Doggie Doo on the Beach at Pier Park – Move the Doggie Beach

by February 6, 2009 • 52 comments


As a resident of Panama City beach living directly across the street from the “doggie beach” I have seen numerous infractions of the boundaries, clean up, and leash rules.  The aptly nicknamed “tootsie roll beach” has been true to its name and I and my children have happened upon several “accidents” outside the designated “doggie beach” boundary.  When the dog beach was approved in October 2007 several of my friends and neighbors asked the question “Why this beach?”  We are not opposed to a dog beach per say, we are more concerned as to why the city would tarnish the beach directly in front of our newest and nicest tourist attraction.

Take the Poll

In the larger of the sidebars on the right, directly below the Featured Video a poll has been created.

The question: Do you think the dog beach should be moved from the City Pier at Pier Park to another location?

The city told me they designated the Pier Park beach as the dog beach because it is a “dog friendly” area due to the allowance of dogs in Aaron Bessant Park and along the sidewalk areas of Pier Park.  I believe that dogs in these areas are great.  The City should acknowledge though that Pier Park has its own security guards to enforce proper leashing and clean up compliance.  In Aaron Bessant Park there is a great deal of rule breaking and accidents left behind but my children are not sitting in minimal clothing and digging where the dogs are playing.   On the beach my children are in fact sitting in minimal clothing and digging.  Last fall break  I had  family visiting and we had to scoop up three accidents 200 yards west of the dog beach boundary before allowing my children to play.  In this same area a man took his dog out into the water right next to where my children were wading.  Dogs are known shark attractants and when I politely asked him to move back down to the dog beach he ignored me.

100-yards-past-boundaryAfter complaining to the city about the dog beach infractions I was directed to Stephani Somerset the executive director of Bay Families with Dogs.  She told me to let the perpetrators know of the dog beach boundary as some of them may be unaware.  I wanted her to be right but after approaching two more people about the fact they had their unleashed dogs outside the dog boundary they’re response was, “yes we know where the boundary is”, and proceeded to remain in their seats.  I go to the beach to relax not play police.

In an article in the News Herald on 2/4/09 it was said that “98 percent of dog owners who use the beach pick up after their dogs…”  I would like to say in my experience of being outside of the boundaries of the dog beach the statistic is more like 50 percent.  If dog owners were cleaning up after themselves 98 percent of the time why would the dog beach have to hire a beach butler, which it has since done.  The ironic part is that the beach butler only cleans up after the 400 feet of designated dog beach.  This leaves the accidents outside the dog beach for us to clean up.

dog-feces-100-yards-past-boundary1I would like to state for the record, growing up I owned a dog who I loved dearly and I have many friends with dogs which they adore.  I recognize the importance of raising a happy dog with a life full of exercise and variety but choosing the beach directly in front of our newest and nicest addition to Panama City Beach to provide that “exercise and variety” is not the decision the majority of residents would have agreed to.  As I speak to friends and neighbors, including dog owners, we all feel this was the wrong beach to use as a test site for an unregulated city ordinance.

During a time when we are competing with other panhandle beaches for much needed tourism dollars my question to the city is, “What was the motivation in turning the city’s potentially most active beach into a dog beach?”  .  I don’t see how a dog beach could bring in increased revenue for the improvement of our city.  There are no “Dog” retail shops in Pier Park.   My point is that making THIS beach a dog beach only downgrades the beach without bringing any additional revenue to the area for things such as sidewalks and community upgrades.

Millions of dollars have been used to put retail on the beach to create an atmosphere in which tourists can have beach, dining, and shopping in one trip.  The majority of tourists don’t bring their animals with them.  The idea of lying on the sand that is possibly tainted with the morning’s dog activities is not exactly appealing.  I understand it is a “nice” thing to have for “some” of the residents but my friends with dogs have admitted they would not take their children to the dog beach for fear of what they might dig up.

My request is that the city moves the dog beach away from the Pier Park beach.  Again I am not trying to eliminate the idea of a dog beach.  I am not trying to be unsympathetic or unfair to the dog owners who have respected the dog beach boundaries.  I am trying to say the Pier Park dog beach experiment needs to end.  The majority of dog owners of Panama City Beach have not shown they can govern themselves in this privilege.

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1 Jason Koertge February 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

This is a very interesting point, and something that greatly concerns me as a resident and advocate of Panama City Beach AND Pier Park.

I too am a dog lover, anyone who know’s me can ask my wife. I’ve been lobbying to get a dog for a couple of years, but we’re going to wait until the kids get a little older.

Reading the article in the News Herald, it stated that as long as you aren’t putting sand in your mouth, you’ll be ok. Well, I won’t put sand in my mouth, there’s just something about the grit that just isn’t tasty to me. However, having 4 kids, I have turned my head for a split second just to hear a spitting sound after one of my kids decided for some unknown reason to eat a handful of sand.

Good piece, Carrie.

2 Bearabull February 8, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Good luck trying to change things. I see people on the beach near Pineapple Willy’s with dogs almost every trip we make down to PCB.
Luckily, the ones I’ve seen have picked up after themselves.

