Dog beach petition hits major obstacle in sea turtle advocates

A group of dog owners in Brevard County wants leaders to approve more beach space for their pets. The Sea Turtle Preservation Society is trying to fight that effort.

The Society says baby turtles have a one in 1,000 chance for survival because there are so many things working against them. Natural predators, beach erosion. The suggestion that dogs should be allowed on more Brevard Beaches is being met with a lot of resistance.

"Dogs can smell their tracks, and they'll start digging up the nest," said Dave Cheney, a lead member of the society.

Cheney says he'll talk with county commissioners to ask that they reject the proposal.

"I live in a neighborhood where we're  supposed to have our dogs on leashes, but I see dogs running loose, so not everyone will comply with whatever rules are set up," Cheney said.

But a lot of dog owners say they'll keep their dogs on a leash, won't allow them to mess with nests, and won't walk them on the beach after dark. Responsible pet-owners want to  plead their case to the commission.

More than 3,000 have signed a petition so far. They specifically seek dog recreation on 11 miles of beach in the southern part of Brevard County. The petition specifies dog walking would be before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

There are two areas in Brevard where dogs are allowed currently: Canova Park and part of Cocoa Beach. Cheney says that's enough.

"The more sea-turtles we can save, the better." Cheney says.

The County Commission will take this up at their Tuesday meeting.