SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A South Strand town is going to let some new visitors on its beaches this summer.
Surfside Beach has been one of the few places along the Grand Strand where you couldn’t walk a dog on the beach at all during the summer, but that’s changing immediately. Town council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to allow dogs on the beach from now until Labor Day in the mornings and evenings.
Similar to this rule in Myrtle Beach, dogs still won’t be allowed on Surfside Beach between 10 a.m and 5 p.m. Before, dogs were only allowed on Surfside Beach between Sept. 15 and May 15.
The ordinance also says dogs must also be on a leash no longer than seven feet. No reptiles, exotic animals or “similar type” of animals are allowed on the beach.
Council members say it’ll have to be like other rules at the beach and owners will have to pick up after their dogs for it to be successful.
“It’s worth a shot, but we really need to revisit because if we have people leaving poop on the beach all summer, we’re obviously not going to repeat it next year,” said council member David Pellegrino.
Because of a limited crowd due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bob Hellyer read emails from three Surfside residents concerned about the mess that could be left by two- and four-legged out-of-town visitors.
“Do you really think that all of them will pick up after their dogs on the beach when they do not pick up after themselves on the sidewalks and yards?” asked one emailer.
“The residents that want to walk their dog on the beach can go to Garden City,” wrote another one.
Council members say the town will have to figure out how to enforce the rule and make sure everyone is picking up what their pets leave behind.
“I’ve personally experienced a visitor of mine digging in the sand and digging it up,” said council member Debbie Scoles. “That’s not pleasant for a child.”
Once the new ordinance expires in September, council will review it to see if dog owners are following the rules enough to make this a permanent change.
Town council also voted to cancel its Fourth of July celebration due to financial concerns from the pandemic and upcoming pier reconstruction project.