Do you have multiple dogs and plan to camp at any of New York State's campgrounds this year? If you care for more than two canine companions, you're in for big disappointment.
For 2012, New York State has instituted a new two dog limit per campsite rule -- in response to what it described as numerous complaints from campers and campground administrators. Right now, your only options are to exclude one or more of your furry friends from an excursion (unthinkable) or reserve more than one campsite (pricey).
Like most responsible dog owners, we get frustrated with inconsiderate folks who don't keep Fido on a leash, or refuse to clean up after him, or allow unreasonable barking. But how those real issues have any correlation to the number of dogs at a campsite is beyond us. Whether an irresponsible owner has one dog or six, the problem remains.
If you're like us, one of the primary reasons we camp is because our dogs are part of the family. And camping is a great vacation for every family member, whether they walk on two legs or four. Mix in one of the many outstanding New York State camping facilities, and a relaxing, successful vacation is almost guaranteed. Well, that used to be the recipe, at any rate.
We have spoken with the Office of Rose Harvey, Commissioner of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Governor Cuomo's legal counsel. Both areas informed us that all parks will enforce the new rule, and there is no room for discretion from camp administrators. We respectfully argued that a two dog limit won't stop irresponsible owners. More distressingly, it punishes owners with more than two dogs who have always followed the rules and been respectful camping neighbors. We even suggested a couple of alternatives:
Allow campsite administrators the option of enforcing the rule (the way many municipalities in New York operate today). If an inconsiderate owner is ignoring park rules, they are subject to expulsion.
Charge a per dog fee for campers with more than two dogs. Again, inconsiderate owners can be expelled, and they lose all fees paid.
We're sure there are other reasonable alternatives, and that's the point. The current two dog limit allows for no flexibility.
Governor Cuomo's legal counsel suggested writing a letter. But we feel there's more strength in numbers. That's why we're starting an online petition, urging New York State to revisit and change the new two dogs per campsite rule. Please sign this petition so all pet owners can once again camp in some of the greatest parks in the U.S.