DeLand, FL - After about an hour's worth of discussion between Volusia County Council (VCC) members, division directors, and public comment from several individuals, the motion was made to send options suggested by experts to staff in order to decide what would work best for the County.
Director of Public Protection Joe Pozzo said allowing dogs on the beach will require an amendment to the beach code that will require approval from the VCC.
Andrew Etheridge, Interim Beach Safety Director, says that his division doesn't have a position on the subject but dogs do take up a lot of Beach Safety's time. "Over the last three years our incidents with citizens with dogs and our officers having to enforce it has almost doubled. It is probably the number one issue that brings complaints to my department, both for and against."
Coastal Division Director Jessica Winterwerp also manages the county's two dog beaches. She talked about the operational issues encountered by her staff including the fact that some people will just not abide by the rules.
Environmental Management Director Ginger Adair said her duties are protecting the resources of the county including the natural resources of the beach. She said she's been advised by Florida Fish and Wildlife that dogs on the beach are not in keeping with conservation requirements. "We did receive emails and the hazards that it causes to wildlife, particularly nesting and resting shorebirds. There is the opportunity that dogs could dig up and or otherwise harass sea turtles."
Several people said during public comment that they thought dogs allowed on all the beaches was a bad idea but also said that they thought there could be restricted areas and times for dogs on the beach. Staff has been instructed to bring back information to the council.