By Tim Pallesen
Everyone wants it clear that Delray Beach loves dogs — but city officials will continue to outlaw them on the municipal beach.
“We all love our dogs, but we just can’t police it,” city manager Louie Chapman Jr. told city commissioners, who voted to reject the latest push to designate a dog beach where dogs could splash in the surf.
The Beach Property Owners Association applauded their decision at a Nov. 12 workshop. “We all love our dogs but we’re not in support,” BPOA board member Mary Renaud told commissioners.
The unanimous vote against a dog beach comes before local dog lover Mary Yuhas could begin a petition drive to put the issue on the city’s March ballot. Yuhas missed the Nov. 12 discussion because she was recovering from surgery.
“We’re still going to scour the city to get signatures,” Yuhas vowed after the meeting. “I don’t know how long it will take us, but we will do it.”
City police and parks and recreation officials recommended against allowing dogs on the beach because of cost and liability concerns. They fear Delray Beach could be sued if a dog bites a beach-goer.
“The revenue would not equal the cost,” Chapman said. “We recommend that we don’t do it at all.”
Only one resident, Anita Casey, spoke in favor of a dog beach at the Nov. 12 meeting. “I’ve yet to see a dog bite anyone on the beach,” Casey said. “If other cities can do it, why can’t we?”
Four residents spoke to oppose it. Commissioners voted 4-0 against the proposal, with Commissioner Al Jacquet absent.
“It’s just not the time,” said Mayor Cary Glickstein, who explained that the city cannot afford to hire a park ranger to enforce the city leash law on the beach.
Commissioner Angeleta Gray suggested dog owners take their pets to the dog park included in the county park at Lake Ida.