Dogs on Cocoa Beach

Residents of Cocoa Beach are total dog lovers ❤️  Of course, we want our best friends to come to the beach with us.

On Thursday March 16, a city commission discussion on the topic will take place at 7pm.

There’s only one place where our pups receive a warm welcome – Lori Wilson Park has a designated dog park. It is a 32,000 square foot, fenced area where your dog can play without a leash. But, as their website states “It gets very crowded on the weekends in the late afternoon.”

The only dog beach in Brevard County is Canova Park at the end of Eau Gallie. Blvd The dog beach is via the South access and between the signs. Dogs need to be on a leash at all times.

There is currently an online petition circulating to allow dogs on all Brevard County beaches before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. The petition now has over 6,800 signatures of the 7,500 necessary for submission, however, a grass roots movement has taken place and it has the city’s attention.

The creator of the petition brings up a good point that having dog-friendly beaches may boost tourism:

“As an added bonus, it would be good for tourism to be able to offer a dog friendly beach in the area. There are many dog friendly beachfront hotels, motels and rental units and yet the tourists may not take their dogs to any beach at any time, anywhere in Brevard with the exception of the Sandy Paws Dog Park at Canova Park in Melbourne.”

We all know our beautiful beach relies on tourism to thrive. An increase would be great for local businesses.

A user on city-data.com made a valid point, although we aren’t sure how routed in science the claim is:

Once a dog goes to bathroom on the sand the sand is contaminated even if you bag it immediately; so it becomes a problem when people/kids dig and make sand castles in the sand and end up getting the contamination from their hands to their mouths . Not all dog owners are responsible so it makes it tough on the ones who are. Just covering it with sand like some do is not good enough. Eventually it is probably cleaned up by the waves filtering it but if a child gets that sand prior to its filtering out they can get sick.

The Cocoa Beach City Commission will discuss dog-friendly beaches Thursday night at City Hall, 2 S. Orlando Ave. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Are you going? We want to know what you think, let us know in the comments below!

54 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Edward Jerdonek March 16, 2017

    Keep dogs (and all non-service animals) off Cocoa Beach! I’m a regular and frequent beach-walker and it is not unusual to see dogs pooping on the beach with their owners walking away like it’s invisible! The Brevard Sheriff can do a much better job enforcing the “no animals on the beach” ordinance. People regularly bring their dogs to the beach without fear of breaking the law. Allowing dogs on the beach will drive away tourists and other beach goers.

  2. Cathy March 16, 2017

    I do not think dogs should be allowed on our beaches. Besides the unsanitariness, loose dogs are a public danger. There are a lot of people that have pretty dangerous dogs and not everyone leashes them. I want to know that my grandchildren can play on clean, dog-free sand.

  3. K. Denton March 16, 2017

    I will miss the meeting as I will be out of town at a funeral. I live on Cocoa Beach and am tired f picking up after irresponsible dog owners , tourists and residents who have dogs on the beach regardless of rule.

    It’s a health and environmental issue. I say no t dogs on the beach.

  4. Carol March 16, 2017

    Mothers are changing diapers on the beach all the time. E Coli is in the sand everywhere a baby with a diaper is. We don’t flip out over this.
    There will of course be dog owners who don’t watch their dogs closely but believe me, we conscientious dog owners will gladly report those instances so we don’t lose our privileges

  5. J.M. Klouda March 16, 2017

    Absolutely not! Dogs should not be allowed on beaches. As owners & visitors for 50 yrs, we have seen the destruction from feral cat colonies & human visitors for a long time. People claim to be responsible owners, but those are very few & far between. If people can’t pick up after themselves, you think they will pick up after a dog? Not everyone is a dog fan. If allowed to run free, there could be fear among children & the elderly. There is already a dog park at Lori Wilson. Also, the heat & hot sand in summer could be hazardous for sensitive dog feet. And if food is brought for dogs, that opens up a whole other scavenger issue. Our family says NO!

  6. Cris Pecko March 16, 2017

    All for it. Dogs on the beach before 10 am and after 6 pm would be great. Dogs don’t need to be on the beach at peak hours. Leash law and registration sounds good too. And proper cleaning up after your dogs. Not too worried about contamination considering sand is full of seagull poo, Ocean is full of marine waste as well as human waste, Turtles in the sand, crabs in the sand…

  7. Diana March 17, 2017

    I love dogs and I always pick up after my dog. To not having dog beaches is backward, considering California have a lot of beautiful dog beaches and they are cleaner than regular beaches. Look at Ft. Myers area, they have nice dog beaches and have more tourists there. More tourists mean more money coming. Just put tougher law and put some deputies or park ranger like they did on Ft Myers and Captiva island. Charge $10 to park. No dog owner will mess up with park rangers around. Win win situation ?

