Creative solutions needed for dogs on City Beach

Once again, the topic of dogs on our City Beach has sparked debate.
May 13, 2014

A recent meeting of local residents, hosted by the city, allowed people to share ideas about how dogs on the beach, and if they should be allowed on the beach or not.

With so many ideas shared, it was good to see the community work together toward a common goal instead of having issues come before City Council, where it tends to be a bit more formal.

One thing that was nice about this community meeting was that it brought many different ideas to the table, all with a goal of how people and man’s best friend could coexist on the beach during the summer.

One idea we’re particularly fond of is a special permit process and a designated “dog beach” area farther from the more populated areas. This area would be exclusively for the use of people who want to play with their dogs off leash.

This type of system works elsewhere, with Chicago being one example city. There, dog owners have been mandated to have permits for all off-leash dogs that use dog-friendly areas. Regulations are enforced by deputies from the Department of Animal and Rabies Control, and anyone who uses an area without a permit faces a $500 fine.

Perhaps something similar could be created here. Maybe local veterinarians could issue permits, or voluntarily staff a kiosk at the City Beach restrooms and concession stand to distribute dog beach permits.

We know this area is full of creative people, as was evident by the community dog beach meeting, so we’re sure a group could brainstorm a local solution modeled after Chicago’s ordinance.

It was good to see City Council take note of the community’s concerns and not ban dogs completely from the beach. Now, let’s see if the community can work together to come up with a compromise to allow dogs to roam free in certain areas.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



If people are too lazy to clean up after themselves and/or their pet there may be no choice but to close the beach to dogs. Ever wonder why we have speed bumps? The same cut of selfish folks who were unsafe and didn’t think or care or others.
I'd hate to see come to that however without some discipline amongst the pet owning public yet another fun thing to do will be gone…the question I have if the city cannot afford enforcement for cleanup after pets now will there suddenly be money for enforcement if the beach is closed to dogs?
Perhaps a beach permit for animals like we pay for our park pass on license plates, you want to bring animals on our beaches you get a permit that goes on the collar, one day or whole summer permits to help defray costs of an adult to babysit other adults ensuring they clean up after themselves and their pets.


Maybe we should close the beach to smokers too. They never seem to keep their butts to themselves. The world is the trash can to idiots dog owners and smokers alike.


The article is about dogs and coming to a common ground, how smokers got into it. Sounds like if you have it your way, there will be a band on food, drinks, gas power vehicles, bikinis or any type of fun at the beach. Sheezz


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I would much rather step on a cigerette butt, than a fresh dog turd, but thats only me....... Look out fat folks, they are coming after you next.....


I have checked with a number of state parks, west, east and south, there is pretty much the same rules as we do here, we have read the rules, that have been in place for quite sometime, so should not be a problem, but somehow it pop,s up in the paper occasionally to get people all worked up, but thanks for the info !!


I'm not sure I agree we didn't need rules for selfish or dumb folks, I recall many times as a kid being cut by broken beer bottles obscured in the sand on inland lakes as well as public LM beaches, there was no shortage of careless people then and now I guess...


Boy.. I hope it does not smell like the beach dog park up north after a couple hot days. It reminds me of the odor coming from the boardwalk restrooms.


This article and many others that are posted on different sites. Are part of the problem.
They are full of misinformation. An example, "One thing that was nice about this community meeting was that it brought many different ideas to the table, all with a goal of how people and man’s best friend could coexist on the beach during the summer".
This not the issue, which people can't seem to get their heads wrapped around. There are NO DOGS allowed on the beach when the swim buoys are put in the water. Which is usually sometime around Memorial Day. From that day on, until they are removed sometime after Labor Day. NO DOGS are allowed on the beach, period. On a leash, off a leash it doesn't matter. No dogs are allowed on the beach. And yet here in this article they are talking about how people and man's best friend "could coexist on the beach during the summer". They CAN'T, hello. Get your facts straight. Dogs are not allowed on the beach. With one current exception. There is a section of beach at the far south end of the City Beaches that allows dogs to be present on the beach on a leash. That's it, take your dog onto any other portion of the beach when the buoys are present this summer and your breaking the ordinance. Which can end up costing you $50.00 if your caught having your dog on the beach. You can't access the Dog Area by walking your dog down the beach to get to the Dog Area. You have to walk with your dog down the sidewalk south of the Bil-Mar to legally get to the Dog Area. This isn't rocket science. People just need to start posting articles that have the facts straight.
This whole issue keeps going around in circles. There isn't a "Creative Solution needed for Dogs on the City Beach". From Memorial Day to Labor Day they aren't allowed on the Beach. That rule, law, ordinance is already in place. And has been for years. One last point. As stated in this article "It was good to see City Council take note of the community’s concerns and not ban dogs completely from the beach". I'll say it one last time. Dogs are ALREADY completely banned from the Beach when the swim buoys are present. Which is basically all summer. The entire section of beach from the State Park all the way south past the Bil-Mar where the last swim buoy is located is off limits to Dogs. Forget dog permits it will never work. There are to many vacationers that will know nothing about it.


Perhaps the City Fathers need to visit the beaches of CA,somehow they make it work.


Seriously? Well tell that to all business owners, State Park employees letting the dogs parade into the beach areas in their cars and trailers and mobile homes on wheels. The tourist trade & people who live "above," Grand Haven beaches bringing their dogs more than any other resident of the county, and they are the ones placing their dogs on the blankets, in the cabanas, and letting them poop and eliminating wherever in the buoyed, coned areas, so talk to Chamber of Commerce and State Park employees to inform the tourists and those who own the homes above The beaches and stay at the hotels on the beach to keep their pets in their homes and at the motel rooms, inside their state park living quarters and off the not designated for dog areas!!!

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