3 barbara February 10, 2009 at 8:30 am

We are staying at The Majestic Towers, and daily see dogs on the beach, some on leads, some not.We meet dogs up and down the beach on our walks,so were surprised to hear that dogs are only allowed on the designated area near Pier Park. Who monitors the rest of the beach?

4 Dave February 10, 2009 at 8:54 am

We are a dog family, and we try to be responsible with our pets, but I agreee 100% with the article. Out of all the places to choose as a dog beach in front of Pier Park was perhaps the worst possible one to choose. Good planning, again, on the part of our local government. For the record, I wouldn’t bring our dog to Pier Park or the beach there, since it is not an area where I feel should be “dog friendly.”

5 Brian February 10, 2009 at 9:38 am

Well put Carrie. Stupidest place possible to put the dog beach. But then we have come to expect these sort of bright ideas from our government.

6 Debbie February 10, 2009 at 9:38 am

I have 2 dogs that love nice weather in the dog park. I’ve never snuck them on the beach, though. Even if fecal matter is picked up, remnants stay attached to the sand. And you can’t clean up urine. Children playing in the sand are playing in this in the areas that dogs go but are not allowed. I don’t want to sit or lie in it, either, but I surely wouldn’t want my girls in it. And young children will try to eat the sand! Boundries are set with a reason, and if it is not inforced, why did they even bother? Pier Park is a beautiful place for locals and also a great tourist attraction, so why pick this particular area for a dog beach? What a wonderful way to greet those keeping the economy in PCB alive. As much as I’ve seen dogs on all other areas of the beach, they are always outside the designated area by the pier. I didn’t realize that dogs and retail go together.

7 Bob February 10, 2009 at 9:49 am

We have 2 dogs and come to PCB every other weekend. We welcomed the chance to go to the beach with them, just like St. George Isl. Being able to visit the beach, walk Pier Park and then have lunch at the many dog friendly outside patios is practically a ritual.
Dog owners are given a chance here to prove themselves that they can be responsible. To lose this ‘privilege’ will be our own fault if we don’t speak up to those that don’t pick up after their dogs.
I do find it a contradiction, Pier Park is some high-end real estate. Catering to the tourist crowd is what PP is all about. Lets face it, after your 5th or 6th time, the shops get pretty old. And yet the beach might not get the heavy-heavy use like in front of some of the high rises. So maybe this beach strikes a middle ground of bringing together our community…similar to PP itself?
Who knows if the doggie beach will survive once the pier is finished. If the plan is to bring in the cabana boys with their beach chairs and umbrellas, maybe a tiki bar/hangout for surfers and volleyball nets, the beach will have to change. For now, it’s welcome.

8 Joanne February 10, 2009 at 10:11 am

As someone who brings her little dog to the doggie beach, I think it is a great idea. Although I must admit I am not sure where the boundries end. It sould be posted and have “pick up bags” availabe, and then maybe more owner would clean up after there dogs. I never go to far on the beach so I am sure I do not cross the boundries and I certainly do clean up after my dog (if he where to make a mess). It is only a small area of beach, and if you do not like “tootsie rolls” then you should stay out of the desiginated area, and the dog owners should respect the people who do not have dogs and stay in there area and clean up after they dogs. I love it and think it should stay.

9 susan February 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

We are local and enjoy coming to pier park as well. We almost always run in to someone we know and like the community feeling it brings to our area. However, we are on the fence about the presence of dogs. Most of the time it is not an issue but I will admit that is has made me nervous on more than one occasion to see dogs of various sizes and types coming at me when my childs face is on the same level as them. Dogs will be dogs and when greeting each other, or food is around, or small children fluster them… who knows what could happen. While most owners stay aware and are in control of their dogs we have seen enough that are not.
We also see many dogs on the beach in all areas from the fringes of the state park down to inlet beach and usually they are not leashed or controlled. Of course they are having fun and it is a naturally stimulating environment so even a good dog can tend to go a little nuts with the salt breeze in their nose… but the last thing we want while visiting the beach is an enthusiastic and unexpected sniff from mans best friend. Usually when picking a spot to visit we will drive down until we see a spot free of dogs but you can’t count on it staying that way.
I don’t know the answer, we love dogs and have a dog, but she does not visit the beach with us and never has… she would love it but rules are rules.

10 OUR 'DUTY' February 10, 2009 at 11:05 am

I agree the location was a bad choice, most people who want to take their dogs to the beach wouldn’t mind a more out of the way area, and then the Pier Park traffic would not be a conflict.

Regarding people picking up after their dogs, there is a very simple solution to this. FINE THESE PEOPLE BIG $$$$.
Make sure signs are posted making these fines very clear. Hire sharp, energetic people to enforce these rules, and pay them a good wage to do their jobs correctly. We can afford to do this out of the revenue from the fines.

If you are stopped and do not have a clean up bag with you, if your pet is spotted pooping in the area and you don’t clean it up, if your pet is off the leash, you get fined $500. People will remember to bring a second or third bag if they know we mean business. You must present your identification if stopped, if you don’t have an ID, you go to jail until your fine is paid. If you don’t pay your fine when due, it doubles. Enforce collection strongly so people get the message they are not going to get away with not paying. You can call someone to come get your pet, or your pet can go to an animal shelter, who can also get part of the revenues from the fines.

