I told myself I wouldn’t write another letter to The Sun about yet another revised beach ordinance, but I didn’t listen to myself. No one else seems to be listening either.
The original beach ordinance was voted on and passed in 2003, and I have seen little to no enforcement on our stretch of beach in Seacrest.
I mentioned in a previous letter that many problems on the beach have nothing to do with the new improved wording of the beach activities ordinance, but it has everything to do with enforcement. My opinion on that subject has not changed.
I have walked our beach in Seacrest for 12 years, year round and cover six miles with every walk so I think I know this subject well. I can tell you we already have a dog problem on our beach and with this new proposal of letting tourists have dogs on the beach we will make an existing problem even worse.
Our visitors have never followed beach rules and bring their dogs to the beach now. So why would you think they will pop for a beach permit costing $75? In all the years I have been walking the beach, I have never seen anyone check dogs’ permits. Who is going to monitor this and will they?
I also know of a few beachfront rental units that always keep current dog permits in the unit for visitors to use. Since that permit goes from one dog to another, who ensures those dogs are even in good health and have current shots?
In the years I have been walking I have encountered unleashed, unsupervised and very aggressive dogs, witnessed dog fights, been chased, dodged many “doggie diamonds” that were never picked up (I walk in bare feet) and watched a male dog pee on my friend’s flip flops while her feet were still in them!
Sure I call the Sheriff’s Office and I never walk the beach without a phone anymore. The reply is always the same, “You may have to wait a while because we cover a lot of miles on the beach and we are short handed.”
How is this going to change especially with more dogs on the beach? Is the county going to share liability issues with the TDC if someone gets hurt? Both are important questions that need to be addressed.
Even more dangerous than the increased dog population on the beach if this is passed will be the future TDC slogan which will read, “Come to Walton County with your pet and enjoy our dog friendly beaches.”
It’s a sad state of affairs when the priority of our county and TDC is to put “heads in beds” while ignoring the safety and wellbeing of those trying to enjoy a pleasant time on our beach. As a full time resident that is my basic right.
It gets more difficult with each passing year to enjoy quality time on our beach without dealing with dogs running amuck while pet owners are not paying attention.