Dogs in Pier Park?

by March 27, 2008 • 77 comments

Something that keeps coming up in discussion with the readers of pcbdaily are whether or not dogs should be allowed in the Pier Park retail areas. I can certainly understand the appeal of bringing our k-9 friends with us for a stroll down the boardwalk area of Pier Park – Simon has done a great job of creating large walk areas for strolling.

I’m a dog person, but I’ve never been one to bring my pet with me everywhere, but I know people who do.

This is a question for discussion, something may or may not come of this, but I wanted to open up the subject. Should dogs be allowed in the retail areas of Pier Park.
Several good points have been made:

  • Clean up: Not every owner picks up after their pet. Would a possible solution be to enforce some sort of fine/ticket if caught not scooping the poop? How would that be enforced? Would on-site security be able to “ticket” people with something that could be enforced by local municipalities?
  • Safety: Are all dogs safe in public places? Do all dogs love every fearless child that excitedly runs up expecting to pet the “puppy”. There could also be an issue between two or more dogs that may become unfriendly with one another.
  • Noise: Would more shoppers than not be bothered by the noise of a barking dog?
  • General comfort: What about those that are uncomfortable around dogs? Sure, they can steer clear of one if they see it, but should they have to?

These are just questions. I’m asking for the opinions of the reader. Personally I like dogs, but I’m unsure if it is appropriate to have them in a retail shopping environment.

Confirmed, Simon has in place a rule that mandates what kind of animals are permitted in the mall.  The sign states “Only service animals training to assist persons with disabilities are permitted within the Shopping Center.”

I’ve seen these signs, but frankly have not ever read them before now.  I can’t say that I’ve paid specific attention to whether security is ignoring the fact that people are walking their dogs up and down the boardwalk area of Pier Park, but I can say that security is all over that place on their trike-mobile and feel fairly confident that they have seen the dogs.  Maybe they are asking the owners to leave when they see them with their pets, I can’t say that I know this one way or another.

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1 MJ March 27, 2008 at 6:48 am

I don’t think that it’s a good place for dogs.

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2 Nigel March 27, 2008 at 7:27 am

Dogs should not be allowed in Pier Park except to aid visually impaired people. Although the majority of people will pickup after their dog not all will. We have that problem in our neighborhood.

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3 Bryan Durta March 27, 2008 at 7:55 am

Simon has already decided that they do not want dogs at Pier Park. Rules have been posted that clearly state that only service animals are permitted.

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4 Jason March 27, 2008 at 8:00 am

Thanks Bryan for informing us of this. I had not seen any signage regarding this. This rule apparently does not seem to be enforced as the picture taken above was taken last Saturday and security was seen riding up and down the boardwalk area on their trike.

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5 Bryan Durta March 27, 2008 at 8:45 am

The dog prohibition is somewhere near the bottom of the long list of rules that are posted throughout the shopping/dining area.

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6 Jason March 27, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Thanks Bryan, I went by this afternoon and shot some photos of the sign, posted above. I’ll be sure to notice next time I’m there if security asks the owners with their pets to leave.

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7 Jason March 31, 2008 at 7:42 am

I was there over the weekend, and saw people walking their dogs around the boardwalk area. I was looking, but did not see any security pass them by without saying anything.

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8 Tom C March 31, 2008 at 7:54 pm

There is a place and this is not the place to have dogs for saftey and health reasons.

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9 Linda L March 31, 2008 at 8:50 pm

PIER PARK IS NO PLACE FOR DOGS TO BE STROLLING AROUND WITH THEIR OWNERS. TAKE THEM TO WALKING TRAILS OR SOMEWHERE ELSE!

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10 Melissa March 31, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Dogs should not be allowed in the Park, they have put too much time in creating it to let the dogs ruin it, alot of the grass I have noticed isn’t real, so what happens when a dog goes to the bathroom on it. Leave the dogs home there is a time and a place for animals and that is not the time or the place!

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11 Linda Hood March 31, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Dogs should not be allowed, except as specified, to assist persons with disabilities.

