As an animal control officer, my duties include patrolling the beach front of my tiny beach town. My town allows dogs on the beach, whereas the neighboring beach towns prohibits dogs during peak hours. This means that all the dog-loving residents of north Florida flock to the 2 1/2 miles of beach I'm responsible for. Not everybody is happy with this arrangement, as many dog haters enjoy the beach too. My job is to make everybody happy. (I fail.) I'm on the beach 2-3 hours a day. My work hours shift with the seasons, so during the summer I can be on the beach as early as 6 AM or as late as 9 PM. And at least once a month I'm on the beach in plain clothes counting dogs and looking to see how many owners break the rules when they think Animal Control isn't watching. Did I mention that dogs on the beach is a big deal to my tiny town?
And that brings us to poop. Poop left on the beach is disgusting! People walk barefoot on the beach, sun worshipers lay on the beach, and children dig in the sand. No one wants to see, smell or step on a steaming pile of poop. You would think that this is a given . . . but no. I have seen people with a bag in hand look down the beach for my truck and walk away, leaving the pile behind. I have watched people kick sand over a fresh pile (like that makes a difference). And I have found bags of poop left on the beach to bake in the sun, often less than 20 yards from a trash can. Owners who let their dogs run off leash on the beach (a big no-no) never notice their dogs stopping to poop. People who play with their dogs in the surf never bring bags to the waterline. Their dogs poop in the water, leaving floating turds for swimmers and body surfers to dodge. Funny thing, people who get caught not picking up after their dogs always have the same excuse -- "I just ran out of bags" -- despite the fact that the city has bag stations at every entrance. And people wonder why the other beaches banned dogs!
I'm going to assume that these dog owners are ignorant (instead of just inconsiderate) and spell it out in pictures. See if you can guess which of these activities are ok and which are not.
Building silly things out of sand is ok.
(This sandman amused me so I took a picture of it.)
Walking a leashed dog on the beach while enjoying the scenery is ok.
(This amazed me so I took a picture of it too.)
Letting an unleashed dog poop on the beach is not ok. Let's hope that's picked up.
(Picture courtesy of The Limericist, who writes much better poop-themed poems than I do.)
Surfing during a storm is stupid, but it is ok.
Playing with a leashed dog on the beach is ok.
(Look, it's baby Jedi!)
NO! NO! NO!
Leash or no leash, letting a dog poop in the water is not ok.
(Photo courtesy holisticmonkey via flickr.)
Do you think people will get it now? Me neither. I guess that's job security! -- K
P.S. I'm going to try to attach this post to two -- yes two! -- separate hops. Cross your fingers! If I get it right, you will have all kinds of fun stuff to click on below.