If you don’t enforce rules, no one is going to pay attention to them.

If people are allowed to drive 75 MPH in a 35 zone, and never get stopped or ticketed people will speed.

MAKE RULES AND MAKE THEM TOUGH AND ENFORCE THEM and you’ll see a big improvement I bet.

11 LBResort 3 February 10, 2009 at 11:48 am

Sanitation is the reason the beach laws exist, not because some old men didn’t like dogs. Debbie is right on! Every day I watch people with their dogs on the beach. There is one person past Aquavista that lets her two large dogs run the beach while she sits on her deck. When the beach walkers see them coming, everyone turns and walks fast to get away from the dogs. She waits til their business is done in the sand and then calls them to come off the beach. No one comes down and cleans up, it is left to mother nature. It is a good 1/2 mile to the doggie beach.

As to Pier Park, I saw something very distrubing before Christmas. A couple had two large, I mean big, dogs in front of 5 Guys. I think that they were over compensating for their other short comings. These two dogs were the neighborhood bullys and went after every other dog that came by them. What was so bad was that the owners had them tied to a bench while they stood off to the side talking loudly so they would be noticed by everyone. When a really well behaved dog was walked by, the two bullys went after it and pulled the bench to the street curb before the owners were able to stop them. It was very scarey for humans and pets. I really fear for a small dog or child that might get caught by a big dog in this confined retail setting.

One funny thing yesterday on the beach. A young girl tried to take her grown cat down to the surf line like she had seen the dogs being done. She was working hard carring the cat in her arms. When she was about 20 feet from the water, the cat got loose and took off for the duplex. That cat was smart and knew that it was not allowed on the beach.

12 James February 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm

We decided after spending Christmas at PCB this year, we’re going back to the beaches of South Walton for now on!

Interestingly, the two primary reasons were related to dogs. The first one was seeing our niece barely dodge a pile of dog crap on the beach. What’s disturbing about this is that it was a beach along Thomas Drive. Dog owners evidently saw an opening when a portion of “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” were opened to canines. Many have taken it as a license to walk their dogs anywhere along the beach!

The second reason is we were horrified to hear the PCB City Council has actually considered allowing restaurants to designate areas where dogs are allowed! Any rational, common-sense person knows this should be unacceptable anywhere food is served to the general public! We dine-out almost everyday, spending a decent amount of money for what has usually been a very enjoyable experience. I’ll be damned if we’re going to have it ruined because someone just had to have their pet with them while they dined! If you insist on having your dog with you at mealtime, stay home!

It’s sad that a minority of people are dictating policy for the majority. What’s even sadder is that the majority are rolling-over like a dog when any vocal minority raises its voice!

Panama City Beach has literally gone to the dogs!
Thankfully, South Walton has ordinances that are strictly enforced regarding dogs at the beach. (paid permits, restricted hours, fines, etc.)

13 Carl M. Naughton February 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm

If you people are concerned about sanitation, then stay off all beaches because pelican, seagull, pigeon and feral cat poo is much more unsanitary and more likely to carry disease than domestic dog poo. You should really take up a campaign to ban glass containers from beaches, as they are 100 percent more likely to harm your child than dog poo.

Also, if you don’t like dogs on the beach, visit the 18 miles of beach that aren’t designated as dog-friendly, rather than the 500 foot stretch that is. I don’t like screaming kids in restaurants, but I dont’ try to ban them. I handle that annoyance by removing my presence and my money from the restaurant.

Jeez, people, stop asking government to be your personal nanny and protect you from every potential nuisance in life. How silly you all sound!

14 will February 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I’ve walked the dog beach nearly every weekend since it opened more than a year ago and have only ONCE seen a pile of waste – whether it was dog or cat or possum or some other animals is beyond my expertise (I picked it up, however, because I knew some naysayers would blame dogs).

Not sure how many of the naysayers pick up the HUMAN waste left behind, but I’ll tell you what I have picked up over the last year: used condoms (12 to date), beer bottles, broken glass, beer cans, used diapers (17 to date), kites, pocket knives, plastic toys, plastic floats, underwear (4 to date) beach towels, styrofoam coolers, lawn chairs, cigarette butts (hundreds to date), boogey boards, horseshoes, horseshoe stakes, balloons, beach balls, footballs, frisbees. The list goes on and on.

My point is, you could argue that most of these things present some sort of health hazard to a child whose parent is not correctly supervising their beloved offspring. you are not going to find a single strech of beach in this area where you don’t find these things that HUMANS leave behind. So why don’t we ban HUMANS from the beach? They certainly leave behind a lot more than dogs.

Let’s face it folks, if you don’t like dogs, stay away from them. Don’t go looking for a fight.

15 Cal February 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm

DOGS ARE KNOWN SHARK ATTRACTANTS? Oh please. This just proves that Ms. Stephani doesn’t let facts get in the way of a perfectly good story….

