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.