  8. Susan March 17, 2017

    I am against dogs on the beach! The city provides one beach and a large park for dog owners. Additionally I am highly allergic to dogs! That combined with sanitary issues and odors would make the far less enjoyable for others!

    • Johanna Kelly March 17, 2017

      I agree , there should only be a beach specifically designated as a dog beach and not on regular beach area that people have to use in the day, besides the buried poop there is the urine issue which stinks and I don’t want my grandkids not be be able to use the beach because some dog lover was allowed, it is just not fair nor right.

  9. Joe W March 17, 2017

    Dogs should absolutely be on the beach, but…

    …the proposed hours are too broad. before 8am and after 6pm only. Discretion is key, dog owners. Finding the right balance is key…between (i) the libertarian need to maintain a true beach culture, (ii) respect for those who look at dogs on the beach with distaste or want to turn Cocoa Beach into a deeded, restrictive community tailored to their preferences (exaggeration intended), and (iii) the very practical needs of our tourism industry.

    This also only works with accountability. People have smartphones everywhere and need an online hotline to turn in visual evidence of offenders. The time of day will be sufficiently implied by the pictures taken. For aggressive dogs, punitive consequences should be in force—-owners have no business bringing aggressive dogs into public places, period, and must accept consequences of any misjudgment that they make.

  10. Valerie eriksen March 17, 2017

    Please no dogs on the beach. I have several family members who are afraid of dogs. I know that we hope all people with dogs keep them on the lead but often this does not happen.

  11. Melissa March 17, 2017

    Yes to dogs!!!!!

  12. Marc Hammond March 17, 2017

    All manner of critters poop on the sand. It’s no big deal. If folks want clean sand, they should buy sterilized sand at home depot. I have surfed Cocoa Beach since 1964, played w/ my daughter on the beach since 1970 and never experienced or heard of anyone getting sick from “dirty” sand. I can’t imagine a Labrador Retriever who doesn’t love jumping into the ocean. Can’t we all just play nice. I’m 67 years old and I hope I never become an old complaining grump. I’ve stepped in poop lots of times, beach, sidewalk, yard, and lived to talk and laugh about it. Live and let live.

    • Erin March 17, 2017

      Love this comment. The ocean is full of pee and crap and garbage ..but we still swim and love it. There is room enough somewhere on our beach. Dogs are usually cleaner and better behaved than people.

  13. BK March 17, 2017

    Dogs should NOT be permitted on the Beach. Dog owners for the most part are irresponsible, I see it all of the time with their ignorance of what their Dog is doing and the lack of their responsibility to clean up after them. Even if the poop is bagged there is still a major health issue with Dogs urinating in the sand which can’t be cleaned up. My Grandchildren play in this sand and they are not wearing diapers. I am a conscientious 2 Dog owner and I don’t allow my dogs on the beach. We responsible Dog Owners need to control what we can to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment!

  14. John March 17, 2017

    NO!
    I run on the beach and have been attacked by dogs many times and injured several times.
    My grandson was attacked and when I tried to defend him the owner attacked me.
    I came here in 1958.

  15. Krystyna Ferguson March 17, 2017

    We love our dog and are responsible owners…However, as a regular beach walker and seeing the trash that is left on the beach five feet from the trash cans…..Would these same beach goers pick up after their dog?…..
    I would love to take our pet for long walks on the beach but must forgo in the public interest.

  16. Karen Rice March 17, 2017

    I grew up here in the sixties when dogs and cars were allowed on the beach. I really miss being able to bring my dog to the beach. I own a lab and am a responsible pet owner. Designate a one-half mile stretch of Cocoa Beach as a dog beach. It doesn’t have to be the entire length of Cocoa Beach. We need to be rational about this and not be fear based. Most dog owners are responsible people. Most parents are responsible about their kids and yet there are young kids on the beach who are completely out of control. Having a dog allergy is not going to impact you if you’re outside on the beach. It’s no different than passing someone on the street who’s walking their dog. We need to be adult about this and get over this craziness about no dogs on our beaches.

