Walton County beaches: No visiting dogs allowed

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 04:38 PM.

"I am an animal lover but I don't think dogs belong on the beach. I would like to see consistent enforcement. I have never seen or known of anyone who has been ticketed, and I am on our beach a lot," she said. “To be successful you have to patrol year around. I walk three times a week year round and I see dogs off leash running loose and dog waste on the beach.

Sheila Wachsman, a retired attorney of 18 years who has lived here for nine years, has also experienced the fear of unleashed dogs charging her leashed dog.

"I've seen dogs on the beach without an owner. I've seen people holding leashes without it attached to the collar. I've seen some on leashes,” she said.

“I decided that it wasn't worth it to take her down there since no one is going to enforce the law, so I didn't bother to buy a permit this year,” continued Wachsman, who lives at Blue Mountain Beach. “I don't want my dog hurt. It's a free for all. What's the point of laws if you're not going to enforce them?”

Law enforcement seems to dispute that assertion. Jeff McVeigh, a code enforcement agent who is regularly on beach patrol, recently told The Sun he and his partner deal with an average of 10 to 12 incidents per day of dogs on the beach. He said at this time he is only issuing a warning to the owners and informing them of Walton County ordinances, but he said that will change soon when new official tickets that have been ordered come in.

But Wachsman doesn’t feel reassured.

"People do whatever they want but if the law is not enforced someone will be bit. I know someone who allows his pit bull to walk on the beach without a leash. It's a disaster waiting to happen," she said.

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