Dogs just want to have fun
Dogs love the beach too. Longboat Key is
considering sharing its sands with
man's best friend.
SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
LONGBOAT KEY – A Longboat Key dog owner has started a movement to allow dogs on the beach, drawing more than 100 supportive e-mails in less than a month.
"We have a beautiful public beach that is not being used by a large part of the population who have dogs and who would like to enjoy a stroll on the beach with their dogs," Nelson Goldner wrote in a July 12 letter to Longboat Key Commissioner David Brenner.
He proposed a limited time period, such as 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., that would leave the beach exclusively to people virtually all day and suggested a trial period of a year or two to show the community that dog owners would be responsible about cleaning up after their dogs.
Tourism would benefit, too, wrote Goldner, best friend of a Wheaton terrier named Max, who enjoys dog friendly beaches on Long Island each summer.
"Offering a dog friendly beach area for visitors to our community will enhance the tourism experience and will bring more people to Longboat Key. Visitors are more likely to stay in an area that is dog friendly when traveling with their pets," he wrote.
Florida has 33 dog-friendly beaches, but the nearest Gulffront dog beach is in Venice, although dogs and horses are allowed on the narrow Palma Sola Causeway beaches along Manatee Avenue in Bradenton.
Longboat Key resident Jackie Salvino, whose two Havanese dogs, Kirby and Tia, would love to romp on the beach, thinks that dog owners would live up to their responsibilities.
"There have been no suggestions to let dogs run beaches off leash or unsupervised," Salvino wrote in a letter to commissioners supporting the idea.
"I ask you to consider all concerns, know the valid risks and rewards, and formulate a plan that provides the chance for those who own dogs and those who don't to enjoy the beaches. Get the statistical facts, not rhetoric, and then decide," she wrote. "Let's all get the true facts, make them available, and then make an informed choice."
Goldner is seeking to identify residents and visitors who support the concept as well as hear concerns that should be addressed in a law establishing a dog friendly beach. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The town commission is expected to discuss the issue later this year.