  17. G March 17, 2017

    PLEASE, NO dogs on public beaches. There is a beautiful beach for dogs. I & familie love, love dogs and have one. Our dog is well behaved…. But dogs should not be allowed on open beaches. Sadly not all dogs are well behaved. Some are in constant attack mode. There is fear the dog jumps on anyone, fights, bites or even kills and this is “only an accident”. Well, we can do without it. We all experienced this bad behavior. We are unable to do something about it, till it’s too late and something real bad happens. We all fear the wrath of the dog owners more than the dog. It’s sad, but true!!! All doglovers with dogs should have their “own” beach and also enjoy being there without fear on our beautiful sunny beaches. ?

  18. Brian Costleigh March 17, 2017

    I absolutely agree with letting dogs on the beach. I think it is incredibly naïve to think MOST dog owners are irresponsible. I truly believe it is just the opposite. The gentleman and his grand kid who was attacked by dogs on the beach on multiple occasions I believe is a bit of an exaggeration. I split my time between Cocoa Beach and Dewey Beach, Delaware. Dewey Beach and the private beaches are dog friendly and there are a minimal amount of issues and the beach is cleaner than the neighboring town beaches. if there is any concern that dogs on the beach detracts from tourism, that is far from accurate. Dewey Beach is Mobbed in the summer time and the tourism economy thrives. However, I don’t believe all beaches should be dog friendly as there needs to be places for the “Anti-Dog” crowd to enjoy themselves. There should of course be restrictions such as no dogs when life guards are on duty or limit dogs to the less crowded unguarded beaches. Picking up after your dog and keeping your dog under control needs to be strictly enforced as dog owners need to respect others as well. ie. if you bring your dog to the beach, bring a plastic baggie with you. if you just cant bring a plastic baggie, then don’t bring your dog. if your dog likes to run off and doesn’t come when called, make sure they are leashed. If there will be limited areas of the beach for dogs to be allowed on the beach, by all means, please allow the dogs beach to be in front of our house at S. 10th. come one dog, come all dogs. I will even install a baggie dispenser at the beach entrance as a courtesy to all .

  19. Greg March 17, 2017

    NO! NO to dogs on the beach. I’ve been in the middle of a dog fight on the beach when the dogs owner requested my help. Not fun. If voted in I hope a limited public area and require a 10 ft max leash. No loose dogs on our beaches.

  20. Teresa H March 17, 2017

    Interesting that your first 2 photos depict dogs that aren’t on leashes! Most owners want their furry friends to run & play. I don’t want to walk barefoot or lay a towel down & sit in the sand where dogs urinate & defecate whenever the need arises. In fact, I think it is a health issue. Also, I would have to carry an Epi pen because my granddaughter is so highly allergic. Infringement of my rights re: safety, health & the quality of MY life. Don’t people matter more than dogs??

  21. BUSTER March 17, 2017

    I am in favor of having dogs on the beach. The City of Cocoa Beach should require a special permit for residents who have dogs and charge a fee just like the resident parking permit. The permit would have to be with the dog/pwner at all times when on the beach. any non residents should have to get a permit for the days they would use the beach.. those permits could be sold at the hotels who are pet friendly already..

  22. Angelika Anderson March 17, 2017

    I’d love a dog beach, but away from the beach crowd. 10th street south sounds like a good spot. Allow 1 block for dogs to be leash free. And charge non-residents a usage fee.

    • Marc March 17, 2017

      I believe that do owners are at least as responsible as parents of little children. There are kids making in the water all the time. Certainly the ocean water is not that clean. Boaters are often dumping garbage in the water. The dogs won’t make a bit of difference.

  23. Barbara Moate March 17, 2017

    I say no, at least north of Coconuts. I know that many are responsible owners, but the tourists can’t even pick up their trash and carry it 25 feet to a can, so I can’t believe they will pick up after their dogs. Then there is the dog fight/bite issues, people will get hurt/mad, lawsuits, etc.,

  24. Connie White March 17, 2017

    I say NO!!!!! I live in a beautiful condo development next to the port and I have a dog. People will not clean up after their pets on our condo grounds, do you honestly think they would clean up after them on the beach?????? NO, they will not!!!!!

  25. Marilyn March 17, 2017

    Oh my goodness! What’s next???? Horse back riding, pet pot belly pigs, and chickens on the beach . . . please keep the beach for people.

  26. Milt March 17, 2017

    Absolutely not. Dog poop, dogs unleashed, owners who do not abide by the hours. The police have better things to do then patrol the beach for dogs and owners not abiding by the rules.

