NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla – The Neptune Beach City Council may soon approve an ordinance to lift time restrictions for dogs on the beach.
The council passed the first reading of the ordinance in January, and if the second reading passes, then the ordnance will immediately go into effect.
Most of the year, leashed dogs are allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter). That's the same policy as Jacksonville Beach. Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine beaches have no time constraints, although Anastasia State Park does not allow dogs on its beaches per the Florida State Parks policy.
Dog owner Keith Carpentier said he visits Neptune Beach several times a day and admits he often breaks the rules.
"It's very frustrating," Carpentier said. "I mean this is a great outlet for dogs to get exercise. I don't see a reason why they shouldn't be allowed to come out here. I've been stopped before and most of the time, Animal Control is pretty nice about giving out warnings, but they do write tickets occasionally."
Neptune Beach Animal Control said most of the violations occur in the area where Atlantic Beach meets Neptune Beach and there is no visible line of demarcation between the two beaches.
"They're so close and sometimes we don't know which beach we're on," dog owner Mete Tusha said."They should put a sign out. If I don't see the sign, then I'm just going to walk."
A few of the people on the beach are against the proposal, concerned about safety and owners not picking up after their pets. But for the most part, people News4Jax spoke with are ready for change.
"As long as they're behaving and not running all of the place without a leash, I don't see a problem with it," beachgoer Jeff Casey said. "Just be responsible."