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12 Donald Docken April 1, 2008 at 6:37 am

I am a dog owner, however, I respect the fact that not all people want dogs in this environment and there should be NO question about adherence to the cleanup issue —– One strike and you get a ticket and must leave the facility for that day.

Don

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13 Terri Lawhorn April 1, 2008 at 8:35 am

I own a very friendly, social dog but I would not have considered taking him to a shopping center. I think it is completely disrespectful to others and I do not expect other people to love my dog like I do. I did hear that there is a designated pet area on the beach across the street from Pier Park but I have not checked it out yet. Do you know if this is true?

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14 Cindy April 1, 2008 at 8:41 am

I have a dog and cats, but I am 99% against pets unless the person has a disability requiring the aid of a dog.

DOGS DON’T HAVE FLUSHABLE TOILETS, and SOME dog owners don’t clean up after their dogs, and you can’t clean up the smelly(P).

SOME PEOPLE are alegeric to dogs, and some people are deathly afraid of dogs. Dogs are similiar to the smoking issues – Please DON’T allow them to cast a shadow on the best thing that has happened to PCB this Century!

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15 Lisa April 1, 2008 at 8:47 am

More and more urban communities are becoming more dog friendly. European countries have been dog friendly for years. You’ll find man’s best friend both inside and outside cafe’s and boutiques.
As usual, PCB is behind the times, stuck in their time warp and afraid to get out of it. Install postings with the plastic poop-bags in the grassy areas to encourage proper clean up. Yes, fining someone who is caught not cleaning up after their pet is a great idea. I have not yet brought my English Bulldog to Pier Park, but I LOVE seeing all the different dogs with their owners, walking down the street, sitting under the tables outside.
Our neighbors in Walton County have been much more pet friendly around their beaches and retail areas and it works for them.
There is also a big difference between having pets at Pier Park and letting them in the retail stores.
Some of you are fine with spring breakers trashing the community and Thunder Beach roaring through the streets, and yes, this year Pier Park, but then you get upset when someone brings their pet to an OUTSIDE establishment. Educate yourselves. The world around you is changing.

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16 Noble April 1, 2008 at 9:05 am

I travel with my small dog and I try to respect other people. He is very well behaved and I clean up after him, but I have seen a lot of dog owners that do not. I was in a store in Gatlinburg, TN and someone had let their dog leave a big pile that would have fit in a two pound butter tub. These are the people that ruin it for others. I agree pets should not be in the stores or resturants, sidewalks ok, as it does get too hot for them to stay in the car.

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17 Sandy April 1, 2008 at 9:09 am

I agree that dogs should not be allowed at Pier Park, “including the concerts in the park”. Dogs bark and many disrupt others around them. And that is not even mentioning that not all people clean up after their dogs and many of us bring blankets to sit in the grass. If you want to listen to music with your “dog”, then sit in your backyard and turn on your stereo. Don’t force others to endure your pet. Not everyone likes animals and many are allergic to pet dander. Please, be thoughtful of others. Thank you.

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18 Jo King April 1, 2008 at 9:21 am

Keep your pets at home in their own yard and enjoy them there! It is not “outdated” to want to be in people places without pets. It is a choice of lifestyle.

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19 Bob April 1, 2008 at 9:37 am

Dogs should NOT be allowed in the retail area of the Park. There are designated areas for dogs in the Park and on the beach. It seems to me that many people that bring a dog into a public area do it to gain attention not because the dog is enjoying it. Has anyone ever heard a dog say, take me to Pier Park.

Just this last weekend I witnessed two dogs on leashes got at it with the owners thinking it was funny. If your a pet lover then take your pet to a pet friendly area. don’t expect the reat of us to put up with you need for attention in a public area.

