Dogs no longer permitted on Seaside Heights beach, boardwalk amid complaints about people not cleaning up
Seaside Heights officials have changed rules about pets on the town's beach and boardwalk, and dogs will no longer be permitted.
The announcement came amid a rising number of complaints to the town about people not cleaning up after their dogs.
Violators could face a fine from $100 to $1,250. Only "bona fide" service animals will be allowed.
Violators could face additional fines if they falsely claim their dog as a service animal. Lying or faking a dog as a service animal could cost an additional $100 to $500 in fines, according to state laws. Legitimate service animals will be allowed as long as there is proof.
Officials say comfort or therapy dogs do not count as service animals.
“It's respect for the person or people who are going to be walking,” says dog owner Rosemarie Matloob.
Matloob owned two dogs, but says the town is doing the right thing because of irresponsible owners.
“I love animals,” says Matloob. “I love people, but if you can't respect yourself enough to say you know what I respect my other person that might be walking their dog. It takes two seconds."
Dogs used to be allowed from October through March, but council members continued to see evidence left behind. Look for a new ordinance to hit the books by next month, leaving just the bayside beach near the Stewart's as the only dog-friendly beach in town.
“Very aggressive to the point where our public work superintendent, who is also the animal control officer, asks somebody to pick up after their dog and the person became very confrontational to the point where the police had to come to the boardwalk and that person received six summonses,” says Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz.
Other people say they shouldn't be punished for the actions of a few.
“I think it's totally ridiculous,” says Bob Ferraro, of Toms River. “Residents have been walking their dogs for years on this boardwalk and I just think due to recent incidents, whatever they were, it's totally ridiculous for the town to restrict local residents from doing that.”
On the flip side, both Sea Isle City and North Wildwood recently passed ordinances expanding off-season dog access to their beaches.