  27. Dawn Corrigan March 17, 2017

    I would love to see a larger area where we could walk our dog on the beach. We come to the area every winter with our dog. This past winter we used Canova Beach. The problem there is, it’s too small an area. We find ourselves walking back and forth. Not much exercise for us or our dog. Also, it’s quite crowded at times. We love Myrtle Beach because we can walk our dog there with fewer restrictions. (We ARE responsible dog owners.)

    I do understand the health issues. Would love to see a compromise.

  28. Curt A. March 17, 2017

    The primary argument is wrong. Allowing dogs on the beach will not increase tourism, or at least the increase will be extremely small and not sufficient to offset the costs (poop left on the beach, enforcement, beach cleanup, decreased enjoyment by many users, and possibly degradation of dune plants. ) Those wanting to bring dogs to the beach are mostly people with large dogs (I have never seen small dogs on the beach anywhere.) Large dogs need lots of room for exercise and they are very accustomed to spending most of their time outside. My observations are that people with large dogs are more comfortable at home (with their large yard) and large dog(s) than they are with traveling. If they do travel they don’t go far and they rarely take the dogs with them. Thus, the primary benefit for allowing dogs on the beach will be for residents, not visitors to Cocoa Beach. Given that the goal is exercise for the dogs, having a leash rule will greatly reduce the interest in this. I vote no.

  29. Lisa March 17, 2017

    Dogs on the beaches at certain times is a great idea. People have to be responsible for the animal. Maybe keeping the open area within a couple of blocks might work. I think most people that would like it are the locals.!

  30. Tom March 17, 2017

    No…. beach is for people. Not dogs. Keep dogs off the beach .. walk in designated parks .

  31. c.b. March 17, 2017

    i lived here 38 years. most people who live here are pretty responsible but i see a lot of dogs on the beach already. no police to enforce what is there. dogs in the heat without water from people who bring them that don’t live here, but yet the city wants to charge the residents? get real. It will be an issue. i have dogs and always will but i will guarantee that some will not have a leash on their dogs and that is irresponsible dog ownership. so i say no. i agree with some of the comments. we already have a problem with folks that can’t take garbage 20 ft. to a trash can so you know that it will only get worse.

    • John March 17, 2017

      Totally agree.
      It is the irresponsible ones that will (and continue) to make it an issue.

  32. Patricia Marshall March 17, 2017

    I live in South Cocoa Beach and would love to see dogs allowed on the beach. Instead of calling our beaches a dog beach why not take a look at what Central Park in New York City does. they allow dogs (even off leash) BEFORE 9am and AFTER sunset. If a city as large as New York can do this and it works VERY well, this might be a nice compromise. Most dog owners just want to walk their dogs in the morning and during summer its to hot for them to stay long. I have spent time with my Grand Dog in NY and this works. the dogs are going home or on leash at 9am. Let us think outside the box, they don’t need to have the beach all day except for the Dog Parks. Maybe everyone could calm down with a limited time on the beach.
    I have walked and picked up trash on our beautiful beaches since 2000, and I have never encountered dog waste. Most dog owners are careful about dog waste, and I have never seen an owner of a dog allow them to dig a turtle nest up.
    we need to be a progressive “Little beach town” for family and friends of family.
    this time limit would also take care of the fear of everyone west of Banana River coming here to walk their dog and take up parking all day. . After 9AM dogs off the beach, and can walk again after sunset and if we need to change that during Turtle Nesting Season makes perfect sense to me since even us humans have to change our rules to protect our beautiful beaches we are so lucky to enjoy.

  33. Miriam Roberts March 17, 2017

    We own an ocean front condo at Cocoa Beach. My handicapped son is deathly afraid of dogs. He has been attacked by 2 dogs at different friend’s houses. They claimed their dog would not hurt a flea. They did not understand what happened. Odds are animals with animal instincts. They sense vulnerability.
    Owners think it is cute to allow their dog to approach strangers and violate their space even leashed.
    DOGS DO NOT BELONG ON BEACHES. I personally do not enjoy walking or relaxing on sand which has defecated or voided on by a dog.
    BEACHES ARE FOR PEOPLE NOT DOGS!

  34. Miriam Roberts March 17, 2017

    Typing error meant dogs not odds

  35. Linda Rivera March 17, 2017

    If dog owner were all responsible we wouldn’t be so against dogs on the beach. It is very unsanitary, the dogs run loose and some people are frightened by dogs who jump up on them. I walk on the beach and at least 2X a week there is a dog running loose where they are not supposed to be. Dog owners are not following the rules now why would we let their dogs on all beaches. I don’t think too many tourist travel with dogs & most beaches don’t allow dogs. Let’s keep it that way here. I feel the dog beach isn’t working as planned.

