Miami Beach

Miami Beach may start weekly off-leash dog beach

Miami Beach may soon open a one-block section of beach to dogs three afternoons per week.

Mayor Philip Levine and his boxer, Earl, hosted “Dog Day on the Beach” on May 10, and the event could become a regular happening between 80th and 81st streets, pending City Commission approval.

Levine called the May 10 gathering “a temporary event used to gauge public interest” in a dog beach. He said residents have called for dog-friendly beach space for some time after having to deal with the city’s strict regulations.

“A lot of times, people bring their dog to the beach and get cited,” Levine said.

But before a dog beach can become permanent, commissioners will have to change the rules. A city ordinance now prohibits dogs –– or any pets –– on public beaches.

If the new ordinance passes, use of the dog beach would be by permit only. Dogs would have to have a current rabies tags to enter, and be under their owners’ control at all times. Dogs and their owners would be allowed to enjoy the on-leash beach access area and the off-leash swim zone.

Dogs would have access to the beach between 80th and 81st streets on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 7 p.m., and their owners would be able to apply for a dog beach permit at the website Daily permits would be available for purchase on-site. The proposed fees are $5 for Miami Beach residents and $10 for nonresidents. Plans also call for seasonal permits.

The first reading of the proposed ordinance is scheduled for the City Commission meeting at 8:30 a.m. May 21 at City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr.

South Beach resident Pete Lombardi said he would love a little more freedom for his four-legged companions. Lombardi was sitting with his pit bull, Sobe, and his bull terrier and chow mix, Luna, on the grass at Ocean Drive and 11th Street, in front of the beach entrance, because of the restrictions.

“Personally, she likes to go the beach,” said Lombardi, 45, pointing to Luna. “Sometimes it’s stressful to live here in South Beach because there are so many rules.”

The city also has six designated off-leash dog parks.