- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Dogs won’t be allowed on Volusia County Beaches after all.

The Volusia County Council said no Thursday to a proposal to temporarily allow leashed dogs on the beaches. The Daytona Beach News-Journal (https://bit.ly/1eiQ9tg ) reports discussion about the issue touched on parasites, bites and possible confrontations between dog owners and people who would rather visit a dog-free beach.

“You would have a steaming heap of dog excrement for your next tourist to step on and have it ooze between his toes,” Councilman Doug Daniels said after the debate ended. “What is he going to tell people back home? That is not a good picture.”

Two weeks ago, the council agreed 6-1 to draft a test ordinance that would have allowed leashed dogs on everywhere on the beach. It would have been in place for up to three months.

But on Thursday, after hearing from the county’s health department, federal officials and residents, the council decided to ditch the proposal. The vote was 5-2. County Chair Jason Davis and Councilman Josh Wagner, who proposed the idea, were the dissenting voters. Wagner has pursued a plan to allow dogs on the beach for five years.

The county was already gearing up to implement the plan. County Manager Jim Dinneen said enforcement would have been strict. Someone caught not cleaning up after their dog or letting it run unleashed would have been fined. The county had suggested a fine of at least $50, with no warnings.

Several councilmembers feared turning Volusia County’s beach patrol into a puppy patrol.

“Unless we’re willing to be known as the dog Gestapo down there … I don’t think that’s a direction we want to go,” said Councilwoman Deb Denys.

County health director Dr. Bonnie Sorensen recommended against the proposal due to threats of hookworms, roundworms and even rabies.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service opposed the plan based on its potential impact on shorebirds and sea turtle nests.

The newspaper reports the vast number of residents who showed up at the meeting opposed the proposal.

The county has several dog-friendly beach areas.

Wagner said he was willing to scale back his original proposal and stressed that the trial period could be cut short if it was a disaster, but no one was interested in revisiting the idea.


Information from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, https://www.news-journalonline.com

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