  36. Joan Stuart March 17, 2017

    There is plenty of beach space for both dogs and people who do not want dogs on the beach.
    Tourism is a real consideration. Our neighboring states allow dogs on the beach and have not suffered at all. In fact they highlight this in their tourist brochures. More and more people have dogs as companions. They are allowed in outdoor restaurants and I even see them in the grocery store! I would much rather see dogs on the beach than in the grocery store. Anyone who knows real joy has seen it on the face of a dog at the beach.

  37. Anthony Earl Wagner March 18, 2017

    Leave them home

  38. Tim Prichard March 18, 2017

    Absolutely not. I am sad that responsible pet owners are limited due to those that are not’s actions. That said I am hopeful that our city commissioners leave their personal preferences aside and not change an ordinance which was established FOR the community of which a significant number of residents rightfully believe is good as is.

  39. Charlir Donovan March 18, 2017

    Yes! And I di=on’t even own a dog., but I live on the beach front and love to see dogs walking their owners on the beach1 Let them on the beach!.

  40. auer stephen March 18, 2017

    Keep the existing policy as we have fabulous and mostly clean beaches! The sad fact is owners can not be depended to leash and clean up their dog mishaps as is demonstrated by the behavior of some of the ones who now violate the county ordinance.

    (A dog owner)

  41. Milton Marrone March 18, 2017

    Please keep dogs off the beach. They have no business leaving their business on the sand. It isn’t healthy for any of us to walk in their mess. I have had dogs scare me, surrounding me, barking and baring their teeth. The owners either ignore what is happening, say that their dog doesn’t bite (does he know that?) or are ineffective at getting their dogs back to them. And, of course,. the dogs are NOT on leashes. Why are the commissioners even considering such a move? The majority of residents disapprove strongly.

  42. John March 18, 2017

    This is a reply to Brian Costleigh.
    I came to Cocoa Beach 59 years ago.
    I have run on the beach for about 40 years.
    Despite what he BELIEVES it is not a exaggeration!
    It is a FACT I have been attacked by dogs on the beach many times.
    It is a FACT on several occasions I received injuries.
    It is a FACT while I defended my grandson the guy with the dog hit me, I filed a police report.

  43. Kim March 18, 2017

    “No” to dogs on the beach. I’ve seen dogs on the beaches here, which are often unleashed. Frankly, I do not enjoy being “greeted” by dogs that I do not know. In addition, there are many irresponsible dog owners, who do not pick up dog waste. Not everyone loves dogs. There are plenty of residential streets on which to dog walk. As the owner of beach rentals, allowing dogs will not increase tourism with any significance.

  44. Miriam Roberts March 19, 2017

    NO ANIMALS ON COCOA BEACH.
    Privileged access to beach has already been allowed for certain locations.
    BE THANKFUL.
    Work with the parameters given.
    Property owners pay taxes. Tourists do not.

  45. Josey March 19, 2017

    How often are the garbage cans going to be emptied where the poo is suppose to be deposited. Those cans should emit a nasty odor on the hot sunny beach days.

  46. JERRY H March 19, 2017

    I would like to respond to Commissioner Millers comment that he sees no difference between walking a dog on the street & walking a dog on the beach. If I’m on the street I can cross to the other side. Also, unlike the street I walk barefoot on the beach, & lay my towel in the sand & don’t want to be anywhere near where animals have urinated & defecated. It would be very unfortunate if a dog urinates on the person laying on the towel or sitting on the beach chair. On a street they use car tires or other innate objects.
    I didn’t think I would ever have to carry an epi pen to the beach but this would be the case if this ordinance is passed due to severe allergies.
    I consulted a personal liability lawyer who informed me that the city also bears responsibility regardless of what Mr. Fowler said should someone get bitten since it has become public knowledge that the city doesn’t enforce its own Ordinance. This is going to be more trouble & expense than it’s worth.

  47. KT March 20, 2017

    The majority of the “no” comments above seem to be about pet owners who are not obeying the laws as they are now. Perhaps if pets were permitted, with specific guidelines, it would be create a more civil environment for residents, pets and the tourists. I say YES!

  48. Karen March 21, 2017

    Please, No Dogs on the Beach!!

  49. Don Penny March 22, 2017

    Absolutely NO, to dogs on the beach!

  50. Pat March 24, 2017

    As a former liability insurance adjuster, it would be crazy for the city to adopt this ordinance. No to dogs on the beach!

Leave your comment