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Cocoa Beach commissioners table vote on dog-friendly beach areas

Areas of Lori Wilson Park, southern Cocoa Beach could welcome pups

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Cocoa Beach city commissioners tabled a vote on an ordinance Thursday evening to allow dogs on select beaches.

The City Commission was expected to vote after the first reading of the ordinance at a meeting Thursday night. City spokeswoman Melissa Byron, who is the city's director of marketing and economic development, said she expected it to pass on Thursday, which would mean it will go through a second reading at the commission meeting next month.

"I expect that we will have citizens that are concerned and citizens that are in support," Byron said.

Mayor Ben Malik said the vote was tabled until May 3 because a number of issues with the ordinance were brought to light during Thursday's meeting.

The meeting was open to the public and began at 7 p.m. in the Commission Room at City Hall.

Dogs are currently banned on all Space Coast beaches, except for Canova Beach Park near Indian Harbour Beach, which opened up to dogs in 2012.

John Simolike travels from Orlando to bring his poodle to Canova Beach Park, so he likes the idea of having more dog-friendly beaches.

"I would prefer Cocoa Beach," Simolike said. "It would certainly be closer. Plus, there are a lot of businesses there that I could go to."

The proposed city ordinance would allow pups on two areas for a one-year trial period. The areas include parts of Lori Wilson Park and an area from Fourth Street South to the city limits, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

"Boundaries would include no dogs on the beach from 10 in the morning to 6 at night. They must be leashed and picked up after, or face a $250 ticket.

"This protects citizens who don't want dogs running around them," Byron said. "We feel that it's important for a responsible dog owner to keep their dog under control.

Byron said the city believes that citizens will police themselves.

Beach rangers will officially enforce the rules.

The city is also looking for help from volunteers.

If commissioners vote to approve the ordinance, it must also pass a second reading at City Hall before dogs could be allowed on the beach.

Check back for updates after the meeting at City Hall.


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