tom McCarthy and his supervisor on enforcing leash laws as reported in the November issue of the All Point Bulletin. Their paternalism, coupled with a lack of respect for dog owners in our community, reflects poorly on their law enforcement stewardship and understanding of community life in Point Roberts.

I am a resident and responsible dog owner. My dog is on a leash in crowded areas or where people congregate on the Point. She responds to voice commands and stays close by when off-leash. I let her run free in parks and trails during late evening and early morning hours. And I am not alone in this activity.

One of the things I most appreciate about living in Point Roberts is the ability of dogs to get a proper amount of exercise off-leash. Almost every dog I meet is happy and relaxed as a result and a vast majority of people and dogs here are dog-friendly. If the sheriff’s deputies understood animal behavior he would know this is due, in part, to dogs and other animals (especially horses) getting enough exercise and socialization off-leash. He would also know incidents of negative dog behavior are more common when on-leash than off-leash. And no animal receives sufficient exercise being on lead.

I hope McCarthy and his supervisor will learn to appreciate the unique nature of life here on the “Point” and use common sense and seek community support to address this issue rather than the rigid use of the law. The success of the deputy’s tenure here depends on this support.

Dr. Shawn Ireland

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Thank you to all in our community who were so generous with help and donations throughout this past year. We are touched by the caring of our Point folks. We continue to serve 50–60 people each week and provide not just food but also assist with other needs including clothing, will preparations for seniors, information on supplemental health insurance (Medigap) and any number of special needs that arise from time to time.

Many of you know we operate out of several different locations around the Point and the challenges of picking up, delivering, setting up and rotating food among the various freezers, refrigerators, storage spaces and units three to four times a week requires a great deal of time and effort from our all-volunteer crew. The additional tasks of collection from our food sources on the Point and in Tsawwassen and Bellingham several times a week frequently competes with those weekly cycles.

It is sometimes difficult work and it adds a complexity that spurs us on to look for and find solutions here in Point Roberts. We really need a place to consolidate and work out of that would make it easier for our volunteers to serve the community’s needs. While we hope for a place in the community center, we would really appreciate it if there were one place centrally located for us to place a storage unit with light and electricity that is more secure and accessible.

Please talk with Randy Quarry (945-4156) or Henry Rosenthal (945-1711) if you have a space available. Food and primary needs are essential to providing the foundation upon which each one of us can develop.

We will once again have a Giving Tree at Umpqua Bank with the ages of our children in our community. Please drop off the kids’ gifts at the bank from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, now through December 18.

Again, many, many thanks to you all in our community for your generous nature that is expressed in so many ways. It touches our hearts. You are our light.

Henry Rosenthal

On behalf of Point Roberts

Food Bank Volunteers

The Editor:

The Blaine School District’s Family Service Center serves low income and homeless families and students who attend Blaine school district schools. Our goal is to reduce barriers that students and families may be experiencing so that each student is at school ready to learn. We solely depend on donations from our amazing school district community to provide these products and services.

The family service center’s direct services include providing hygiene and household products such as toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, laundry detergent, dish detergent, paper towels, household cleaners and personal hygiene products. In addition to distributing these products, the center also provides school supplies, gently used clothing, bus tokens, planners/asb cards and other emergency needs, as well as providing many resource referrals to outside agencies.

The family service center is in need of hygiene and household products as well as financial support to offer these services and items. Those who wish to make a donation of supplies may do so at the Blaine School District office, 765 H Street, Monday–Friday. Drop off monetary donations at the district office or mail to: Blaine School District.; Family Service Center; Attn: Jessie Burton; 765 H Street Blaine, WA 98230. All donations are tax deductible. If you have any questions please call the Family Service Center at 332-0740 or email jburton@blainesd.org.

Thank you so much for your consideration and for continually being an amazing community that supports those in need!

Jessie Burton


  1. Patricia Birchall November 24, 2015, 4:20 pm

    Response to Mr. Wagner Harris:

    I am sure your dog is a well-behaved dog who responds to voice commands from you. But some of us do not want a friendly dog to come up and be near us. I like spiders and often hold them … and just as I know that most people are a little squeamish about spiders, dog owners should also be aware that there are some of us who do not love your dog as you do and prefer to look from afar. I’ve only been bitten by a dog once in my life, but its owner assured me that “Sandy” wouldn’t hurt a flea. Well, “Sandy” could and did. Love your dog, go for walks with your dog, work for an enclosed area where your dog can run leash free AND be kept away from people who do not want your dog near them, but please when in a public area with your dog, keep it on a leash. It’s just good manners.

  2. Roosevelt Resident November 21, 2015, 9:58 pm

    There is a leash law for a reason. I want to thank the Sheriff for enforcement. I’ve already seen the impact. It’s nice not to have to worry anymore about all your awesome dogs coming past my fence and into my yard to take a s***, or dig in my garbage. Lets build the dog park and move on, there’s plenty of space for it.


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