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20 Lisa Felix April 1, 2008 at 11:28 am

COME ON PEOPLE! Responsible people need a place where they can take their dogs to get socialized! Dogs who are banned to the backyard for their entire lives are the ones who become mean and angry and eventually break out of their prisons and bite people. A venue where you can take your dog to a concert in the park or let your well behaved dog sit under your outdoor table while you enjoy a burger or a beer is what makes life worth living! I know of many untrained, destructive children that are more of an interruption to my enjoyment than someones four legged friend!

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21 Joan April 1, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I took my puppy to Pier Park last Saturday. She is a small dog breed and I am teaching her proper social behavior. She was well behaved and more people than not stopped to pet her, ask her breed or just talk about their dog they left at home. Tiki was a wonderful conversation starter and I actually ended up meeting new friends through her.

Look at communities in Walton County; one of the finer examples is Rosemary Beach. They have bags above trash cans for the dog droppings. You never see dog poop on the lawns over there.
Some of us are quite responsible with our pets. Do not ban us because of other’s irresponsibility.

As for litter…I just saw a local man last night throw out an aluminum can out his car window on Front Beach Road. Let’s quit blaming others; tourists, dogs, spring breakers, and start taking care of our area ourselves.

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22 Bob April 1, 2008 at 12:56 pm

If someone was smart they would put some type of a dog run our open a dog sitting service at the mall. Someone is missing out on big bucks.

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23 Rene" April 1, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Jason I have been out of town and would like to know if anymore stores have opened in the last 12 days. Thanks and do you have any pictures.

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24 GBC April 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm

I like the idea of having dogs at the park. I love my ‘girls’ and often take them with me for an outing. I work every day and feel guilty leaving them on the weekends or when I’m on vacation and they enjoy being with us, too. People who bring dogs generally only bring well behaved ones. I attend a doggy happy hour in Alexandria, VA and there have never been any problems. It has also increased the business quite a bit. Pier Park could have a doggy happy hour, too, and then even do a Halloween costume party or Christmas parade to increase business. http://doggiehappyhour.com is the website.

Europe allows dogs and recognizes the joy and comfort they bring. I say let them in and be sure people know they have to pick up after them or be fined/asked to leave.

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25 Carrie April 1, 2008 at 8:36 pm

I do feel for dog owners and believe there should be places for dogs to socialize but not Pier Park. South Walton may have areas for dogs but look at the demographic of South Walton.

My friend who is a retailer in Peir Park told me she saw a dog uninating on the astro turf. There are responsible dog owners out there but I don’t think we should start the entirety of Bay county dog owners out in Peir Park.

The park area across the street is a great alternative and I believe much more appealing to the dogs.

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26 MJ April 1, 2008 at 8:41 pm

I think that people who insist on bringing their dogs to public shopping/dining areas should all go to Europe to live!

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27 Cathy April 1, 2008 at 11:54 pm

I agree totally with Lisa who wrote on April 1 that Panama City is way behind the times. I am much more offended by what the College and High school spring breakers do in the way of trash than a pet at Pier Park. I agree pet owners do need to be responsible and should be fined if they don’t clean up after their pets but there are irresponsible people everywhere. Being the manager of a retail store, I had a dirty diaper left in the dressing room and thrown all over the parking areas. Maybe we should ban all babies in diapers from retail shopping areas. I have also seen the beer cans and cigarette butts thrown all around the shopping centers. We could ban smokers and drinkers as well. How about people who drink water or soft drinks and throw those bottles on the beach or everywhere but in the trash?
I agree with Lisa too, on there is a big difference too in allowing dogs in Pier “Park” then in the retail stores and restaurants.
And for the comment about dogs at concerts in the park, I am for banning the screaming babies and children running all over out of control to some of us that is more offensive then a dog who is leashed and laying peacefully by his masters side. Also, I think we should ban cigarette smokers who smoke at the concerts because I am extremely allergic to cigarette and cigar smoke. It makes me deathly ill. I have had to leave a concert or change my seat because of that. And exactly what do they do with the butts when they are done smoking. The answer is in all people being responsible and considerate of others. Do you think that can ever happen?