This from MythBusters on Dogs and Sharks…

Dog for Dinner: Shark Diet
So do sharks consider dog a culinary delicacy? The answer is a resounding no. Of the more than 350 known species of sharks, none prefer the piquant taste of your favorite pet. This isn’t to say that if Rover went for a swim where some types of sharks hunted that he wouldn’t be eaten. The sharks that would likely eat your pet — the tiger, bull and great white sharks — are also the top three sharks responsible for attacks on humans.

Copyright Discovery Communications, LLC
Tory Bellici, of Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters,” assists RoboDog, the robotic dog used on the show to test whether sharks like to eat dogs.

Perhaps the likeliest shark species to eat your dog is the tiger shark. This specimen is widely known as the “garbage can of the sea,” as it bears little scrutiny toward what makes up its caloric intake [source: Sea World]. The stomach contents of captured tiger sharks have yielded such dietary array as other sharks, sea turtles, squid, birds, car license plates and shoes [source: National Geographic].

Bull sharks, which can grow to 11 feet (3.5 m) long and weigh as much as 500 pounds (226.8 kg), may have more opportunity to eat your pet. This species tends to spend most of its time hunting for food along coastlines, where a dog might be likely to fetch a stick thrown by its owner. Like tiger sharks, bull sharks are opportunistic: They will eat generally whatever they encounter. This includes animals like horses, hippopotami and — yes — dogs. The bull shark’s deadly combination of serrated teeth and extremely poor vision makes it entirely possible your dog would go from beloved pet to dinner if it happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But what about great white sharks? Thanks to movies like “Jaws,” this species has become among the scariest around in the minds of humans. In reality, the great white’s threatening reputation is largely unearned. During the 427 years between 1580 and 2007, there were 64 recorded deaths from unprovoked great white shark attacks [source: University of Florida]. Conversely, an estimated 50 to 70 million sharks (of all species) are killed by humans each year [source: Questacon].

Data does show that great whites are responsible for the most shark attacks annually. One study of great whites reveals that these attacks are generally the result of mistaken identity. Attacks on humans or dogs come from the great white’s method of hunting. Most predatory sharks, like the great white, prefer fatty prey. Great whites particularly favor seals, which have a high blubber content. While the blubber keeps seals warm even in the coldest water, it’s a tasty temptation for a shark. Sharks will also go after whales, which also have large amounts of fatty tissue.

A shark will seize a potential food source with its strong jaws. As hard as a great white can bite, it can also be surprisingly gentle. It uses this gingerly touch to determine whether the object in question is food (like a seal) or something unappetizing (like your dog). If the great white deems the animal isn’t fat enough to eat, it will let go. This is why most great white shark attacks don’t result in death.

Of course, if your dog is grossly overweight, it could be confused for a seal. And that would likely not pan out well for your dog.

For more information on sharks and other related topics, visit the next page.

16 Watson February 10, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Hah! Maybe Ms. Stephani should go after the surfers that use the City beach. They are ENDANGERING HER CHILDREN BY ATTRACTING SHARKS! Yikes!

17 Earl and Vincent February 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Um, doesn’t anyone realize that this poll is incredibly unscientific because all anyone has to do is have the time to sit and clear their cache on their web browser and vote like 50 times?

Seems to me like stay-at-home moms unhappy about a dog beach might have just the time for such sillyness….

18 Jimbo February 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Love the dog beach. didn’t see any waste in the sand, but saw lots of people making deposits into the waste container on their way out.

People do pick up most of the time. Hey- people speed but we don’t ban driving, right?

Had a great time with the family and then spent $78 at reggae J’s for lunch that I never would have spent if I hadn’t gone to the dog beach. Smart marketing if you ask me.

19 Lori Duncan February 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I love my dog. But…Here’s the “scoop”! I would never, ever, bring her to a public beach and let her make a deposit without removing it. In fact, let me go as far to say, I don’t bring her on vacation with me.

Those who are residents, those who let their dogs run around unleashed, and those who bring their dogs on vacation, should all have rules to follow. We may not be able to control all the college crowd for their unsavory behavior, but surely dogs are easier to control. In NYC, leave a pile, get out your wallet! $250 is a good start to a cleaner beach eh? That’s what you’d pay in NYC for your pup’s recycled food!

I was at a dog beach at Hunntington Beach, CA, and let me tell you, GROSS! Some lady even let her huge dog walk up to us, and he proceeded to hike his leg on our picnic basket! That is the LAST dog beach we’ve ever been to.

I say let the dogs have a beach area that is more grassy and park-like, and enforce a strict fine law. Post signs that warn dog owners how expensive their dog’s potty habits can be. It’s bad enough the cats are somewhat overpopulated in some areas…the the whole world is their sandbox.

So here it is. Move the dog’s beach, you’ll find more sticks to throw anyway. Walk your dog in the designated areas, & bring your scooper and a bag. Leave those essentials behind, and Rover’s nature calls…find a really big leaf!

20 tracy February 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm

How about you just don’t visit the 400 foot stretch of dog beach and we enforce all humans that litter – whether it’s leaving dog waste or cigarette butts? I think that’s fair.

21 Deanna Colson February 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Question: where are all these people that want to move the dog beach going to move it to? The reason it is where it is, to my understanding, because it was the only beachfront the city owned, so it split it between the dog-friendly and the non-dog-friendly constituents.

