Home Seaside Heights & Seaside Park Seaside Park Debates Allowing Dogs on Beach

Seaside Park Debates Allowing Dogs on Beach

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A dog playing on the beach. (Credit: Kevin Rutherford)
A dog playing on the beach. (Credit: Kevin Rutherford)

Seaside Park Councilwoman Gail Coleman had heard from residents who wondered if allowing dogs on the beach in the off-season was possible.

The council discussed the possibility at its workshop meeting, but after sharing anecdotes, a report on enforcement from the police chief, questions of liability, the wording on signs and in an ordinance and other considerations, it decided to take the debate back to a subcommittee for further discussion.

The council’s workshop meeting informally discussed the idea of if to change its current no-dogs policy for the beach and boardwalk.

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Between the mayor, council members and police chief, the discussion broached a number of possible changes — allowing dogs in the off-season, leashed versus unleashed, what penalties would be needed, the difference between allowing boardwalk versus beach, and even signage.

The opinions and ideas were varied, and toward the end of the discussion, Councilwoman Faith Liguori asked if the council members could each weigh in on if they simply thought dogs on the beach was a good idea in any situation, and then work from there. A straw vote on that was not taken, after Councilman Fritz McHugh, a veterinarian by trade, said his opinion was contingent on the particulars.

“We shared a lot of experiences and opinions on this subject tonight,” Mayor Robert W. Matthies said. “How about we put it back to the folks on the committee to research this further and get some ideas down in writing.”

After that, whatever ordinance is drafted would come back to the council for discussion.

Discussion before that included comments on how many people currently bring their dogs on the boardwalk and beach during the off-season already.

Chief Francis Larkin said the current enforcement protocol has officers on the beach, often on quads, approaching folks who have dogs on the beach, and alerting them to the policies.

“Some weeks we have 30, other times 40,” Larkin said. At the first citing, police take the name and the contact info of that dog owner, to compare against a list the police use of folks they’ve approached once before, “so we know if this is their first time or if it means a warning or a summons,” Larkin said.

With this system, there hasn’t been many repeat offenders, Larkin said. However, “people already come from all over to use our beach and boardwalk in the off-season, with their dogs,” said the police chief.

The discussion item, according to the workshop agenda, was also supposed to broach the topic of whether to have a bayside dog park in Seaside Park, but the council members agreed to proceed to the remaining agenda items without discussing that topic.

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  • Peter James Smith

    Seaside Heights is passing an ordinance to become more dog friendly.

  • Tom Messner

    I would guess that Seaside Park may consider allowing dogs on the beach and
    boardwalk but only if you could prove it was purebred who
    graduated from a respected select doggie prep school.

  • Robert Moore

    PLEASE NO…I’ve seen tooooo many owners, NOT CLEAN-UP after their dogs….

  • Rich W

    The Manasquan dogs-only beach attracts people form all over the region who patronize many businesses in that town. In Seaside Park, they’d also pay for the privilege of parking. Did you know 62% of Americans have pets?

    Try it on a 1-block area of the beach (as Wildwood does). Seaside Heights had a very popular Dog Day on the Boardwalk.

    Robert (below), imposing progressively higher fines on owners who don’t pick up after their dogs should solve that problem (and generate some more income). The vast majority are responsible pet parents.

  • Mark Anderson

    How about the rights of people who want to go on the beach and not have dogs running up to them ( yes I know, no-ones dog ever bites!) , or hear barking dogs or step on dog dung or are simply afraid of dogs ( elderly, children people who have had bad past experiences with dogs)? Bad idea don’t do it!

    • Mac

      The rights of people who want to go on the beach and not have dogs running up to them? Are you for real? Your position of sheer arrogance, unestablished values of self-worth, and lack of mental flexibility for the interests and concerns of your neighbors are why the national taxpayers underwriting your self-entitled lifestyle would turn a blind eye to another Hurricane Sandy sneak attack wave returning to finish the job she mercifully didn’t complete the first time.