Access to Fairfield beaches
& pertinent state regulations
CURRENT RULES for 2018/19 Winter Season:
(Monday) October 01, 2018 – (Sunday) March 31, 2019
Rules governing access for dogs and their guardians are reviewed and established by the Rules Subcommittee of the Parks & Recreation Commission (P&RC) for the Town of Fairfield, CT.
Along Fairfield's 5 miles of Long Island Sound coastline are
5 Town beaches:
880 South Benson Rd. & Beach Rd.
(323 Fairfield Beach Road)
(Fairfield Beach Road): Rickards Beach is contiguous to Penfield Beach, and demarcated as a boundary of "Penfield Beach" in on-site signage)
(1401 Sasco Beach Road)
SOUTH PINE CREEK BEACH
(1424 S. Pine Creek Road)
(1505 Pequot Avenue)
find Jennings Beach:
The pertinent document is entitled “Beaches,” which can be accessed through the P&RC website, under the Rules & Regulations Tab, (or, open the PDF immediately, here); and most particularly:
Section 14 – (a), regarding access for “domestic animals” (earlier regarded as “pets”) and which includes horses; (section (b) refers to “open space areas,” under concurrent jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission, and is only partially at issue for our group).
Of the town’s six beaches, only Jennings Beach is designated as “leash free/OFF-leash.”
DOGS PERMITTED DURING THE “WINTER SEASON”:
01 OCTOBER - 31 MARCH:
Dogs are not permitted on any other dates than
01 October to 31 March, (including the parking areas for beaches); (§14 (a) (i)).
A dog is considered to be accompanied by a responsible person at all times.
During the period permitted: dogs must be leashed at all times on Fairfield beaches;
Exception: dogs may be off-leash on Jennings Beach only, provided they are under observation and (voice) control of the guardian responsible for them (§14 (a) (ii); also, Local Ordiance, §48-1,2,3).
Enforcement: is the responsibility of Fairfield Animal Control.
Dogs are prohibited
Dogs are prohibited (without qualification) from “boardwalks,” “pavilions” and playgrounds.
“Pavilions” would include: the concession (food service and restrooms) area of Jennings Beach; and the Penfield Pavilion Complex I (concession/food service, banquet area, locker rooms: 323 Fairfield Beach Road), and Complex II, (Jacky Durell A-frame: 401 Fairfield Beach Road), and the attending boardwalks or paved areas; playgrounds include the Henry Rowland Memorial Playground (“Sand Castle Playground”), plus those at the Penfield Complex, and Ash Creek/Penfield Mills (§14 (a) (ii)).
Enforcement: Fairfield Animal Control.
OTHER PERTINENT REGULATIONS:
Leashed dogs are permitted in the parking area of the Town Marina (adjacent to Jennings Beach) year-round, and leashed dogs may enter the dock area to enter or leave boats. While in the dock area, accountability for behavior of dogs lies with their guardian but also is the responsibility of the boat slip holder/renter; (§14 (a) (iii)).
Leashed dogs are permitted in the “Ash Creek Open Space Area” (Ash Creek/Penfield Mills & Ash Creek/Riverside; adjacent to the Town Marina: see map) excepting the picnic area or playground area;
(§14 (a) (iv), (v)).
Concurrent/parallel regulations and state laws:
Dogs are not permitted to “roam at large” (that is: unattended, or off-leash) in any town park, play lot, beach, open space area or marina. Dogs are not permitted in any town park or play lot at any time (Beaches, Definitions: Rules and Regulations, §14; also CGS Chapter 435, §22-364).
Note that 22-364 provides that “The unauthorized presence of any dog on the land of any person other than the owner or keeper of such dog or on any portion of a public highway when such dog is not attended by or under the control of such owner or keeper, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of the provisions of this subsection.”
State Fine: $92.
Additional Fines: A dog that bites while roaming can subject the guardian to a fine of up to
$1000 and a 6-month prison term.
Enforcement: is the responsibility of Fairfield Animal Control.
§14 (b) The following rules shall apply on all open space areas other than Ash Creek:
(i) All dogs must be leashed, or if unleashed, kept under the control of the person responsible for them at all times.
(ii) All dogs must be leashed within one hundred feet (100-ft.) of a parking area or picnic area, or such other areas as may be designated by the Conservation Commission.
Persons with dogs in their vehicles shall park in areas to be designated by the
(iv) All persons shall remain on designated trails as marked by the Conservation Commission.
