SPEAKING OUT: Vacationers should leave their dogs at home

Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 12:53 PM.

I think it's time to revisit the subject of too many visitors bringing dogs on vacation.

It is getting out of hand and it seems no one abides by the rules when it comes to renting to vacationers. There is an ordinance on the books that specifically says no dogs on the beach in Walton County without a permit and only during certain hours.

It also states you cannot obtain a permit unless you are a full time resident here. It's a joke! Every day there are numerous dogs on the beaches with their owners who are not abiding by the rules, and most of them are from out of state.

Just yesterday we witnessed a Walton County patrol driving down the beach, and when he thought he spotted a dog he turned around and drove back by. He pulled up next to the owner and the owner carried the dog off the beach. Shortly after that my husband was walking down the beach and spotted more dogs on the public beach area at Pompano Joe’s.

These were all big dogs much more than 60-70 pounds and one lab broke from his owner and went after a child knocking her down and scaring her to death. I could hear her screaming from where I was. A child that was sitting with his mother next to us had an ugly scarring on his little cheek next to his mouth and his mother commented that it was from a dog bite. This child is scarred for life.

I also witnessed a couple with two large pit bulls walking on the bike path just inside Okaloosa County on Scenic 98.

My question is what is it going to take to get the proper authorities to enforce the laws that are already on the books and put a stop to people that bring two, three and four very large dogs on vacation? Is it going to take a child getting torn apart or killed by one before it is stopped and before owners stop renting to people that bring their dogs? Is it going to become an ever-increasing problem for those that want to have a nice vacation without the worry of dogs?

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