Posted by: realtormarkpalace | October 5, 2011

Dog beach Brevard County Florida

VIERA — After banning canines from the coastline for decades, Brevard County officials have designated a beach for leashed pets to leave sandy paw prints.

gotta love dogs!

This dog-friendly beach will open — on a one-year pilot basis — after construction of a 4-acre expansion at Canova Beach Park just north of Eau Gallie Boulevard wraps up. Estimated completion date is Dec. 28.

“Having a dog beach would be fabulous for people to take their dogs and exercise them,” Satellite Beach resident Curtis Black told the Brevard County Commission on Tuesday.

“And it’s a family thing. And I think people would come to Brevard County from Orange County just to do that,” Black said.

Commissioners ended months of dog-beach debate by establishing the zone via a 4-1 vote. The Rockledge-based organization Sandy Paws Brevard collected more than 4,000 petition signatures this year in favor of the experiment.

Today, county code prohibits dogs from Brevard’s 72 miles of beaches. Violators face fines of $55 for first offenses and $115 for additional infractions. Service animals are exempt.

Canova Beach Park is located within Commissioner Andy Anderson’s district. He said he supported the idea because many Space Coast dog owners illegally take their pets to the beach — and the county’s cash-strapped animal enforcement department does little to stop them.

“It happens anyway. We can’t police it because of limited resources. So why not just put it into an area where it can be policed?” Anderson asked.

Chuck Nelson — a former parks and recreation director — voted no, saying Canova Beach Park is too close to condominiums and commercial establishments.

“Here, we’ve got condominiums right to the north of it. And then there’s commercial and residential to the south,” Nelson said.

Chris Martin is a Satellite Beach attorney representing Ocean Walk Beach Condominiums, the nine-story, 82-unit high-rise bordering the future dog beach. Tuesday, he unsuccessfully lobbied commissioners to pick a different location, citing barking, sea turtle predation and feces left on the sand.

“At the beach, people lay on the sand. Children play in the sand. So there is a very real risk of infection,” Martin said.

But Satellite Beach resident John Ferguson disagreed. Displaying a large cardboard sign bearing paw-print stickers and other slogans, he said he enjoys taking his three large dogs to pet-accessible beaches in California and New York.

“(A) dog-friendly beach is possible, as long as dog owners take responsibility,” Ferguson said. “Wouldn’t it make sense to changeBrevard County law that discriminates against animal lovers?”

Commissioner Mary Bolin requested a one-year pilot program, rather than six months, so officials can monitor dog-beach activity during all four seasons.

Don George, a 45th Space Wing environmental planner, said he will check with Air Force administrators about establishing a second dog beach at the southern portion a of Patrick Air Force Base.

Contact Neale at 321-242-3638or rneale@floridatoday.com

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20111005/NEWS01/310050010/Dogs-get-beach-their-own-Brevard

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