Dogs on the Beach
There is a time and a place for everything. Dogs are one of those things. I am not a dog hater. I like well-behaved dogs. Even though I may like dogs there are several good reasons why dogs (other than service animals) are NEVER allowed on state beaches and are (to the best of my knowledge) only allowed on Walton County beaches in the winter with a permit.
I saw these two Yorkshire terriers on a state beach on Thanksgiving. I noticed their family was taking holiday photos so I was doing my best to ignore them, until they put them down and one urinated on a pile of sand. His owner kicked the pile of sand over while looking around to see if anybody had noticed. So, one of the best reasons for dogs being banned from beaches is diseases they can transmit to humans. Here is what the Centers for Disease Control has to say about canine-human infection. Do you want to lay in sand that some dog has urinated in or defecated in (even if the owner did pick it up)? Do you want you kid playing in that sand then touching their mouth?
People who bring dogs to the beach have to walk right past this sign:
I think the intent of the sign is fairly obvious.
This sign is outside the gate so that visitors know the law before they even pay to enter the state property the beach is on!
Another good reason to keep dogs off certain public beaches is that they can interfere with wildlife, such as nesting shorebirds or sea turtles, both of which are federally protected. There are also a variety of things at the beach that can harm domestic dogs, such as jellyfish washed ashore,trash that they might eat, or red tide killed fish that they might roll in. It is also common for foxes, raccoons, and coyotes to be on the beach after dark and they can transmit diseases to domestic dogs.
If you plan on visiting a state beach please leave your dog at home. If you are visiting a Walton County beach please find out what the permitting regulations are. Lifeguards, the Sheriff’s beach patrol, DEP park police, FWC officers, and park rangers have enough to do already without having to take the time to ask you to remove your dog from the beach.
Set a good example for your kids. You’re an adult, you should know the rules. There’s no better way to make your child dislike and distrust law enforcement officers than having one ask you to remove the family dog from the beach, on what otherwise would have been a great family outing.
Just because you can afford to vacation on the Emerald Coast doesn’t mean you have bought the right to be a Rule Breaker.
Remember: it’s how you act when nobody is looking that really matters.