Dogs waiting for their day at the beach
Cindy Lane | Sun
The only dog allowed on the beach on Anna Maria
Island is this sand sculpture of a contented canine
from SandBlast 2011.
BRADENTON BEACH – A movement to allow dogs on the beach on Anna Maria Island remains in planning mode while a similar movement on Longboat Key is gearing up to launch in fall.
Ruth Ueker has investigated possible sites for a “time share” dog beach - early morning and late afternoon - at Twin Piers on the Gulf side of Anna Maria Island, Coquina Bayside Park and the bayside Herb Dolan Park, all in Bradenton Beach.
After initially objecting to the idea of dogs on any beach, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Director Suzi Fox later gave the nod to Herb Dolan Park, where sea turtles and birds seldom nest.
Ueker collected 1,200 signatures on a petition favoring a dog beach and put together an illustrated proposal for local officials to consider.
But they haven’t seen it yet. Commissioners in Bradenton Beach and Manatee County have not been supportive in one-on-one conversations so far, she said.
“I don’t have a problem with fighting battles,” said Ueker, an Island resident and dog owner. But before placing the idea on a city or county commission agenda, where it could be quickly dismissed, she plans to beef up her plan.
On Longboat Key, Nelson and Laurin Goldner are moving ahead with their effort to establish a beachhead for their dog, Max.
The LBK-9 Coalition, a seven-member committee, has met five times since last fall to study dog beach issues and form a proposal to present to the Longboat Key Commission.
“We feel we have left no stones unturned,” Nelson Goldner wrote supporters. “We have enough information and are in the process of trying to condense it into a concise proposal worthy of presentation to the commission.”
The group is aiming to collect 2,500 signatures on an online petition that will be presented to the commission in fall, with an eye to approval by the end of the year.
Signers include Jackie Salvino, of Longboat Key, who wrote, “This will enhance the appeal of LBK to residents and visitors alike. I believe we can all enjoy our wonderful resources fairly and respectfully,” and Mary Lou Davidson, of Sarasota, who wrote, “Not only will having a dog beach benefit local residents, it will improve tourism! Let's do it LBK!”
Although dogs are not allowed on Gulf beaches on either Island, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key are marketed to tourists by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website as pet friendly.
Sign the petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/331/751/164/lbk-9-coalition-a-fight-for-equal-access/