Seems pretty fair, but if all these non-dog-friendly people can provide a bigger stretch of beach somewhere else and get that through, bring it! Until then, why are your opinions and preferences more important than mine?

22 Lori Duncan February 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm

No need to uninvite folks to the beach, just because some dog-owners are lazy. Ah, cigarette butts. Add that to the fines for littering. The sad fact is that it’s a shame so many people are have such a disregard for others, as well as our beautiful beaches.

Just because some of us prefer not to feel the squish of dog poo between our toes instead of sand, does not make us anti-dog. We are just anti-poop! And nobody on this board assumes to have opinions more important that anyone else. It’s just an opinion board, simple as that. I love dogs, cats, even turtles and frogs. I avoid them in the street to my own danger. But owners need to be responsible, or let their animals poop at home.

23 susan February 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Good points Lori
That is right… really this is about our responsibilities to each other and our environment… as neighbors, residents, visitors and human beings. Be considerate… know that some people may have issues whether it be your dog, kid, obnoxious laugh, bad habit, whatever it may be! Cigarette butts is an excellent example… what do they fill ashtrays with? Sand!! What do smokers do on the beach? Snuff the butts out in the sand!! Not to mention the fact you can smell it two miles down! Can’t make a smoking and non-smoking section on the beach so what do you do?… Move.
My only concern with the dogs is that someone, someone’s child or even someone’s beloved dog, might get hurt one day but I guess if I let that keep me away from pier park then I would have to apply that to everything in life and I would never be able to leave the house right?

24 Jason Koertge February 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm

The following user voted 18 times. Nice, real nice. Good point, Carrie. /

You know, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a poll if you aren’t honest about it.

I just corrected the discrepancy. Before the correction, the poll was at 62 votes NO, 57 votes YES, with 18 NO votes from the same person.

25 Arthur February 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Jason, how about a viewpoint from the other side?

26 Xine February 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I, too, was surprised that the dog-friendly beach was right there at Pier Park. There are so many other places to put it that are not in the middle of a general circus of activity… and some even have parking adjacent!

I am also wary of dogs on the sidewalks at Pier Park in the shopping areas. The sidewalks are crowded in the busy season and many times the owners are distracted by all the sights and people and don’t keep their dog(s) by their side. I’ve had to literally cover my child’s stroller with my body to avoid having dogs sniff and paw at her while the owners were distracted. Is this the environment we want to be encouraging?

Obviously, there are many, many, many dog owners who are responsible and respectful. As with many other things, it’s the few who give everyone else a bad name. But, just as with other areas of our society, we have had to create rules, laws, and consequences to deal with those outliers instead of the “normal” behaviors of the majority. And I think the dog beach is another area where we will have to do that. Fines and patroling by PCB beach patrol needs to be instituted, just as it is for other beach rules, such as no glass bottles, no littering, no walking on dunes, no picking sea oats, etc. And since the police can’t be everywhere at once, we will still have problems.

I used to run a tiki bar at a small hotel on the west end of the beach. Hotel guests had to walk by me to get to the beach from the hotel. I used to remind them about the basic rules as they headed out (and the flag system), especially about dogs. Well, on at least 3 ocassions in 4 months people disregarded my warnings and were stopped by Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies for having dogs on the beach. One was warned and two were fined (hefty fines, IIRC). So, it DOES happen… but there are bigger fish to fry, I’m sure.

We are ALL responsible for the cleanliness and beauty of our beaches, picking up trash others have left AND bringing our own trash out as well. If we could all be responsible we wouldn’t be having these conversations.

27 Dave Crosby February 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I’ve been to the dog beach at Pier Park many many times with my dog; patrolling it for Bay Families with Dogs as well as enjoying it with my dog Sam. And the ONLY waste I’ve seen is HUMAN!! Which I usually pick up and discard as a courtesy to others.

My dog enjoys chasing minnows in the water more than he cares spending time on the sand.

It really does come down to personal responsibility. Just like picking up beer cans, bottles, diapers and the like. We all must be reponsible to keep our beaches clean for all to enjoy!

28 Bill February 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm


29 Lori February 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm

No need to shout (or bark) folks. Good one Jason…if you can’t vote fairly then don’t vote at all…it just makes you look like the south end of a northbound sheepdog! Just trying to lighten things up. Can ya feel the love?! 🙂

30 Bill February 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm

No, Lori, I don’t feel your love. Sarcasm, maybe.

31 Cathy February 10, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I agree with Dave. It all comes down to personal responsibility. The diry diapers in parking lots and on the beach, the cigarette butts and empty packs, the beer bottles and cans thrown from car windows, fast food restaraunt wrappers blowing in the wind. Dogs don’t do this people do. So let’s ban everyone who wears a diaper, smokes or drinks from public beaches and parks. Let’s be responsibile and considerate and teach our children to be the same.

32 Jason Koertge February 10, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Well, it is obvious that everyone is passionate with regards to their respective side – we’ve apparently hit a nerve. I can’t remember the last time we had 30 comments in one day on a single post. This is great, and I greatly appreciate everyone leaving their feedback.

