Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater may close beach to dogs to protect nesting birds

CLEARWATER — Will the dog lovers or the bird lovers prevail tonight?

Except for a couple of dog parks, North Clearwater Beach is the last place in Pinellas County where people are allowed to take their dogs onto the beach.

Now environmentalists are asking the city to ban dogs on the north beach to protect nesting shorebirds. A divided City Council is slated to make a decision at its meeting this evening.

The issue came up two weeks ago when the city's Environmental Advisory Board recommended the dog ban. City Council members debated it at length, then postponed a decision so they could review the scientific research that the environmental board had assembled.

Two weeks ago, the council heard from Anna Fusari, chairwoman of the environmental board, and Ann Paul, regional coordinator for Audubon of Florida.

Paul said about 30 species of shorebirds nest on North Clearwater Beach, including snowy plovers, black skimmers, least terns and American oystercatchers. She said it's vital that the birds stay in their nests to protect their eggs and chicks, and that they are more disturbed by dogs than by humans or all-terrain vehicles.

Fusari said the environmental board recommends a dog ban on the beach itself, but that wouldn't prevent beach property owners from having dogs on their property. She also noted that the Clearwater Beach Association supports such a ban.

Council members had mixed reactions.

Paul Gibson and George Cretekos had questions about how far the ban would go, and whether it could be enforced.

"The logical extension of this would be to ban cats, dogs, motor vehicles and people, and to include Clearwater Beach and Sand Key," Gibson said.

John Doran and Carlen Petersen support a ban. Doran, who drives his dog to the dog beach at Fort De Soto State Park, said dog owners from other cities have been bringing their canines to North Clearwater Beach.

"There are people who do feel strongly about this in both directions," Doran said. "Because everybody else has closed down their beaches to the dogs, we have an influx of transient dogs."

Mayor Frank Hibbard wanted to see more scientific data.

"It looks right now like a 2-2 vote," he said, "so I'll be deciding."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4160.

Clearwater may close beach to dogs to protect nesting birds 05/06/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Live from St. Pete: Kriseman, Baker square off in TV debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayoral race goes into the home stretch starting Tuesday.

  2. Five ideas for cooking with ground turkey


    I rarely cook with ground beef. Ground turkey became the go-to ground protein in my kitchen years ago. As meats go, it's pretty ideal: not a ton of raw meat juices, easy enough to cook in a pinch, more flavor than ground chicken. I sub turkey in for just about any recipe that calls for ground beef, except on …

    Siraracha Turkey Skewers are accompanied by jasmine rice and carrot-cucumber slaw.
  3. SOCom moves to bring growing Warrior Games for injured troops to Tampa


    TAMPA — The military established special games for ill and injured troops and veterans in 2010, and the annual event drew crowds of up to 5,000 to the bases that hosted them — until this summer.

    Medically retired Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Nicholson of Tampa participates in the 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago on July 2.
  4. What you need to know for Tuesday, July 25


    href=""> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    President Donald Trump on Monday urged senators to vote in favor of an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. [ Washington Post]
  5. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]