Council’s decision was a unanimous “no” on the proposed ban.
"What we need to do is start enforcing our laws," Councilman Mike Fritz said. "If we can't enforce what we already have, we don't need to make new ones."
Officials prepared two resolutions ahead of Monday night’s meeting: The original proposal for a summertime ban presented Feb. 17, and an alternative that would restrict dogs from the beach between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Dogs are allowed on a leash in the city unless the area has been declared a “dog free zone” by resolution, and the area is properly signed. On the beach, current rules state that dogs are not allowed between the swim buoy area, and dogs must be on a leash in areas south of the buoys.
Mayor Geri McCaleb noted that she has been opposed to the idea.
"I know how much my dog loves running on the beach and swimming," she said. "She encourages me to walk and (I like to) watch her have fun."
McCaleb noted that she didn't want the city to say "no you can't" to dog owners, and instead encouraged people to come up with a creative solution to the issue.
"If we don't solve this, the next step is we're going to have to have to take a drastic step, and I don't want to do this," the mayor said.
Before the proposed ban was rejected, more than an hour and a half was spent at Monday night’s council meeting to discuss the proposal with the community.
"Any further regulation would be regressive," resident Todd Anthes said. "Other communities embrace dogs and, from my own experience in traveling, we pick places that embrace dogs."
Anthes said what the city faces is a problem of people who live on the beach or near the beach having a problem with dogs, and a conflict over use of the beach because of that.
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