Seaside Heights officials this week reminded visitors of the borough’s updated policy prohibiting dogs from the beach and board. The policy comes just a year after officials decided to expand access to dogs – which ended up producing myriad sanitation issues, they say.
“Dogs are no longer permitted on the Seaside Heights ocean beaches and boardwalk,” the borough said in a reminder statement. “This is a year-round regulation. Off-season rules no longer apply.”
In March, the borough council voted to reinstate a prohibition on dogs following a number of incidents. Dogs had been allowed on the boardwalk between Oct. 1 and Palm Sunday. Borough officials said there had been numerous incidents on the boardwalk this past fall and winter where both civilians and police officers have found themselves the victims of disorderly conduct after telling people to clean up after their dogs when they failed to do so.
“They’re a problem all over town, and if you say something to the people they can become really angry and nasty,” said Councilwoman Agnes Polhemus.
Dog droppings began to be found regularly on the boardwalk after owners failed to clean up after their pets, representing a sanitation and health issue, Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said at the time.
In the ordinance which prohibited dogs on the beach and board, the borough also established penalties for falsely claiming one’s dog is a service animal, which are allowed.
“All claims that a dog is a service animal will be challenged by trained code enforcement officers as permitted by the Americans With Disabilities Act,” a statement from the borough said. “Very few dogs are bona fide service animals. Comfort dogs and therapy dogs are not bona fide service animals. In New Jersey, you can be fined from $100 to $500 for putting your dog in a guide dog harness to falsely pass it off as a guide dog.”
For having one’s dog on the beach and boardwalk – unrelated to any misstatements about its service status – the ordinance provides for a minimum fine of $100 with a maximum fine of $1,250.