JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Every day, officials in Jacksonville Beach get at least one phone call reporting a dog on the beach.
Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but according to Sgt. Thomas Bingham with the Jacksonville Beach Police, people continue to ignore the law.
"It can be a problem either way. We have big dogs that come down that are very aggressive and very vicious towards other dogs and people," explained Sgt. Bingham. "Then we have the owners that don't pick up after their dogs and leave a mess for the other beach goers coming down here."
The city has just one animal control officer, so they sometimes rely on beach visitors to police each other.
Jim Wheeler lives in Jacksonville Beach and makes a point of only bringing his beagle, Daisy, outside the posted hours.
"Sometimes we see people during the day and the dogs look... fairly hot," explained Wheeler. "Daisy is a shy little dog and she gets overheated... She does better in the cooler hours."
Bingham said that is part of the thought behind the rule.
"There are many reasons behind it; the main one is the safety of the people on the beach and the safety of the animals themselves," shared Sgt. Bingham.
According to doctors at Shoreline Veterinary Hospital in Jacksonville Beach, they have already treated two dogs for heat stroke this summer.
Health risks of taking your dog on the beach include:
Drinking seawater, which can upset their stomach
Sunburn, especially around their nose and mouth
Sgt. Bingham said leaving your dog in the parking lot is not any better.
"We've been getting a lot of complaints and issuing a lot of citations and arrests for animal cruelty, for leaving their dogs or animals in a very hot car for a long period of time," explained Sgt. Bingham.
Local Beach Dog Rules:
Jacksonville Beach - no dogs allowed between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Neptune Beach - no dogs allowed between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Atlantic Beach - dogs must be on a leash, unless they are in the water. Dog must have current rabies vaccine tag on collar.
St. Johns County beaches - dogs must be on leash. Owners must pick up after dog.
Nassau County beaches - dogs must be on a leash at all times.
First Coast News