Man protesting lack of bathrooms at Warren Dunes dog beach
WARREN DUNES STATE PARK —
Tuesday was a beautiful day to relax at the beach, but one Michigan man's holiday wasn't so peaceful. He's fighting for access to a public restroom.
He says the rules prevent him from using the bathroom when he's with his dog.
The Warren Dunes Dog Beach has been around for less than a decade, but it has already been ranked on national lists as one of the top dog beaches in the country. One frequent visitor says while it may be friendly for dogs, the beach isn't as friendly for their owners.
"The issue is there's no restrooms available for somebody with a dog. I am not allowed to cross this point. If I cross there, I'm breaking the law," said dog-owner Ted Ream.
Ream brings his beagle Oberon to the beach year round, but the closest bathroom to the dog beach is surrounded by areas where dogs are not allowed. Ream says the signs and the patrols make him wary to use the restroom.
"Usually we don't go. That's the big problem. I got stopped twice quickly two years ago. They stopped me right away twice, then you kind of just quit going," Ream said.
Scott Pratt, with the Department of Natural Resources, says they like to keep dogs out of buildings and would prefer someone else to watch the dog while the other person uses the restroom. But he understands dog owners may want another option.
“We're looking into options. We're trying to move into dog-friendly beaches and all that kind of stuff," Pratt said.
"The one thing we have to keep in mind is that we have to go statewide and not park for park. So any types of changes or policy or procedure that we look forward to, we have to make sure that we're able to utilize them throughout the state," Pratt said.
Ream says he just wants the signs to evolve with the beach.
"What they did is they opened that to dogs, and they never changed the rules on the bathrooms," Ream said.
DNR says the bathroom closest to the dog park is one of the oldest at Warren Dunes. Pratt says they will look into a multi-purpose facility to accommodate the dog park when renovating.