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28 sarah April 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm

My only problem with dogs in pier park is my son’s severe allergies. He takes daily medicine and shots ,but would still have a reaction if any animal fur is on his clothing than has contact with his skin. This is a problem every year at school as well we have to ask the kids who have cats or dogs to please not sit next to him it sucks and he hates it but we’re doing what we can. He sometimes has such severe reactions ,especially to fur, that we’ve ended up in the ER, the worst part in all this is my son loves animals so much. He’d love to pet your dog in pier park but can’t . If your dog was allergic to my kid I’d maybe you’d understand.

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29 Scott April 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm

I am a fun loving pet owner who owns 2 dogs. I feel the the owner of the of Pier Park has mad a rule based on the best interest of the property and the people who will vist. The people who feel that we need to grow up and change base on the rules of other countries should A) move to the country that has the changes they like, or B) Build their own Pier Park and let thier dogs do as they wish. Rules are rules thats why they are posted big or small.

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30 MJ April 2, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Scott,
AMEN!

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31 Bill April 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Pier Park IS DOG FRIENDLY!
Simon Group has made that decision and it attracts shoppers to the area. The signage is just temporary ‘boilerplate’. If they didn’t allow dogs, Pier Park would lose out on millions of dollars of shopping and dining revenue. People love their dogs and people bring money. Go, Dogs!

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32 MJ April 6, 2008 at 5:28 am

Bill,
Will you let us know when they change the signs?
Personally, I don’t believe for a minute that Pier Park retailers will lose a lot of money if they don’t allow dogs.

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33 Randy April 6, 2008 at 11:18 am

I met a couple last month at the dog beach who told me they came to this area BECAUSE they could stroll with their dog at Pier Park and visit the beach with him. They spent thousands of dollars during their week – money that they wouldn’t have spent in Destin. Don’t tell me that retailers don’t benefit.

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34 Bryan Durta April 6, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Bill,
Can you please provide your source for your statement Simon has changed their mind since posting the signs? That way, everyone will feel more comfortable breaking the posted rules. Thank you.

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35 Bryan Durta April 6, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Bill,
Can you please provide your source for your statement that Simon has changed their mind since posting the signs? That way, everyone will feel more comfortable ignoring the posted rules. Thank you.

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36 MJ April 6, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Randy,
So that couple made the decision to vacation in PCB while the “no pet” signs were still on the Pier Park retail area, didn’t they?

I have no problem with designated pet areas, even a place for them on the beach or in some parks. But pets should not be allowed in the main Pier Park retail/dining areas, in my opinion. The people who I know who travel with their pets (my cousins for example) do not think that they have to have their dog with them 24/7, everywhere that they go.

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37 MJ April 6, 2008 at 7:14 pm

And……most condos don’t allow pets. There is a reason for that!

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38 Ken Karr April 7, 2008 at 7:07 am

First Fridays, downtown Panama City has allowed dogs for ever, that I know of. I have not seen any conflicts or complaints. My wife and I take our dog to First Fridays and enjoy it. Our dog, 100 pound Lab/boxer gets lots of attention and enjoyment. We do pick up after our dog and that should be a law. At Pier Park at the concerts allows dogs and again no conflicts that I have even seen. If you want to look like Key West, dogs would be allowed as well, Thank you

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39 Sandi Wolf April 7, 2008 at 7:34 am

I can certainly respect the fact that not all people are comfortable with dogs at designated public establishments but we live in a world where we have to compromise. I love seeing dogs in outdoor areas and since this is new to Panama City, there will be “growing pains”. Pet owners have to be educated and pets have to become socialized so we need environments such as Pier Park in order to accomplish this. The dog-friendly beach is just across the street and a great place for the dogs to unwind before their owners go to Pier Park to do the same. Let’s at least try to make this work and if a pet owner is not taking their responsility seriously, let’s politely bring it to their attention.

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40 MJ April 7, 2008 at 8:51 am

It is up to the Pier Park owners and I haven’t seen any evidence that the “no pets” policy has been changed. As I said, I have no problem with designated pet areas. I think it’s good to have some designated public parks/beaches where people can take their dogs. But I’ve not seen any compelling reason why dogs should be allowed in the retail/dining areas of Pier Park, other than that some owners seem to insist on taking their dogs everywhere.

