Virginia Beach Encourages Dog Rules

'Tis the season in Virginia Beach.

Just not for dogs.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, officials ban dogs on the beach, the Boardwalk and the grass west of the Boardwalk from Rudee Inlet to 42nd Street.

At all other public beaches, there's a canine curfew. Dogs can be on them only before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., according to the city code. They don't need to be on a leash, but they do need to be under control, licensed and up to date on their rabies vaccinations.

The city recently increased its ability to enforce rules involving animals on the beach. While police have always been able to issue summonses to violators, the City Council has extended the same authority to Animal Control officers, said Lt. David Squires, who oversees Animal Control enforcement operations for the Police Department.

"We'll make every effort to be proactive in visiting the beaches where the rules apply," Squires said. Dog owners "should expect to see us over the course of the summer."

Last year, 1,898 dog-related charges were concluded in South Hampton Roads' General District courts. Of those, only seven - all in Virginia Beach - involved dogs on beaches.

Most violations result in a Class 4 misdemeanor conviction, punishable by up to a $250 fine.

The worst offense? Squires said ignoring dog poop, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

It's gross to pick up, but it beats a possible jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.

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By Erin B 07/05/2012 09:42:00
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