My opinion is that if possible, the dog beach should be moved to county property, more specifically, the county pier. This particular location is more centrally located and actually the area could be larger there as well. The traffic there is less than that of the City Pier as well.

Having four kids I know how unpredictable they can be, and I am also very aware of what happens at the beach. Sanitation is an issue (and yes I know that humans can be more filthy than dogs in many cases), but I mostly do not want an unleashed dog running up to my kids. I know that most dogs are tame, but I also know that many dogs can be set off by something, and I would hate for it to be one of my kiddos.

I grew up with dogs, and if you know me, you probably know that I’ve been lobbying in my household to get a dog (in fact, one of the breeds of choice is a Great Dane), but we’ll probably wait until the kids get older. I’m certainly not a dog-hater.

I totally agree that if you, as dog owners, want a dog-beach, that you should have one. However, I think that the location of choice perhaps could have or should have been different.

I don’t think this article was geared at abolishing the dog beach altogether, it was just geared at discussing moving it.

I should note that there is nothing on any agenda that proposes moving this, this is just discussion.

Thanks for reading, and participating, everyone! Even you Bill, even though you seem to be quite rude.

33 Joyce Hopkins February 10, 2009 at 9:21 pm

After reading both articles about the “dog friendly” beach, I realize both sides have their pros and cons. I have been to the beach, both to monitor and to visit taking my dogs. Monitoring is just that, kindly asking someone to clean up after their dog- which I never had to do. Making sure there are waste bags available and rules for visitors. If we had the authority to do citizen citations, boy would I have a field day, not at the beach, but in everyday life. The beach had become so popular by the end of the summer, we were in need of more space or maybe even another beach. There is some 20 miles of emerald coast beach front property, giving 40+ yards safe for visitors and residents to take their pets is not too much to ask for.

34 Melissa February 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I read articles on this website all the time – but never one that is so one sided.

In full discloser – I am a dog owner – a responsible one who uses the dog beach

Having that said – I think this is a bit over the top. I have picked up full 13-gallon garbage bags of human waste on the designated dog beach and NO dog waste. Often we clean up broken bottles. Twice I have picked up dog waste in the past 4 months. The challenge to make the beach a secure no hazard area will have to cover more than dogs not being allowed on the beach.

Additionally, during the summer we met couples that moved from Destin to PCB for their week of vacation because of the dog beach. So contrary to some of the comments above the beach does bring in tourism dollars. If you look at larger cities their are dog beaches – this is for a reason. For family’s who have dogs and travel with them, they will go to dog friendly locations.

Finally – we have how many miles of beaches here in PCB- will it really impact the community/environment to have this small area for dog owners to enjoy with their pets? Why can’t those non dog supporter’s sunbath and frequent the other side of the pier, where dogs are not allowed. (I know you said dogs are going beyond the assigned area – just like a human breaks the speed limit we will always have non law-abiding people. To those people who have dogs and are violating the boundaries –STOP —- YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE THE BENEFIT AWAY FOR ALL OF US!)

35 Bill February 10, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Well, Jason, when I am seated at a restaurant next to you and your four noisy children, and I asked to be moved to another spot, you’d probably call me rude, too. I’ll take that chance.

36 Carrie Stephani February 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Thanks for all the comments. Glad to find supporters. As Lori said I am not “anti-dog” I am anti-dog beach in front of Peir Park.

Some of you have argued that there are dangers on the beach far worse than dog poop. I frequent the beaches often and see the litter. I actually make a point to clean up the area my family chooses to play in. I have also seen the city and various hotels clean up the beach. This is the nature of the beach. All over the world beaches battle litter. My point is when we can choose NOT to add to our litter factor, why do so? If I had seen responsible dog owners containing their dogs within the perameters of the dog beach I would have nothing to complain about.

Cal, I may need to be more clear on why dogs act as shark attractants. The Mythbusters actually looked at whether or not “sharks consider dog a culinary delicacy?” This is not the reason why dogs act as shark attractants. Please reference

“…George W. Burgess, director of the International Shark File:

…Do not swim with dogs. Their erratic movements may attract sharks.”

For a second reference you may look at the book “Sharks” by Mark Carwardine it states, “Do not even swim in the sea with a dog because dogs swim with an erratic, ungainly motion that can attract the attention of curious sharks.”

Feel free to reference

So as you see sharks do not want to eat dogs they are just attracted by their erratic movements. Hope this helps clarify my concerns. Yes I realize swimming with a dog does not guarantee you will be attacked. It may just increase the risk of an attack. When my children are in the water I try to decrease the risk.

Again I am not opposed to a dog beach just a dog beach in front of Pier Park. I would be happy to investigate another area for the dog owners.

37 Jackie February 10, 2009 at 10:11 pm


if you were afraid of your kids “setting off” a dog, why in God’s name would you bring them to a designated dog beach?!

Let’s not disguise what this is – NIMBYism at its finest. The problem with “moving” the dog beach is that as soon as it is “moved” the same people or people with the same inane arguments will surface. People who INSIST on visiting a dog beach and then claiming they fear for their beloved children’s health and well-being. That’s like me deciding to eat pizza at Chuck E Cheese and then complaining about the children there.

