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Letter: Dog At Large

Dear Editor:

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting myself at the Sands Point Village Court to be arraigned for a violation of the village code, namely a “dog at large” summons. My small Wheaton ran off my property and was apprehended about 2 blocks away, most likely chasing a squirrel. A very friendly 9 year old dog, who has resided in Sands Point his whole life, with no prior record other than maybe an occasional bone theft.

Presided over by Justice Alyson Adler, I sat in the village court and listened to several traffic violation cases. One young minor with his new license was charged with speeding, doing 51 in a 30 mile per hour zone. His case was negotiated down from 6 points and a large fine to 3 points and $150. Next up another speeding case that included no insurance — again, negotiated down to a minimal fine. Next up, a woman who had an expired registration — she claimed her car had been hit by a tree in Hurricane Sandy, she bought a new car, the dealer did the paperwork and she was unaware that the registration had not been for a full year. She registered it the following day, showed the judge proof and was given only the mandatory $85 charge and dismissed. A few more stories like these, and then a woman was called to the stand who was given a summons for driving without a license, registration or insurance. The woman did not speak much English, and pled guilty to the charge. The judge then asked her how she got to the courthouse and hoped she was not currently driving. The woman responded that she was driven by the woman in the back of the court. The judge sentenced her to a $150 fine.

Then I was called. I pled guilty with explanation, as I was given the option to do. I simply wanted to state that while my dog was in fact “at large”, we do have an electric fence, hence taking steps to prevent the “at large” charge, but he did in fact run through it. The judge ordered a $250 fine be imposed. I was dumbstruck. My surprise was audible, in that I could not contain my response “you have got to be kidding me!” Justice Adler stated that “there have been issues with dogs in Sands Point, and that my dog might have killed another dog or have been killed.” “While that may be true,” I said, “you just gave a woman who could have killed a person, having no insurance or any business driving, who may not even know how to drive, read English signage and who was most likely not legal, a fine of $150 and no points on her nonexistent license, while a dog running down the block gets a $250 fine…. really?” I asked her where is the logic in that, the justice in that, or the intent here. She told me that dogs can be dangerous.

I am just flabbergasted at the legal process. Had I shown up not speaking English, and not from Sands Point would my fine have been less? Can I tell my kids don’t even bother getting your driver’s license because if you are caught without one, it’s just a $150 fine and you avoid all points? Is it really a stiffer violation to have your dog go errant than to drive around without a license or insurance? I am at a loss, as a taxpaying resident. Remove my dog issue entirely, but the fact that you get a slap on the wrist for driving with no legal documentation to operate a moving vehicle, no insurance and don’t speak the language — I just don’t get it. In the event that this woman would have been in an accident and actually hurt someone — it could have been catastrophic to all parties; that is dangerous.

Still dumbfounded, I feel that residents might need to be aware of what is happening in village courts.

Allyson Sackman Nick

News

Gould A. ‘Stretch’ Ryder III, accomplished sailor, pilot, businessman, civic leader, and steward of the beautiful waterfront of Port Washington, passed away Oct. 24 at The Amsterdam at Harborside Hospice Center in Port Washington.

Stretch, as he was known to all, was well known as part of the crew on Ted Turner’s “Courageous” when it won the America’s Cup in 1977. Turner stayed in touch and visited Stretch last week.

Stretch’s life was marked by numerous personal contributions and accomplishments.

Parents concerned about classroom sizes spoke up at the Port Washington Board of Education meeting, as the board passed an approval of the larger sizes.

Parents spoke of class sizes at the district’s elementary being in the mid 20s, an amount they felt compromised the quality of their children’s education.

“The board of education changed our children’s education for the worse,” said one mother of larger average class sizes the board had approved last year. The comment drew clapping from the audience.


Sports

The Port Washington Soccer Club has presented Schreiber High School graduate and captain of the Port Washington Blue Knights, Cameron Boroumand, with the annual $1,000 Joe Cohen Scholarship.

The award, which has been presented annually for over 10 years, was established by the Port Washington Soccer Club to honor Joseph Cohen, a gifted athlete who attended college on a soccer scholarship. He went on to achieve outstanding success, first academically, and then in his professional life.  He gave his time fully and with great heart to innumerable charitable endeavors.

The tough and talented Port Washington volleyball team defeated Hicksville at an away game this past Friday in all three sets.

With strong returning players who also play on club teams year round, the Port Washington team plays with a certain level of chemistry. Megan Murphy and Kelly Nardone led the way with 12 assists and Mia Walker had six kills.


Calendar

Schreiber Symphony Orchestra - November 6

Port Summer Show - November 6

Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington Meeting - November 7


Columns

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com