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41 David April 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

I took my dog to the Haufbrau House a couple weeks ago for a beer and sausage. NOBODY complained or seemed to mind. One family seemed a bit put-off by his presence but came up and said hi and visited when they left with NO complaints.

In fact my dog got a lot of attention from people wanting to pet him. IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners wouldn’t think to bring their dogs into an area like Pier Park.

But as always, a few caustic comments and OPINIONS by the minority of a community will ruin it for the rest.

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42 MJ April 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I believe that the decision should be up to the Haufbrau House and the owners of the complex and that the rules posted should be followed, and on an equal basis for all.

Jason, how about setting up about a poll, so that those of us caustic people, in the minority, whose opinions don’t really count, can at least have a vote?

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43 Jason April 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm

done. I added a poll to the top right of the page. I’ll also do another post on it for Wednesday to be sure everyone knows it is there.

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44 David April 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Now MJ, don’t take it personally. Ooops looks like you already have!

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45 MJ April 7, 2008 at 4:58 pm

David,
Bless your heart! Of course, your opinion is every bit as important as mine.

Jason,
Thanks for the poll!

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46 John April 8, 2008 at 8:11 am

I strongly agree with comments #15 and 27. Dog Friendliness is a economic and social trend that can’t be ignored. PC and PCB are way behind the times. Business owners will soon realize that responsible dog owners tend to frequent businesses where dogs are welcome (and not necessarily inside the store), and spend significantly more, on average, than non-dog owners. Just call Amerisuites, Quality Inn, or Motel 6. These dog-friendly establishments have shown an increase of over 25% in sales since implementing a dog-friendly policy. This is not a coincidence. Pier Park can be a model for Dog-Friendly areas – if we let it.

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47 MJ April 8, 2008 at 8:32 am

John,
There are so few hotels and almost no condos that allow pets, so I’m not surprised. However, taking your pet on vacation is one thing, but thinking that your pet should be allowed to go everywhere that humans go is a different thing, entirely. I keep hearing things like “compromise”–compromise is establishing pet-friendly areas, as PCB has done. But it seems that when some people say “compromise” what they really mean is “My dog, my way and anyone who feels differently can take a hike”.

I don’t think that most people (even dog lovers) want to shop and dine out with a lot of dogs around them.

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48 Cat April 8, 2008 at 8:52 am

My dog is certified and insured to go in hospitals to visit patients in an ICU. Certainly he poses no health threat to anyone strolling through Pier Park. Quit with the hyperbole and hysteria. If you don’t like dogs, then don’t sit near them. I personally don’t like sitting near children in restaurants because they are quite often noisy and dirty and smelly, but in a polite, free society, my freedoms do not supercede anyone else’s and we must all learn to get along. Give it a try. Your blood pressure might come down and you might be able to come off that Zoloft.

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49 MJ April 8, 2008 at 8:56 am

Thank you, Cat, for being so polite.

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50 Cat April 8, 2008 at 9:49 am

Thanks, MJ!

FYI, can someone fix the spelling on the poll? ALOUD?

Shouldn’t it be ALLOWED?

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51 MJ April 8, 2008 at 10:01 am

Nah, it’s aloud, as in:

I smell a loud rat in this poll about dogs!

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52 William April 8, 2008 at 10:06 am

Hmmmm. Perhaps you’re just in the minority and the folks who like dogs are just nicer people and have more friends?

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53 MJ April 8, 2008 at 10:06 am

It’s really funny how, in such a short time, it went from:

12:NO 7:YES

TO

24:YES 14:NO

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54 William April 8, 2008 at 10:07 am

Hey MJ —

Are you by chance the infamous Michael Monahan?

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55 Tori April 8, 2008 at 10:11 am

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww! MJ’s a sore loser. Dude, we dog people (and we ARE in the majority) have large address books full of other people who like dogs.