For God’s sake, get a grip people, and stick to the 18 miles of beach where you don’t have to worry about those pesky dogs!

38 Melody February 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm

There are boundry signs and there is a station with supplies for doggie pick up

39 Cal February 11, 2009 at 12:07 am

Carrie, your children’s “ungainly” movements are just as likely to attract sharks, so perhaps you should keep them out of the water for my dog’s safety!

Please stop being the typical silly, hysterical career mom and actually think about the real risks. Surfers and fishermen are more likely to attract sharks than anything, yet you do not seek to ban them….?

And I have to ask, WHY WOULD YOU CONTINUE TO GO TO THE 400 FEET OF BEACH THAT IS DOG FRIENDLY if you are so afraid for your children’s welfare? If you really believe what you say, then you are putting your children at risk. And if you do not believe you are putting your children at risk, why are you continuing this silly crusade? Couldn’t you target a real problem, like the drunk drivers leaving Pier Park, or speeders through Palmetto Trace that actually pose a significant threat to your family’s health and welfare? God, woman, GET A LIFE!

40 jellen February 11, 2009 at 12:33 am

My family has lived in PCB for over 30 years. My kids grew up playing on the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches. A bragging point to visitors was always that dogs were not allowed on the beach. It was for people. Now, the beach by the city pier is not beautiful. It’s just a dog run similar to those at freeway rest areas where the signs warn you to not let children play there. Why should taxpayers have to hire a doggie enforcement patrol or pay for bags for the Pier Park beach? Please quit saying tootsie roll beach. Dog crap is just that — crap, not candy.

I also think it’s stupid and short sighted to allow dogs in retail areas. Anyone who is seriously planning to shop doesn’t bring a pet and many shoppers DO stay away from places where they are likely to encounter dogs. Yuck!

41 Lori Duncan February 11, 2009 at 12:51 am

Folks, let’s take a step back and follow our moderator’s lead in class and treat each other a little nicer. Yes, we are all passionate about our opinions on this subject. I’ve read all of the comments and we all agree that dogs need someplace to play, etc. But when you shout or attack Jason, his children, other’s children, that goes too far. IMHO, children have more of a right to the beach than dogs. I love dogs too, as I said. Wanting rules for dog owners does not make me against dogs. It’s just being civilized. Don’t be dissing anyone’s kids, you don’t know them. If I know Jason, his kids are being raised to be perfectly normal, fine human beings. This is no forum for dogs vs. humans.

It is possible to state your opinions without insulting people. I may joke around, but to point the finger at one poster and tell them their kids are noisey, etc., is just plain mean. Jason, keep up the good work. You are awesome and I’m sure your kids are too!

Trash is trash, whether it is from college kids, street bums, dogs or foreigners. It comes down to responsibility. Without rules, it’s a free-for-all. Without consequences of our actions, or inactions, there should be consequences. From diapers to beer bottles, to pet waste, if we don’t nip it in the bud now, we might as well kiss our claim to “most beautiful beaches” goodbye.

I gotta hand it to you Carrie! You really got a storm brewing here. Probably a dialogue that’s long overdue to make things right. Bravo!

42 Marie Colter February 11, 2009 at 1:02 am

Kids don’t have any more right to enjoy the beach than dog-owners, who are 45 percent of the population. 95 percent of local government parks & recreation dollars go to providing recreation for children. Why can’t you parents just let that significant portion of this community’s population enjoy 400 feet of recreational space? Selfish, selfish, selfish.

It’s 400 feet, folks. You have the rest of the 18 miles of beach. Do you even realize how selfish you all sound? shame on you.

43 Carrie Stephani February 11, 2009 at 1:05 am

I don’t want this to turn into something lacking empathy and understanding. I just want to be clear on my desire. My desire is not to eliminate the dog beach. My desire is to move it to a less active and high profile area. If you read my article you will see my experience with infractions and perpetrators is happening OUTSIDE the 400 feet of dog dedicated beach. This is my concern. If the dogs and fecal matter were contained I would not have a problem. As has been mentioned by other people on this website people are taking their dogs outside the dog beach area. There is no enforcement of boundaries or rules so there are many people abusing the privilege. My point is that I go to the non-dog beach and I am dealing with dogs.

44 Chance February 11, 2009 at 1:08 am

Carrie, when you have established another beachfront as big or bigger where dog-owners can take their pets without any future harassment by NIMBYs, let us know. Until then, I’ll be enjoying the space that the sensible and caring PCB City Council set aside for me as a taxpayer and member of this community.

45 Lori Duncan February 11, 2009 at 1:11 am

I don’t think it’s selfish at all. It is not being stated that children have more rights than dog “owners”. It children having more rights than dogs. Yes, I personally think more han 400 feet should be provided for dogs. Just not placed in prime beach areas such as across the street from Pier Park, etc. Wow, it’s sad when dogs become more important than our children or grandchildren. Dogs don’t care where they evacuate, but we care where our little kids walk barefoot. So humans vs. animals. I vote humans.

46 Chance February 11, 2009 at 1:14 am

And, just so you know, people who live along the beach front have dogs, and are allowed to take their dogs on the beach down to the federal renourishment line. So don’t assume that every dog you see on the beach is in violation of city ordinances.

