Volusia County moves forward with plans allowing dogs on more parts of beach

Group asking for new dog-friendly area in Daytona Beach

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Leaders in Volusia County are moving forward with plans to test allowing dogs on more parts of the beach.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the county council voted unanimously to explore a test area for allowing dogs on the county’s beaches.

According to a release by county officials, a trial proximity has been narrowed to the Bicentennial Park area in Ormond-by-the-Sea to explore options on enforcement, potential user fees to bring dogs onto the beaches and the length of the areas in which dogs may be allowed.

Currently, Lighthouse Point Park and Smyrna Dunes Park are the only pet-friendly beach areas in Volusia County.

People who frequent the parks say they quickly reach capacity on most days and more areas are needed to keep up with demand.

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Steve Allen said he often comes to the park with his dog Sawyer.

“This week’s been crowded (and) weekends are crowded,” Allen said. “You get here early in the morning, it’s fine, but it builds up as the day goes by.”

A group is calling on county leaders to create another dog-friendly area near University Boulevard in Daytona Beach.

Supporters of the plan said it would help promote tourism and a healthy lifestyle.

“You just get yourself a long leash and a little freedom for dogs, right?” Allen said. “Sometimes they’ve got to run. There’s not many places to run around here.”

Critics, however, have raised health and environmental concerns if dogs are allowed on county-owned beaches.

In 2021, council members voted against a plan that would have allowed dogs on all beaches.

A meeting is scheduled for March 21 at 4 p.m. for county staff to present their findings. If the council can establish parameters and vote to pass a program design during that meeting, a vote to officially change the ordinance will happen at a later meeting, the release shows.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.