Silly!

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56 MJ April 8, 2008 at 10:13 am

William, if you called all your friends and asked them to vote in this poll, then you are most certainly a nicer person than I. No question about it. I would imagine that you even have all of your 4-legged friends voting in the poll.

So you are successful at skewing a poll:
Congratulations!

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57 Emory April 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

Actually, the way you skew a poll is to think up what answer you want from it, then let only like-minded people know about it. Sorry we screwed that up for you MJ.

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58 MJ April 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

What’s sad is that when you saw that you were running in the minority in the poll, you wouldn’t let it run its course naturally, you were compelled to recruit people from all over the place to vote, so that you would be the “winners”.

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59 Emory April 8, 2008 at 10:34 am

Well, we should win! There’s more of us! Isn’t that the purpose of a poll?

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60 Lou April 8, 2008 at 10:36 am

I like going to the beach and then getting a cold beer at the Hoffbrau. Everyone there loves my min pin. What’s the prob?

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61 MJ April 8, 2008 at 10:40 am

Maybe Jason has some sort of a prize for you.

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62 Cat April 8, 2008 at 10:46 am

A prize? How lovely! How about a beer at the Hoffbrau for all of us dog lovers!

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63 MJ April 8, 2008 at 10:49 am

Be sure to show up with all 35+ of your friends AND with all of your dogs. And then we’ll see how long it takes before the management of Pier Park starts enforcing the rules.

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64 Jeff April 8, 2008 at 10:52 am

LOL. Mike Monahan. I still picture him playing with his pet tarantula.

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65 Mike Monahan April 8, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I love dogs and think they should be allowed at Pier Park. Good grief, why would be ban all dogs due to one or two owners being inconsiderate. If that were the rule, then spring breakers, smokers, etc. should be banned also. And there’s a LOT more of those types frequenting our beaches and Pier Park.

Signed,
Mike “Dogs Rule” Monahan

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66 Jason April 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Aloud, honest mistake. That’s what I get for criticizing someone else’s mistake, and for not slowing down to get things done.

The poll has been tampered with.

This is just a pcbdaily poll. Nothing will be changed by this, and voting repeatedly is just childish, but actually somewhat comical. I was looking at the log and found 36 votes for “yes” from one cookie-logged ip address; meaning that it wasn’t multiple people on the same network but votes from one computer.

There was not one ip address duplication in the “no” answer.

I’m just confused as to why someone would actually waste their time hitting “yes” 36 times.

Actually, I’m flattered.

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67 Jason April 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

The idea behind the comments feature is to promote productive discussion. This post is going down hill fast. If we can’t get back in line, I’m going to shut comments down and others that would like to contribute will not be able to.

I love dogs, I’ve actually been itching for a puppy for quite some time, and my kids love dogs, but the timing is not right for our family to have one. If we owned a pet, I can’t say that I wouldn’t want to bring him/her for a walk in Pier Park also.

I understand that much of this hinges on personal owner responsibility. I’m afraid that not all owners are as responsible as the majority of you. One of the motivations for this post was an almost dangerous encounter in Pier Park with my children and an unfriendly pit-bull that was not as happy to see my kids as my kids were to see him. As a parent, I know not all animals feel ok about kids running up to them, and I try to teach my children to always ask the owner from a distance before they approach. However, it only takes one mistake for someone to get hurt, and you can be darn sure that the safety of my children will always come before the safety of your pet.

I’m also nervous when people start comparing dogs to children like they are in the same category. I think that if you are that troubled about children, I’d rather not be close to you either, kindly tell me and I’ll ask to be moved.

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68 MJ April 8, 2008 at 5:29 pm

It is certainly disturbing to see such “polite” people equating children with dogs. Even with my own kids, I had the sense when they were little, to know that it was best not to take them to some places.

