Walking a Dog: How a Crusader’s Call Sent a Woman Spiraling Into Hell

You can take your dog to the beach in East Hampton Village if you do it before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. and if you clean up after whatever the dog might do.

Here’s what happened to a woman last Tuesday when she took her little dog down to the beach at 5:20 p.m., 40 minutes before it was legal.

First of all, we have, down at Georgica Beach where this took place, an anti-dog crusader. His name is Matt Norklun and he sounds the alarm when someone has a dog out at the beach at the wrong hour. He also is an anti-dog-poop crusader. Once he collected a bag of dog poop from the beach, went to Village Hall and left it on the floor, leaning it against the entry door to the office of Village Administrator Larry Cantwell. Norklun wants to change the laws. No dogs on the beach for him, anytime. He hoped this would help that to happen. Instead, it got him a $500 fine.

Get a life, Matt Norklun, I say to him. Anyway, it was 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday and there she was, walking her dog, and Norklun sounded the alarm by picking up the phone and calling the cops. Officer Matthew Kochanasz was dispatched, arriving about five minutes later. He approaches the woman, asks her for identification, she tells him she doesn’t have it with her, he asks her name, she tells him a name. He tells her it’s 40 minutes before the time when she can walk her puppy and they got a call and he’s going to go back to his squad car and write up a warning for her. No arrest. Just for next time. And please leave the beach now.

Kochanasz goes to his car, comes back and she’s not there. He finds her hiding behind a bush at the back of the beach with her dog. He tells her to come out. Now she confesses she lied about her name. She gives him another name, and swears this time it’s her real name. Kochanasz says he now has to arrest her for filing a wrong written statement to a police officer. He walks with her and the dog back to the back of the beach, gets in the police car with her and the dog and drives her to the station two miles away. There, while standing with her while she’s getting processed, he thinks he smells alcohol on her breath. She’s not moving well. He imagines she came in a car to Georgica Beach. He tells her he’s taking her back to the beach if that is all right with her and she says yes, and he does that, but along the way advises her that he thinks she is drunk and should not be driving her car, so she should have somebody come down to the beach to get her.

At the beach, she immediately, with her dog, gets in her car and drives off. Alarmed, he now gets in his police car and about two blocks away with his lights flashing pulls her over. Now he gives her a ticket for driving while intoxicated. The car has to stay there and she can’t drive it. So again, he takes her and her little dog in the police car back down to police headquarters for a second arraignment.

During this second arraignment—she now has her bag open, it had been in the car—she takes out a small metal case and tells the officer there—she’s standing near Officer Kochanasz—says she’d like to go to the bathroom. Officer Kochanasz, an alert fellow, asks her what’s in the case. Turns out she has cocaine in the case.

The woman is now charged with DWI, driving while impaired with drugs and criminal possession of drugs in the seventh degree, all added to her earlier charge of making a false statement. She makes a phone call. Somebody comes and gets her dog. She stays in jail overnight and is arraigned in the morning and released on her own recognizance pending an appearance before a judge.

As for the walking the dog before 6 p.m. warning, Matt Norklun will be unhappy to learn they never did charge her with that. I don’t know if Kochanasz even got around to actually handing her the warning.

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