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Should dogs be allowed on beaches?

Jim Ware
Dogs on the beach

A reader asks if dogs should be allowed on local beaches. (StarNews file photo)

A reader raises this question after making this observation about Wrightsville Beach:

“If you ever go to the beach (and I’m not referring to the Loop), you know the poop ordinance is not enforced regardless of its intent and regardless of what officials say. How can it possibly be enforced? We are on the beach all day on weekends in fall and winter during dog season and seldom see one single park ranger pass.

“My point is this: With a lame-but-well-intended ordinance that is not enforceable, is a dog friendly beach really what the majority of us beachgoers who are residents and taxpayers of New Hanover County want? I would like to know how your readers weigh in on the bigger issue of dog-season vs. no-dog-season on the beach.”

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10 Responses to “ Should dogs be allowed on beaches?”

  1. On November 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm Sam wrote:

    You can’t control everything. Plenty of times during high season I see families with small children that leave behind garbage and who knows what- so should kids not be allowed either? I always pick up after my dog and shouldnt be punished for other people.

  2. On November 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm Barbara wrote:

    They absolutely should be allowed on the beach. I take my dog to the beach all the time and have never seen any dog waste on the beach. I do, however, see a lot of human-generated garbage, which I pick up (along with my dog’s poop). As dog owners, we have a responsibility to clean up after our dogs and also to keep them on leash, per the law. I do see dogs off leash and it concerns me that dogs won’t be allowed at all because of it.

  3. On November 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm Amber wrote:

    My favorite time of year here is Oct-Mar. There are few things that make my day more enjoyable than taking my dogs for long walks on the beach. That said, I am always responsible with their waste, and I am certain that I run across far more litter, (among other surprises), during the spring and summer months. Most dog owners are very responsible about this, but there are always a few that get lazy. This may be an issue that needs addressing, but it’s certainly not enough of a problem to restrict dogs from the beach year round.

  4. On November 17, 2011 at 7:39 am Mike wrote:

    Dogs should be allowed on the beach. Most local dog owners are responsible and pick up dog waste when it happens. Most dog owners also leash their pets when they are on areas of the beach shared by sunbathers (NO one likes sand kicked up all over by a dog running after seagulls). That all said, I don’t have a problem with dogs being off leash on the beach during the winter season. I have cats by the way, no dogs.

  5. On November 17, 2011 at 9:29 am John wrote:

    I agree 100%. I see a lot more human produced trash on our beachs than dog waste. Dogs should be allowed on the beach.

  6. On November 17, 2011 at 10:39 am Jonathan wrote:


    This question is obviously being raised by a mail carrier who just wants to get away from his bitter rival…only to be confronted with them on the beach….

    My dogs are more well behaved than most children on the beach, and cleaner than most adults.

  7. On November 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm Kevin McRill wrote:

    They should be allowed on the beach and without a leash – I take my lab mix to Shell Island on the North End about once a week – we go out onto the tidal flats chasing birds and chasing balls in the water – beautiful to watch and doesn’t bother anyone – I always take a couple doggie bags to pick up feces –

  8. On November 23, 2011 at 8:26 am Billy wrote:

    I live on the Island and love walking my dog on the beach, but at the height of summer I can’t stand most of the day visitors to the beach. Can you imagine if half of those people, who can’t control their children, brought their dogs to the beach. That said I wish they would let us have dogs on the beach from Sept. 1st to April 30th.

  9. On January 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm Lin wrote:

    Absolutely NOT. I lived on the beach for several years and without exaggeration can report that the majority of dog owners had a sense of entitlement that resulted in no consideration for rules, sanitation, and other people. All the pro-doggie comments posted here are what the owners always avow: the violations are caused by “someone else”; they “always” carry waste bags; they “never” let their dogs off the leash. Yet I would see the same people walking dogs every day (or night, to avoid lifeguards) and ignoring posted ordinances, not to mention simple courtesy. I bet if our beaches were tested for e-coli we would find that the sand is not as pristine as it looks. In fact, it’s pretty disgusting – but of course that’s “someone else’s” fault.

  10. On September 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm Jim Grossi wrote:

    My opinion is not to allow dogs on the beach anytime for the reason that “lazy people ” don’t clean up after them !!! It’s definitely not the dogs fault , but it is VERY UNSANITARY FOR THE BEACH GOERS AND THEIR CHILDREN !!! Nobody can enforce any local law about clean up so DOGS SHOULD BE BANNED FROM THE BEACH PERIOD!!!!!!!

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