Can Dogs Go To The Beach? Find Out!
One of the first things our client, Sarah did when she moved from Fort Walton Beach to Santa Rosa Beach was apply for a dog permit. She and her golden retriever, Atticus, visit the beach at least twice a week, she says.
“It’s very special to me…I feel gives a dog a better quality of life,” she said. “Atticus looks so happy when he’s bounding through the sand.”
Along the Emerald Coast, Walton County is the anomaly. Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties don’t allow dogs on the beach with or without a permit. I’ve witnessed plenty of folks not adhering to this, so plenty take their chances.
Many pet parents want to go out and enjoy nature with their pups. We all know dogs shouldn’t be chained up in a backyard…Not by a long-shot.
With so much space on the beaches to share it’s a hot topic on whether dogs should be allowed on all of them.
The process in Walton County is pretty cut and dry. Sarah said she went to the annex and purchased the permit for $40. There are some stipulations — dogs are only allowed between certain hours and must be leashed. She cites she’s had a few run-ins with code enforcement over the leash rules and payed her $100 citation with zero issue.
The consensus from locals is enforcement starts to get pretty strict after Memorial Day. Many have gotten tickets for not having their dogs on a leash. It would be nice for the county to consider an off-leash area so dogs can swim, but that might present more issues than benefits. What do you think?
History of the ordinance
In 1987, Walton County ordinances allowed dogs on county-owned beaches and parks, as long as they were on a leash.
In 2013, the county established a formal permitting process. Even when the 1987 ordinance became outdated as the area grew, it was important for Walton County to remain dog friendly.
Walton’s neighbors to the west are less dog-friendly when it comes to sharing sand with dogs because…Well, no one really knows why.
In Okaloosa County, animals are prohibited in on beaches with the exception of service animals or K9 units. Be careful because citations for violators start at $100 here too!
Dogs are also prohibited from beaches and parks in Santa Rosa County. Taking your dog to the beach results in a fine of $30 for the first offense, $60 for second and $100 for the third. It’s an issue that’s come before their board numerous times.
What did come out of that are dog parks by the NYSA complex.
The dog parks are small, fenced in areas, one for small breeds and another for large breeds, across from the Navarre Youth Sports Association. There’s some agility equipment, but it ain’t much.
With such limited access how do you get your pups access to water?
Do you feel more beachfront for the four-legged would be beneficial?
Interested to hear your thoughts…