Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Commissioners Vote Against Dog Beach South Of Cocoa Beach

COCOA BEACH, Florida -- Brevard County Commissioners voted 3-2 against a citizen proposal to allow dogs on the beach in the unincorporated area south of the Cocoa Beach city limits.

The proposal provided that dogs would be required to be on a leash or under positive voice command, in South Cocoa Beach, during the hours before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m., except during turtle nesting season, when all dogs would be leashed at all times.

Supporters of the dog beach complained to Commissioners that the nearest dog beach, Canova Beach, is 10 miles away from Cocoa Beach.

Commissioner Andy Anderson, who was a proponent for dogs at Canova Beach, called any proposal for unleashed dogs on the beach a "non-starter" because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would require a management plan with a lengthy federal approval process to protect sea turtles from unleashed dogs.

Opponents of  dogs on the beach voiced concern over pet waste on the beach, the disruption of sea turtle nests, lack of available public parking, and the endangerment to beach-goers from unleashed dogs.

Commissioner Jim Barfield, whose district includes the proposed stretch of beach, said that he would like to see different locations explored by County staff that would have more public parking.

At the end of public discussion, Commissioner Trudie Infantini made a motion for a one year trial period to allow leashed dogs on the beach. That motion failed 3-2 with Commissioners Robin Fisher, Anderson, and Barfield voting no.  Commissioners Curt Smith and Infantini voted yes.
The proposed stretch of beach runs north of Patrick Air Force Base to south of the Cocoa Beach City limits.