Officials concerned for public safety as residents, visitors flout Glynn County pet restrictions

Dogs, cats, horses not allowed on beach, pier from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during summer months

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Pets like dogs, cats and horses are prohibited on the beach and pier in Glynn County from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

But many residents and visitors might not know it -- despite clear-cut signs on St. Simons Island.

The ordinance restricting pets during one of the busiest times of year for the area has been around for years, but Glynn County Communications Director Katie Baasen said it’s hardly acknowledged now, which is causing some public safety concerns.

On St. Simons Island, there are clear cut signs that say no pets allowed on its beaches or the pier. (WJXT)

“We just ask that you not take them between a certain time period for their safety and because of the volume of people on the beaches. It’s a public safety matter,” Baasen said.

Baasen said violators could receive a fine from the county, but she didn’t specify how much, and she said it’s unlikely violators will be fined for the time being.

That’s good news for several people News4JAX saw out on St. Simons Island with their pets during the restricted time.

Jimmy Braswell, who drove to St. Simons Island from Frankfurt, Kentucky, to visit family with his dog Lucy said he wasn’t aware of the ordinance.

Jimmy Braswell visited St. Simons Island from Kentucky with his dog Lucy. (WJXT)

“Well, I feel like as long as you keep your dogs under control that you should be able to bring them,” he said. “We’re going to bring her wherever we can when we can.”

Braswell wasn’t the only one not following the rules. We saw dogs everywhere during restricted hours at the pier.

Baasen said over the past few years new residents moved into the area and the county’s focus right now is to get the message out about the ordinance to make sure everyone is aware of it.

Brett Baxter, who lives in the area, said he found out about the ordinance a few years ago after someone approached him on the Fourth of July when he was with his dog Cosmo.

“I think it’s a couple of bad apples that probably ruined it for everyone,” Baxter said. “I believe in taking care of your dog and being a responsible owner and some of the rules could be relaxed.”

Brett Baxter rides with his dog Cosmo in a basket on his bike. (WJXT)

For now, Baxter said he’s found a way to skirt the rule by riding with Cosmo on the back of his bike in a basket.

“I’d love to walk around and be able to have him on the leash but due to the laws and the ordinances right now, he needs to be confined,” Baxter said, “so this is how we get him some exercise.”

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.