Editorial: Dogs On The Beach, Sea Turtles, And Chocolate Sand Castles

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 25 January 2017 05:00

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 discussed the issue at their January 24th, meeting. (See report on page 1-A)

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.

Should dogs be allowed on the beach front during the busy summer months? On or off a leash? Perhaps only before 9am and then only after 5pm? How do you enforce it? There are several options none of which are inexpensive and in no case is there a full proof way to ensure everyone follows the rules all of the time.

The Town could hire additional officers 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.

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 public should chime in and let their leaders know how they feel about the issue.


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