If people are outside the boundaries, then let’s enforce to the same standard that we enforce other beach rules such as littering, etc. I cannot fathom, however, why you think the ordinance pertaining to dogs is more important than other ordinances that cover our public areas such as the city-owned beachfront. I guess maybe because dogs are just an annoyance to you. Cigarette butts and baby diapers both of which are found in great abundance on that same stretch of beach – have photos!) make me physically ill, but I’m not spending all my spare time asking for smokers and kids in diapers to be banned from the beach….

47 Marie February 11, 2009 at 1:21 am

You know, not everyone wants or is able to have children, dear Lori. Not everyone’s lives are wrapped up in children and grandchildren. But I guess those people don’t deserve to have any other recreational space if they don’t have children – they should be marginalized and continue to pay taxes so those privileged people with skads of kids can go to public school, play in public playgrounds and ballfields that don’t serve childless people in any way shape or form.

Yep, and those people that would deny us childless folks a simple pleasure of 400 feet of beach that we can enjoy with our four-legged family members ARE selfish. No ifs ands or buts.

The garbage about your kids little feet – oh please. Worry about the broken glass and bird droppings and bird feathers. Do the research on the diseases that breed in the ticks and lice on seagulls and pelicans. If you were really all that concerned about stepping in unsanitary conditions and your kids contracting a disease, you wouldn’t go to the beach at all.

48 Lori Duncan February 11, 2009 at 1:22 am

This will be my last comments on this subject. Carrie, excellent conversation starter! I totally understand you and kudos to your efforts. The arguments are mostly about the lazy individuals who ignore their pets’ poo.

Lastly, I live 14 hours away from the beach I love. So we we have a large area in our backyard by the koi pond filled with sand. It’s fenced in and I never let my dog onto it. Not selfish, just my rules. She has her area, I have mine. She knows it and her potty is in another part of the yard. I also pick up after her, and I live in a rural area next to a pasture. So if I can still pick up after my dog out here where it’s only my family around, why can’t others pick up after their pets in public areas?

It’s been fun chatting with you all about this. I know that mixing all of your opinions like this will eventually provide PCB with a suitable solution. Have a great night all!

49 tammy price February 11, 2009 at 1:27 am

Went to dog beach on sunday and saw no dog poop, but saw a lot of people put bags in the garbage container. at the end of the day, there was still human trash, but no dog poop visible. so we should move the dog beach why? I don’t get it. it’s okay for people to litter but if a stray dog or cat poops on the beach, dog owners get blamed for being irresponsible and don’t get to enjoy the beach. weird.

50 Georgia February 11, 2009 at 10:10 am

Thank you Marie, I could not have said it better myself.

I do not know what it is going to take to make people realize just how special are dogs are to us. I do not have two legged children, I have four legged children and can assure you that they are just as special and well mannered as most of the two legged variety. Better than the majority that I have seen lately.

Maybe we should have a 400 foot section of beach away from everything and everyone that is designated “children only”…

51 Marc P February 11, 2009 at 10:20 am

I am a local and I can fill the readers in here on the hidden agenda. Jason is a dad of four who has decided that his kids and dogs are not compatible. Sad, but it’s his choice for his family. What is not fair is that Jason has tried to rid the beach area of other people’s dogs by writing against Pier Park’s dog-friendly policies, as he did on PCBDaily last year. Fortunately, it didn’t work, because reason prevailed, and one person’s wishes should not prevail over the needs of the community at large (or a retail center’s decisions on how to run its business). Now along comes overprotective mom-of-three, Carrie, who finds a kindred spirit in Jason, and, using his PCBDaily bully pulpit and any friends and relatives they can recruit, they publish exaggerations about the beach – and the dog owners – in an attempt to take it away from everyone else.

It is not compatible with PCBDaily’s goals to promote the area by publishing wildly negative exaggerations about our beautiful beaches. Realtors and tourist industry businesses who read this blog must be aghast. It’s irresponsible, as most reasonable people here are fine with the dog-friendly beach, know that it has been kept acceptably clean, and don’t see the need for this crusade against it.

52 Jason Koertge February 11, 2009 at 10:32 am


I’m sort of speechless at how the “pro” dog owners are resorting to personal attacks and “hitting below the belt.” I must say that I’m quite disappointed in that we can’t have a conversation without you insulting the “goals” of pcbdaily and citing that we at pcbdaily are “irresponsible” or “unreasonable.”

Just because you don’t agree with me, or most of our readers doesn’t mean that you are in the majority in the community, nor does it mean that just because our views are not inline with yours, they are wrong, or vice versa.

This isn’t irresponsible to talk about things that have meaning to us and our community. If you read pcbdaily often, then YOU KNOW that often there are highly opinionated articles on here. If you don’t agree with them, that’s totally cool. But, just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t make them irresponsible.

I’m closing comments down because you are getting irresponsible in your personal attacks, and I don’t appreciate it. Your personal attacks are what is making the readers of pcbdaily “aghast.” It is my responsibility to keep this site clean and I will not put up with your radical intimidations.