(v) All persons walking dogs shall endeavor to remain on designated trails as marked by the Conservation Commission.
(vi) No more than three (3) dogs may be walked by a person on any open space area.
C.G.S: Chapter 435:
"Dogs and Other Companion Animals"
All dogs on Fairfield beaches must be currently licensed
(CGS §22-339, §22-349);
Fine: ($75) “the appropriate license fee specified in this section, the town clerk's fee and a penalty of one dollar for each month or fraction thereof the dog remains unlicensed.”
Enforcement: Fairfield Animal Control.
All dogs on Fairfield beaches must be current on rabies vaccination
(CGS §22-339[b]), (Fine: $136).
All dogs on Fairfield beaches must be wearing a license plate/tag affixed to a collar
(CGS §22-341), (CGS §22-349).
Note that “the design and the shape of such tags or plates shall be changed each year, and such tags or plates for each year shall be of uniform design and material throughout the state. Any dog found roaming at large upon any public highway or common or upon the premises of any person other than its owner, without a tag as provided in this section, shall be presumed to be an unlicensed dog.”
Fine: $75 (provided by: §22-349)
Enforcement: Fairfield Animal Control
All dogs on Fairfield beaches must be wearing a rabies plate/tag affixed to a collar
Sec. 22-359e. Tags and certificates indicating rabies vaccination. Any veterinarian who administers rabies vaccines to dogs and cats shall supply rabies vaccination tags and certificates of vaccination as required by section 22-339c and shall issue such tags and certificates to all dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies. Sponsors of rabies vaccination clinics shall also supply and issue rabies tags and vaccination certificates for all dogs and cats vaccinated at such clinics. The tag shall be of metal and embossed with the year of issue, name and address of the issuing veterinarian or sponsor of the vaccination clinic, and be serially numbered. The serial number shall be recorded on the vaccination certificate. The tag shall be of a size, color and shape that is plainly visible at a reasonable distance for the purposes of inspection by a canine control officer, regional canine control officer or warden of a municipality. The tag shall be distinguishable from a dog license tag and shall be securely attached to the collar or harness of the dog in the same manner as provided for license tags or plates under section 22-343. The veterinarian or sponsor of the vaccination clinic that has vaccinated such animals shall maintain a sequential record of the rabies tag serial numbers and corresponding owners' names for all vaccinated dogs and cats for a period of three years.
(N.B.: §22-343 references §22-341 and §22-343)
REmoval of Dog Waste
(L.O. §48-1), (CGS §22a-250 [a], [b]), (CGS Ch. 446d: §22a-248)
Dog Guardians are responsible to remain alert to their dogs' elimination needs, for cleaning up after their dogs (including in the parking areas adjacent to the beaches and the Town Marina); and for disposing of waste appropriately. The Town does not supply bags for this purpose.
Dog Guardians should not discard dog waste “bags” in containers intended or designated for cigarette disposal, either on the beach or adjacent to the Town marina.
Fine: $25/90/100: Guardians who fail to clean up after their dogs are subject to a $25 fine*, pursuant to Fairfield’s existing Town-wide dog waste ordinance (L.O. §48-1); [amended by the RTM in October 2017 to $100]; however, note that signage at Town beaches stipulates that violations will be penalized at the same $90 fine as per transgressions of the leash requirement (i.e., exception and higher fine
prevails at beaches); also, CGS Chapter 446d: Solid Waste Management §22a-248 provides for a fine
of up to $199.
Enforcement: Fairfield Animal Control.
Fairfield Beach Access members are committed to a reasoned and considerate approach for publicly recognizing legitimate concerns of other dog guardians, non-dog guardians, and perhaps most significantly: of those who may not always appreciate dogs at town beaches.
Within the framework that it is necessary to acknowledge that there will always be competition within shared public spaces, our primary goal is to build communication channels, and foster productive relationships among ourselves, Town government, and other stakeholders, in order to develop solutions that pro-actively resolve conflict.
Without exception, our members are appropriately protective of their reputation and anxious to ensure long-term stability of beach access for not only their own but all dogs. To accomplish that, they aspire to represent the dog-guardian community positively. Being habitually vigilant about remaining aware of and cleaning up after their four-legged family members—as they would obviously do with regard to any form of litter—is a part of that mindset.
our group cleans Jennings beach weekly
Our members support aggressive and unconditional pursuit of violations of Fairfield’s dog waste ordinance as transgression against public law, established public heath metrics, and common courtesy both to the dog guardian community and to the public at large— and are opposed to Town resources being distracted for any cleanup.
