Dogs on The Beach? Yes.


I love dogs.

Big dogs. Small dogs. Pure breeds. Mutts. All dogs, especially rescue dogs.

If you’ve monitored social media these past few weeks you have seen a grassroots effort to mobilize dog lovers around the concept of creating a dog beach in Delray.

I think it’s a winning idea. And I’m sorry that I didn’t champion it myself when I had a vote back in the day.

Delray Beach prides itself on being a dog friendly town.

We have dog parades, dog washes, fundraisers for rescue organizations and a pretty nice dog park.

But Fido isn’t welcome on the sand and if his paws are found on the beach, you can expect a fairly hefty fine.

During my term in office, we worked to create a no smoking area on the beach. The ordinance passed, but enforcement has been spotty. We received tons of complaints that our gorgeous beach was used as an ash tray by irresponsible smokers. It seemed reasonable at the time to create a smoke free section so people who didn’t want to inhale noxious fumes could enjoy our number one natural asset.

It also seems reasonable to create a defined section of the beach where pets would be welcome.

I understand that not everybody loves dogs and that there are issues with allowing pets on the beach—the biggest being irresponsible owners who won’t clean up after their pets.

But it seems that those concerns and sensitivities can be addressed rather easily.

About two years ago, I ran into former Boca Councilwoman Constance Scott at a League of Cities function in the Glades. Knowing my love of rescues, we quickly started talking about the Tri County Humane Society and Boca’s dog beach and how well received it was by residents and visitors. We should do that too, I thought to myself.

If I remember correctly, Ms. Scott said that the pet community was very good at self-policing; knowing that failing to clean up after pets could ruin the experience and shut down the program for everyone.

It seems to me that we can have a similar sort of set up.  Carve out an area where pets can visit, make sure they stay in the designated area and have volunteers agree to monitor for hygiene, safety etc.

The Lake Ida Dog Park seems to work well and is busy year round. We can do this at the beach too.

If the privilege is abused, the city can easily shut it down. But my hunch is that this will work.

It is certainly worth a try.



  1. Good morning Jeff:

    Thank you for your article related to Friends of Delray Dog Beach in favor
    of a designated area of beach for our dogs.

    Best Wishes
    Stacey J Nelson Ph.D.

  2. Leonard Ansin says

    Thanks for your comments on a dog Park at Delray Beach.
    What are your thought’s on a smoke free Delray Beach?
    Have you noticed the cigarette butts etc everywhere.
    How about the effects of second hand smoke?

    Here’s an article from yesterday’s Sunday Boston Globe where Cape beaches are going smoke free.

    Good luck and have a great day.

    It would be great to move this plan forward.

    Best regards
    Leonard Ansin

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Dear Mr. Ansin:
      A smoke free section of the beach was created via ordinance when I served as mayor. I’m not sure what has happened to the effort. But I think there is some thinking about a ban, however there may be some conflicts with state law. It is a good idea.

  3. Liz Heir says

    Love the Idea of a dog friendly beach.

  4. You are right on Jeff! But if you don’t live in the city or the park district, it is ridiculously expensive to use the boca dog beach, so we go up to Jupiter and Juno dog beach. I hope Delray if implemented, won’t price non residents out of using it.

  5. Jill martillotto says

    I just wanted to say thank you for allowing our dogs on the beach and for the most part everyone does pick up after there dogs .it’s amazing to see all different kinds of breeds small breeds large breeds all getting along . I go almost every Saturday and got to know the same group of people and everyone is respectful in keeping the beach clean

  6. Terry K OConnor says

    Amen!! Live, love, play together…our pets are family in alot of cases!! Thank you!!

  7. Thank you Jeff for your support of a dog beach in Delray.
    We’ve worked hard to try and make it a reality. You support is greatly appreciated.

    Again THANK YOU

  8. I see dogs all the time. We live on the southern most part of Delray, near Highland Beach. Is it legal ? and we have neighbors who do NOT clean up after their dogs. I like the idea of a designated spot.

  9. Ruth Delia-Moloney says

    I think it is a wonderful idea. My dog loves going with her mommy all the time.
    They should be able to enjoy with us and as for the owners clean up your dog poop..

  10. Would LOVE to take my rescue dogs to a local beach. And I’d be happy to pay a small fee each year for the privilege.

  11. Denise Franczak says

    I have 2 Wire Fox Terriers whom are very social !
    They are both wagging their tails over the idea of a legal designated area on Delray Beach. 🙂 🙂
    Looking forward to it. Denise

  12. I absolutely support the notion of a dog friendly beach in Delray. What can I do?

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