Editorial: Beach Ranger To Write Tickets For Breaking Dog Rules

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 22 March 2017 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

History repeats itself. So goes the issue of permitting dogs on the beach during the busy summer months in Carolina Beach. The Town Council approved easing restrictions that prohibit dogs on the beach during the busier spring and summer months. (See report on page 1-A)

Now you can walk your dog on a leash before 9am and after 5pm from April 1st to September 30th.

Dogs are allowed on the beach within town limits from October 1st to March 31st. You must have on your person at all times, a plastic or paper container that can be used to clean up and contain dog waste until it can be disposed of in an appropriate container. The container must be produced and shown, upon request, to anyone authorized to enforce this ordinance. Pets are not allowed on the Boardwalk at any time of the year.

In Freeman Park on the north end of Carolina Beach dogs are required to be on a leash from April 1st to September 30. From October 1st to March 31, dogs are allowed off a leash so long as they remain under voice command and the owner is within a reasonable distance from the pet.

This issue has come up several times since the year 2000 spanning various different Town Council's and administrations.
Without digging back into the archives, over the years the Carolina Beach Town Council has held public hearings on the issue and even began an outreach program to help educate the public about the importance of picking up after your pet. There was a poster contest at the Carolina Beach Elementary School some years ago where students created artwork to promote the need to pick up pet waste when walking your dog on the beach or around the Carolina Beach Lake.

Over the years the Town has amended regulations dealing with pets in public places including streets, at parks and on the beach within Town limits and beyond the end of Canal Drive in Freeman Park (A park that permits four wheel drive vehicles on the beach). The rules vary depending on the area of Town. Years ago the Town even installed plastic bag dispensers at the park surrounding the Carolina Beach Lake.

The Town plans to hire a "Beach Ranger" to patrol the beach on ATV's writing tickets to people because their dog isn't on a leash or they didn't pick up the chocolate sand castle that Rover leftover for a kid to find while building a grand sand castle.

Consider this, we already have police officers that can't stop every person that violates the speed limit or runs a red light. The same will always apply to enforcement of pet rules on the beach strand.

Councilman Steve Shuttleworth likes to walk his dog on the beach.

Councilman Tom Bridges doesn't think dogs should be allowed on the beach all year long, especially off of a leash, because he's sensitive to the potential harm a dog could bring to a sea turtle nest. He admits that people take their dogs to the beach even at times of the year when they aren't allowed by Town regulations. That means even the current rules aren't enforced 100% all of the time. Perhaps a Beach Ranger writing tickets will bring more compliance.

These are issues that have been discussed time and time again over the years. I remember years ago when a lady spoke at a Council meeting on the same topic. She was holding  a plastic grocery bag filled with dog excrement that she collected from a single beach access area.

The Council has made a decision and time will tell if the new rules will both satisfy those who like to walk their dogs on the  beach in the morning and late afternoon and those who already feel the Town wasn't doing enough to enforce the existing rules for leashes and picking up dog waste. The minimum fine will be $250.00.

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