Dog on beach

INDIAN RIVER SHORES - Dog lovers are rejoicing that there is finally a beach in Indian River County where dogs can be let off leash.

At the June 27 Indian River Shores Town Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to pass Ordinance 542, allowing unleashed dogs on beaches within the town’s limits, and Resolution 19-07, which outlines the rules.

The specific procedures were put in an implementing resolution, rather than the ordinance, to make changes easier.

Most important, dog walkers, including both those who live in Indian River Shores and those who do not, need to get a special license from the town Public Safety Department. The town says that this requirement and all other rules will be strictly enforced.

The town’s leash law continues to apply at all other times and locations within Indian River Shores.

For at least the initial time period, dogs are allowed on the beach off leash from sunrise until 9 a.m., and then from 5 p.m. until sunset. The Town Council may adjust those hours if problems come to their attention, or some other adjustment is necessary.

According to the implementing resolution, any unleashed dog on the beach must be licensed, supervised, and under the control of a person responsible for the dog’s behavior.

The license requires payment of a $50 fee for one year, immunization records, “and other information deemed necessary to ensure the safety of the public,” which will be maintained on file with the Public Safety Department. The renewal fee is $5 annually, payable in person at the Public Safety Department.

The application requires the applicant to disclose “any dangerous propensity of the dog.” According to the resolution, “the Public Safety Department may revoke or suspend a license issued for behavior of a dog(s) deemed by the Public Safety Department to be a danger to another dog or person(s). The Public Safety Department is specifically empowered to notify the relevant County Animal Control officer in addition to other remedies to address unlicensed, unaccompanied, or dangerous dogs.”

The ordinance provides for penalties for violations.

For the first violation, a warning will be issued by the Public Safety Department. For a second violation, a citation will be issued with a $50 fine.

For a third violation, a citation will be issued with a $150 fine. For fourth and subsequent offenses, the penalty provided for in Section 90.99 shall be applied, which includes a term of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days, and/or a fine not exceeding $500.

An application for a license to allow an unleashed dog on the beach may be obtained from and filed with the Indian River Shores Public Safety Department, 6001 N A1A, Indian River Shores. Hours are Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information, call (772) 231-2451.

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