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69 Mike Monahan April 8, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Look, all it takes is one second for you as a parent to look away, and your child could be run over by a car, engulfed in a rip tide, kidnapped by an evil person, stung by a stingray, hit by lightning and – yes – bitten by a dog. But we don’t ban all of the other things, so why ban dogs? Be a responsible parent, and teach your child not to run into traffic, swim alone, talk to strangers, stand in a field during a lightning storm and run up to unfamiliar dogs. Then you’ll have no worries at Pier Park — or anywhere else.

And FYI — how you feel about people who don’t like kids is absolutely the way I feel about people who “like dogs, but….”

Signed,

Mike “Keep your kid on a leash in the back yard” Monahan.

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70 MJ April 8, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Mike,
If you’re talking to me, I never said that I don’t like dogs. Don’t assume that just because someone doesn’t think that dogs should be allowed in retail/dining areas means that he doesn’t like dogs.

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71 Sandy April 9, 2008 at 9:07 am

Hello all. Look, I love my kids and grandkids more than life itself. They grew up with animals, some potentially dangerous. This enriched their lives and provided a tremedous learning experience. Now, my grandkids beg me to take them to Friday Fest and Pier Park, just so they can experience the dogs! I spent $400 at Pier Park last time I was there, while my husband and the kids enjoyed the outdoor “lifestyle concept’ and petted the occasional dog (with the permission of the owner, of course).
Don’t wish for someone to take this wonderful experience from everyone around you. You can’t legislate every experience away from people in the name of safety or health. To the person whose child has allergies, my heart goes out to you because if he is that sensitive, why, I have a sweater I bought in Peru that would give him trouble. I hope that you will take advantage of the wonderful advances in medicine to find him the right medication so that he can enjoy the world we live in.

People are going to own pets, and they will be outdoors with them (dogs have to be walked somewhere!),and the trend is that more and more will be traveling with them, and dining with them (outdoors, as allowed in Florida). If you try to deprive your children of that experience, then you’ll have to avoid Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami, which have all gone pet-friendly with outdoor experiences for diners and their pets. I welcome it! Case closed.

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72 MJ April 10, 2008 at 3:42 am

I’m sure your dogs are great and I understand that they are a part of your family, but I don’t think that any human child should have to be medicated to indulge some people who want to take their dogs out everywhere. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone on here say that there should be no public areas for dogs and no place to walk them. I’ve said just the opposite, in fact.

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73 Roger April 10, 2008 at 7:44 am

I think MJ repeatedly responding in the negative to every single comment is the verbose equivalent of someone hitting the enter key repeatedly. MJ, give it up.

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74 Gimme a break April 10, 2008 at 8:57 am

MJ — kids aren’t medicated to “indulge” people. Kids are medicated because they have a medical problem. Should we ban smoking in outdoor areas because I have asthma? No — I just walk around the cloud of smoke. Should a whole classroom be disrupted by a kid with ADHD just because of that child’s medical problem? Should we ban peanut butter just because my child is allergic to it?

Face it, people with specific medical problems must make decisions every day how to manage them. It’s not up to the public at large to give up specific freedoms so that they don’t have to.

Otherwise, we’d lowering our standards to some lowest common denominator every time someone has a specific problem. We’d ban driving because some people speed. We’d be banning alcoholic beverages because some people choose to overindulge and harm their health. We’d ban smoking because some kid with asthma might walk through the smoke.

Stop using alarmism as a ridiculous rationalization for your personal mores. It just doesn’t pass the “sniff test.”

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75 MJ April 10, 2008 at 9:17 am

Smoking actually has been banned in outside areas in many public places; Disneyworld, for example. Designated smoking areas are available at Disney. You can’t just walk around and smoke at Disney.

Likewise, alcoholic beverages are not allowed in many public places. Most Florida State Parks, for example, do not allow them.

Pier Park, like Disney World, is a privately owned complex, and they have a right to make “no animals” rules.

I’m sorry, but you can’t compare people having a right to drive to people having a right to take their dogs anywhere. And having ADHD is not the same as having an allergy to dogs.

Roger, at least I didn’t vote 36+ times. But you have a point. I won’t say anything else unless someone addresses me.

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