In 2008, 400 of our members who signed our petition formally requested that the ordinance be augmented: specifically, that the fine be increased from $25 to $200. As a group, we are committed to the belief that the ordinance should be strengthened—and enforced—so that it would be regarded more meaningfully. (Note: in October of 2017 Fairfield's Representative Town Meeting [RTM] voted to amend the fine to $100. The Parks and Recreation Commission has determined that this change will not impact fines at the beaches, as they intersect with state law).
Fairfield Beach Access members will continue to work for ensuring awareness and compliance with established regulations regarding the limits of leash-free/off leash areas, and excepting the provisions of state law pursuant to the “Public Trust Doctrine,” actively support these rules as means to ensure orderly and mutually respectful enjoyment of Fairfield’s beaches with our dogs. (Officially reported complaints and bite incidents are rare, and so statistically low that we no longer report them on this site).
RELEVANT STATE LAWS: NUISANCE; HAZARDOUS WASTE, LITTERING; LICENSING, TAGS; RABIES VACCINATION
Chapter 435. CGS Sec. 22-363. Nuisance.
No person shall own or harbor a dog or dogs which is or are a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition or excessive barking or other disturbance, or, by such barking or other disturbance, is or are a source of annoyance to any sick person residing in the immediate vicinity. Violation of any provision of this section shall be an infraction for the first offense and such person shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both for each subsequent offense and the court or judge may make such order concerning the restraint or disposal of such dog or dogs as may be deemed necessary.
CGS Sec. 22-364. Dogs roaming at large.
Intentional or reckless subsequent violation.
(a) No owner or keeper of any dog shall allow such dog to roam at large upon the land of another and not under control of the owner or keeper or the agent of the owner or keeper, nor allow such dog to roam at large on any portion of any public highway and not attended or under control of such owner or keeper or his agent, provided nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit or prohibit the use of hunting dogs during the open hunting or training season.
The unauthorized presence of any dog on the land of any person other than the owner or keeper of such dog or on any portion of a public highway when such dog is not attended by or under the control of such owner or keeper, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of the provisions of this subsection. Violation of any provision of this subsection shall be an infraction.
Sec. 22-364a. Intentional or reckless release of domestic animal which causes damage.
Any person who intentionally or recklessly releases a domestic animal that enters upon the real property of another person and causes damage to such real property in an amount in excess of one hundred dollars shall have committed an infraction.
Chapter 445: Hazardous Waste, Sec. 22a-115, Definitions.
As used in this chapter: (1) "Hazardous waste" means any waste material which may pose a present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly disposed of, treated, stored, transported, or otherwise managed, including (A) hazardous waste identified in accordance with Section 3001 of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (42 USC 6901 et seq.), (B) hazardous waste identified by regulation by the Department of Environmental Protection, and (C) polychlorinated biphenyls in concentrations greater than fifty parts per million, but does not mean by-product material, source material or special nuclear material, as defined in section 22a-151, or scrap tires; ...
Chapter 446d: Solid Waste Management Sec. 22a-248. (Formerly Sec. 22a-81). Definitions.
As used in sections 22a-247 to 22a-249, inclusive, 22a-250 and 22a-251: (4) “Litter” means any discarded, used or unconsumed substance or waste material, whether made of aluminum, glass, plastic, rubber, paper or other natural or synthetic material, or any combination therof, including, but not limited to any bottle, jar or can, or any top, cap or detachable tab of any bottle, jar or can, any unlighted cigarette, cigar, match or any flaming or glowing material or any garbage, trash, refuse, debris, rubbish, grass clippings or other lawn or garden waste, newspaper, magazines, glass, metal, plastic or paper containers or other packaging or construction material which has not been depostited in a litter receptacle;
Sec. 22a-250. (Formerly Sec. 22a-87). Littering or dumping prohibited. Orders. Procedures. Penalties.
a) No person shall throw, scatter, spill or place or cause to be blown, scattered, spilled, thrown or placed, or otherwise dispose of any litter
(1) upon any public property in the state,
(2) upon any public land in the state,
(3) upon any private property in this state not owned by such person, or
(4) in the waters of this state, including, but not limited to, any public highway, public park, beach, campground, forest land, recreational area, mobile manufactured home park, highway, road, street or alley except:
(A) When such property is designated by the state or any political subdivision thereof for the disposal of garbage and refuse, and such person is authorized to use such property for such purpose; or
(B) into a litter receptacle in such a manner that the litter will be prevented from being carried away or deposited by the elements upon any part of said private or public property or waters. For the purposes of this subsection, “public land” means a state park, state forest or municipal park or any other publicly-owned land that is open to the public for active or passive recreation.
