Walton County beaches: No visiting dogs allowed

dogs on the beach
Kathy Harrison | The Sun
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 04:38 PM.

As visitors flock to our beaches during this busy season, some bring along their best four-legged friend.

However, what they may not know is that South Walton beaches are only open to resident dogs whose owners purchase an annual permit. Others who take their dogs onto the beach could be ticketed.

Though some residents say that’s unlikely.

Pauline Sutcliffe has lived in South Walton for 29 years and says the beach ordinance has not been enforced throughout the years. The Seacrest resident encounters dogs loose on the beach regularly, and says it as an ongoing problem.

"When I see a dog running for me that I don't know, I get fearful,” Sutcliffe said. “It is getting worse every year as we have more people visiting here."

South Walton Sheriff's Office spokesperson Wendy Ammons said from Feb. 1, 2012 to Feb. 13, 2013 the Beach Patrol units issued 808 verbal warnings for dogs on the beach. During this same time period the deputies issued four civil citations for dogs on the beach. Those in violation of this ordinance are subject to a $100 fine.

"I don’t have an average number for complaints," she said. "Many of these may not come in as complaints but as observed violations by deputies."

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