(b) (1) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred ninety-nine dollars. One-half of any fine collected pursuant to this subsection shall be payable to the state and one-half of such fine shall be payable to the municipality in which the arrest was made unless the arrest was made by a conservation officer, special conservation officer or patrolman appointed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection under authority of section 26-5, in which case one-half of such fine shall be payable to the Department of (Energy and) Environmental Protection.
(2) Whenever any person is convicted of a violation of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section, the court shall, in addition to imposing the fine authorized by subdivision (1) of this subsection, impose a surcharge in an amount equal to fifty per cent of such fine.* Any such surcharge collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be payable to the municipality in which the arrest was made unless the arrest was made by a conservation officer, special conservation officer or patrolman appointed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection under authority of section 26-5, in which case such surcharge shall be payable to the Department of (Energy and) Environmental Protection.
*(A citation within the Public Trust area could thereby reach $298).
CGS Chapter 435; Sec. 22-338. Licensing of dogs. Fees. Penalties. Rabies certificate. Exemption.
(a) Each owner or keeper of a dog of the age of six months or older, except dogs kept under a kennel license as provided in section 22-342, shall cause such dog to be licensed in the town clerk's office in the town where such dog is kept, on or before June thirtieth, annually, or at such time as such dog becomes six months old, and annually thereafter, on or before June thirtieth. The owner or keeper shall pay to such town clerk for such license the sum of seven dollars for each neutered male or spayed female dog and the sum of twelve dollars for each unneutered male dog and each unspayed female dog, and one additional dollar in each case as the town clerk's fee for issuing a tag and license as provided in section 22-340. Two dollars from each license fee collected for a neutered or spayed dog shall be deposited into the DOAG Animal Population Control Fund. If an owner or keeper of a dog fails to procure a license as required by this section, such owner or keeper shall pay the appropriate license fee specified in this section, the town clerk's fee and a penalty of one dollar for each month or fraction thereof the dog remains unlicensed.
(b) Any owner or keeper applying for a license for a dog under subsection (a) of this section shall submit to the town clerk a rabies certificate signed by a veterinarian, or a copy thereof, stating that such dog has been vaccinated against rabies, the date of the vaccination and the duration of the immunity provided by the vaccine. No license shall be issued unless the certificate indicates that the immunity provided by the vaccine is effective at the time of licensing.
Sec. 22-339 Fees. Rabies certificate. Rabies vaccination required for dogs and cats. Booster vaccination required. Proof of vaccination.
(b) Any person acquiring an unlicensed dog from a dog pound shall be issued a temporary license by the town clerk, or his agent deputized pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, which shall expire thirty days after the issuance thereof. Prior to the expiration of a temporary license, the person holding the license shall apply for a license for the remainder of the license year, pay the license fee specified in section 22-338, and submit a certificate signed by a veterinarian, or a copy thereof, stating (1) that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies, (2) the date of the vaccination and (3) the duration of the immunity provided by the vaccine. No license shall be issued unless the certificate indicates that the immunity provided by the vaccine is effective at the
time of licensing.
Sec. 22-341. Tag or plate to be attached to dog collar or harness. Cost.
(a) Each owner or keeper of a licensed dog shall keep around its neck or body a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material, to which shall be securely attached a tag or plate issued to such person by the town clerk. If any such tag or plate is lost, the owner or keeper of such dog shall forthwith secure a substitute tag or plate from the town clerk, at a cost of fifty cents.
Fairfield Public Beaches: Beaches, Definitions
§13 (b): No person shall discard or cast any litter, refuse, paper, cans or other trash in/or upon a public beach, parking area, sailboat storage areas or marinas except in containers designated for that purpose by the Parks & Recreation Commission.
Background: Connecticut's anti-litter law dates to 1897 (a $20 fine, citing people who threw nails, tacks scrap iron and other debris on highways or streets). The last significant change was in 1992, when littering was changed from a violation to an infraction: punishable by a fine (set by a Superior Court judge), between $35 and $90, (plus an additonal fee based on the fine and a $20 surcharge). No longer a crime, violators do not have criminal records and can pay the fine by mail.